Tag Archives: Humanoids

Review: Armies, by Dionnet, Picaret, and Gal

Title: Armies
Words: Jean-Pierre Dionnet, Picaret
Art: Jean-Claude Gal
Publisher: Humanoids

Review by John Anderson

This is classic heavy metal. These stories about medieval armies, bloody battles, sprawling empires and ancient ruins originally appeared in Métal Hurlant, starting with the first issue in 1974. Most of them are written by Dionnet, one of the founders of that magazine, and beautifully illustrated by the visionary artist Gal.

There are two parts to this book. The first, Conquering Armies, is a series of short stories ostensibly about a mighty unstoppable army. But the stories focus on the common soldiers furing the times in the army is stalled between battles. My favourite story is just four pages long and concerns a soldier who has been ordered to guard the army’s back. But this is just a tactic to winnow the ranks: the army can’t support all its soldiers, so some expendable soldiers are ordered to become sentries and then left to die. I also love the last story, about a soldier who sells his compatriot into slavery and which has an entertaining surprise ending.

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Review: MUSE, by Filippi & Dodson

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Muse
Words: Denis-Pierre Filippi
Art: Terry Dodson
Publisher: Humanoids
In Store Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Review by John Anderson

Muse chronicles the sexy reveries of Coraline, who is the new nanny for an insufferable rich kid who is obsessed with inventing elaborate steampunk contraptions. Coraline’s exact job is never defined, but it might have something to do with lying around in revealing attire for the benefit of the peeping tom groundskeeper. To make things more interesting, every night Coraline has titillating dreams where she finds herself on a pirate ship, a desert island, or in a fairy tale – and she wakes up missing her underwear.

I’m reminded of Little Ego, Vittorio Gardino’s erotic parody of Little Nemo. Like the character in Little Ego, Coraline has erotic dreams in exotic locales, although Coraline doesn’t attempt any psychoanalysis. Also like Little Ego, the plot of Muse is very light, and at times this book seems like nothing more than an excuse for illustrations of exotic set pieces featuring well-endowed ladies in a selection of ripped dresses. And there’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s what you’re looking for – especially when the illustrations are done by U.S. comics superstar Terry Dodson. His jaw-droppingly beautiful artwork is what makes this book worth reading.

In fact, Filippo’s story and Dodson’s art were made for each other. The story is light and leisurely, giving the art time to fill in the spaces with lots of detail. The detail is more than just titillation, although there is some nudity and plenty of scanty clothing. I love how a lot of the texture is defined by colour rather than lines, and I love the use of shadows. Every panel contains a beautiful interplay of light and shadow, which combined with the slow-moving story gives the book a lazy, summery feeling. It’s slick and stylish without looking computer coloured. Dodson’s superhero work is great, but none of it looks as beautiful as Muse. And this edition shows off the art in the same size as the original French edition (9.5 x 12.5 inches).

Don’t expect an intricate plot or detailed characterization with Muse, but do expect a lazy, dreamy adventure, and some of the most gorgeous art you’ll ever see in comics.

 

Review: District 14

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Title: District 14
Words: Pierre Gabus
Art: Romuald Reutimann
Publisher: Humanoids

Review by John Anderson

District 14 is a tale of gangsters, newshounds, and costumed vigilantes in a dreamlike early twentieth century New York inhabited by humans, animals, and extraterrestrials.

The protagonist is an elephant whom we meet as he is going through immigration. He is given the name “Michael” because the official can’t pronounce his real name. After meeting Hector, a beaver who works as a journalist for a big newspaper, they start working together to uncover some of the city’s biggest stories, including the attempted kidnapping of a politician and the history of the popular caped crime fighter Tigerman. But it soon becomes clear that Michael is hiding more than one secret. In fact, every character is hiding something.

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