Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed?
By: Liz Prince
Publisher: Top Shelf
Reviewed by Chris Eng
There are a ton of books that cover new love. It’s fresh, beautiful, passionate, and the emotions carome off each other in an endless cascade. Similarly, there are many books that cover the end of love. It’s stark, ugly, passionate, and the emotions carome off each other in an endless cascade. What’s usually glossed over are the moments in-between. Not the mundanities and daily foibles of living together with your partner—there’s plenty of autobio comics out there if you’re interested in seeing other people’s lives—but the moments of affection, those sickeningly sweet moments that populate a relationship which no one ever talks about because how and why would you describe them to anyone else?
The Secret Science Alliance and The Copycat Crook
“Thesis. Antithesis. Synthesis.”
By Eleanor Davis
Published by Bloomsbury USA
Reviewed by Jason Azzopardi
Try telling someone the best thing you read all year was a children’s comic book called The Secret Science Alliance and The Copycat Crook and watch how quickly you become telepathic. In the twenty or so times I’ve mentioned this to people since 2009, I swear, I can actually hear, “who’s this ding-a-ling” pulsating out of their brain. Four years later, I’m still that same dame-a-ling, but I’m also still that impressed with Eleanor Davis’ astonishing kid’s adventure comic that, apparently, everyone except the good people of the Illinois State Media Library (who gave it their Bluestem Award) dismissed simply because it was a kid’s comic.
Doesn’t matter. I still maintain that it was not only the best comic of 2009, it was one of the best of the entire decade. A small but dense story involving three middle-school braniacs, Julian, Greta and Ben, who form a club dedicated to using science to better the world (combating evil turns out to be a by-product of their genius), Secret Science Alliance falls more into the lower-key type of adventure stories that I remember so fondly from when I was a middle-schooler. This is, pure and simple, a neighbourhood mystery that takes place in a world that you pretty much recognize as your own, populated by people that you, for sure, have met before. Nobody is just good or bad, they’re both, and even the vilest of them is just a little sad, a little envious and a lot lonely. More Encyclopedia Brown or This Can’t Be Happening At Macdonald Hall! than Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, more Degrassi Junior High than Degrassi: The Next Generation. Admittedly, Secret Science Alliance skews slightly younger, but in terms of tone, it doesn’t really have a mean bone in its body precisely because Eleanor Davis knows that not everything has to be “edgy” or “high-concept”, and that sometimes it’s okay to tell a gentle story for kids.
Words: Denis-Pierre Filippi
Art: Terry Dodson
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.
Title: District 14
Words: Pierre Gabus
Art: Romuald Reutimann
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.