Four Graphic Novels

I’ll try to briefly wrap up last year’s reading.

Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography
by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon. How could a version of Anne’s story not move me? I was dry eyed at the end of this “graphic biography” with stiff, photo-based art and few new additions to the story, while condensing the rest to a bare personal and historical summary. This might be a good way to introduce a young reader to Anne’s story if they were daunted by her diary, but it is a poor substitute for that great book. I feel like a complete crank for not liking this book, but please seek out Anne’s diary or Francine Prose’s book on it instead.

Richard Stark’s Parker Book Two: The Outfit
by Darwyn Cooke. The shades of black and blue suit the noir tale perfectly. Cooke’s second adapation of Stark’s Parker books is a well-told and illustrated tale. Parker is a definite anti-hero, and though his and the other characters’ attitudes to women are abominably of their time and genre, it’s hard not to root for him. Also, this book is printed on heavy paper, with thick end pages of a mod design. It’s a lovely object.

Ex Machina volumes 9 and 10: Ring out the Old and Term Limits, by Bryan K. Vaughan and Tony Harris. I’ve felt ambivalent about this series for a while, and hoped that the creators could bring it to a satisfying close. They brought it to a close, but one that left me in a bad mood. The series is about Mitchell Hundred, a reluctant superhero who saved many on 9/11, and was subsequently elected mayor. The last two volumes of the series find him deciding not to run again, and attempting to finish out his term while also battling the friends and enemies working against him since the start of the series.

Some questions I had were unanswered, they made a long-suffering character suffer too much, in my opinion, and the meaning of the ending seemed too simple, and not even fitting for the series. Bah. These bridged the end of the year and the new beginning, and I hope 2011 will bring more auspicious reading. If you want a good series that ends with integrity, I highly recommend Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.

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