This addition to Quick Thought Reviews: Graphic Novels took me a little longer to finish but it ended with a bang in my finally finding Joe the Barbarian!!
Robbie Burns, Witch Hunter by Gordon Rennie
Let’s speak ‘hypothetically’ for a bit: Robbie Burns, the famous poet of Scotland, in writing Tam O’Shanter, was inspired by real-life events. If we follow this logic, that means that Robbie Burns was not only a world-famous poet and well-loved historical figure, but also a witch hunter! BAM!!
This type of story is common now, but this is the first time I’ve read it in a graphic novel. I quite enjoyed it. I truly love anything that has to do with Scotland and Robbie Burns is a favourite poet of mine. This was quite well done. The art was beautiful and it was pretty awesome that the speech was written with the Scottish accent. I love when this is done, because it makes the medium more realistic. I can get more engrossed in the story line if speech and language is also dealt with.
My only complaint is regarding the art. It was quite dark in colour. Sometimes it was a little difficult to see the detail in the art or understand what I was seeing.
Gotham City Sirens Book 1 by Paul Dini
Art was beautiful. Story line was more like little snippets of tales instead of one ongoing narrative. It was quite enjoyable to read about the ladies trying to turn to the good life and become productive members of society.
I also seemed to have missed a key story line point with Catwoman and Hush. Went back to look at Hush to see if I forgot something but it seems to be in a different graphic novel, The Heart of Hush, which I just happened to pick up. It wasn’t a very complicated story line, so it was easy to simply get into the flow of things even though I hadn’t read it.
My only complaint is about Harley Quinn: she was too ditzy in this version. I get that she has her moments, but Harley Quinn is more crazy and vicious than this one made her out to be. She was more a little, lost girl trying to fit in with her big sisters (Catwoman and Poison Ivy).
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Canadian author, Emily Carroll brings us a collection of her short stories in one graphic novel. Themed around things that go bump in the night and come from deep in the forest, this one is a perfect read for the month of Halloween!
The layout, colouring and art are beautiful! I especially loved the overall black and white paneling, with a splash of colour (reds, greens and blues). The drawings are pretty simple, yet effective.
With regards to the scare-factor, I have to say that I was a little disappointed. Maybe it’s because of the lengths of these short stories, but they weren’t quite long enough for my fear or tension to build up and fully develop. I would get a little tense and then it would be the end of the story. Only a few really got me, and I think that was more in part to the graphics than the dialogue. Still, they were all very good tales. I just wished that a few were a little longer. To me, they would have had more effect.
Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison
I have to draw particular attention to this graphic novel. After it being recommended to me, it took me months to actually find a copy. It was well worth the wait.
Joe the Barbarian focuses on Joe Manson, a teenage boy that suffers from Type 1 Diabetes. After missing a snack, Joe’s blood sugar drops to dangerous levels and he begins to hallucinate as he tries to find sugar. The majority of the graphic novel is told through his hallucinations and what he ‘thinks’ he’s seeing, but every once in a while, the reader gets a peek at what is actually happening (i.e. Joe falling down the stairs, running the tub and flooding the upper level of his home).
I thoroughly enjoyed this graphic novel for many reasons: 1) I’m also Type 1 Diabetic, and have also had some crazy hallucinations; 2) it isn’t very often the media gets Diabetes correct, and part of me wanting to read this was in part to determine if Type 1 Diabetes was going to finally be represented correctly: it was! 3) The story is quite the adventure and the art is absolutely beautiful. The diabetes simply adds another layer of intelligence to an already great story. It is not often that the POV is from what the Diabetic is seeing, and even I have to admit that it is sometimes a crazy ride!
What is great about Joe the Barbarian are the little tidbits in the story that remind you that something terrible is happening behind the scenes. Even characters within Joe’s hallucinations would react to him not making sense; instead of detailing the task ahead of them, a god would simply say ‘Traditional Rules Apply’. The times in which the graphic novel were poking fun of the adventure story, were when the reader became more aware that Joe was deteriorating.