Friday, November 06, 2009

Graphic Novels: Mini-Reviews

Writing mini-reviews left me feeling so accomplished yesterday that I think I am going to do some more today! This time I am going to concentrate on some of the graphic novels I have read lately and haven't had time to review. It won't contain anything by Bill Willingham, though, because I am going to post about him on his own.

Bone - Volume 1: Out From Boneville by Jeff Smith
Finally! I am so glad I finally read the first book in this series. Everyone has said great things about it, but I was waiting for it to come in for me at the library. I might buy the series eventually, but for now I am going to enjoy it through the library. The art is great and the story is fun. I like how Smith combines the believable and the unbelievable so easily. I am looking forward to the dysfunctional Bone-folk characters developing as the series go along. Plus, there is a dragon and I love dragons!

The Eternal Smile by Gene Luen Yang & Derek Kirk Kim
I read Gene Luen Yang's other book earlier this year. I think he is lost on me, but I will keep trying! It isn't that I don't like his books, I just don't love them as much as other people tend to. I will say that this one wasn't as good as his first book no matter what I think of him overall. He does have creative ideas, though, and I appreciate the creativity. I just still have some hang-ups with graphic novels no matter how many I have read this year.

Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki & Steve Rolston
I think this is actually a perfect book for a teenage audience. Many teens feel a bit left out at some point and time during high school. Emiko has friends, but she is starting to feel like she doesn't fit in with them anymore so she goes looking for another social group that will make her feel better. She just wants to belong. Sometimes you need to break out of your comfort zone in order to find yourself, and that is what Emiko is doing here. She is surrounded by a great cast of characters which is clearly illustrated by the graphics that accompany the text.

Salamander Dream by Hope Larson
I read this book because of a review I read on Nymeth's blog. I have to be honest. I am still not always the most comfortable about books that rely more on the pictures than the words. This book is based on reading the story through the pictures. I always feel like I am missing something. When you read a novel with words you pick up on everything. When you read a book through pictures it can often be more about interpretation. I think I prefer knowing what it is going on... That's not to say it is always clear in novels, but it is different. I am not sure if I am making sense. I guess what it comes down to is that while I thought it was a good book, I didn't particularly love it. I am glad I took a chance on it, though.

Skim by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki
By the same authors of Emiko Superstar. I enjoyed this book, too. This is another book about fitting in, really. They seem to like that idea. It's another one that I can see working well for young adults, though. This graphic novel also tackles suicide, love of a teenager, and other teenage issues. Skim was a troubled character, but she is also a typical teen trying to make her life work for her when things don't always make the best sense. Another good graphic novel from this team.

Jellaby by Kean Soo
Jellaby: Monster in the City by Kean Soo
Book one and two in Kean Soo's graphic novel series. For anyone looking for a fun graphic novel series for their kids I strongly recommend this one. I thought that it was a lot of fun. Jelllaby is a monster that finds himself meeting a little girl who takes him as her pet. A large purple monster. It was an enjoyable series so far. I look forward to book three to see what adventures that Jellaby and company are up to this time.


  1. I just started my first graphic novel, Watchmen, and I'm loving it. Thanks for the big list; I'm bookmarking this post for future reference.

  2. I still find it hard to really enjoy graphic novels. I need to venture out more.

  3. Oooh, I've never heard of Jellaby before, but I have a feeling I would love it! Added bonus, I could buy them for the boys and not have to feel guilty about breaking my buying ban. (Yes, I'm such a cheater!) Glad you enjoyed Bone! And though you've probably heard it a thousand times already...they just keep getting better. :D

  4. Great post! Bone is on my *must* finally read list for next year. Eternal Smile is a Cybils nominee so I'll be reading that soon; I'm not sure how I'm going to respond to it at all. Skim is way definitely not my type of book but Jellaby looks sooo cute and fun. I'll have to look for that one for my son.

  5. Salamander Dream looks like something I could really get into. I developed a fascination for wordless books (picture books, graphic novels) in college. I'm pretty fascinated by the fact that we can piece things together so well through images only. Thakns for great mini-reviews!

  6. Great bunch of GN's you've read there, Bone, is definitely one I want to read.

  7. I absolutely loved Bone and can't wait to get to #2. I've never heard of The Eternal Smile...will probably pass on this one. Emiko Susperstar sounds like one that I would really enjoy. I liked Skim a lot and thought it was well done. Jellaby has caught my eye so I will be trying to get this one from my library!! Great reviews!!

  8. Hmmm...I'm with you on the whole wordless book thing. Very much NOT for me. I have Bone out from the library. One of these days I'll actually get to it!! Actually, Emiko Superstar is the one that looks the best to me!!

    I like your mini-reviews. I guess that's what you get when your read a million books in a year!

  9. Hazra: Wow, your first? I hope it is worth it and you want to read more! Let me know if you would like any recommendations. :)

    Alice: This has really been the year of graphic novels for me. I had never really read them before and I am still not really sure about them.

    Debi: Jellaby would be great for the boys. It is Canadian, so that is probably why you haven't heard about it. I hope they enjoy! I am looking forward to the next book in Bones when it comes in for me at the library!

    Nicola: I was going to wait and read Bones next year, too, but since I am all caught up in Fables I thought I could start another series... I look forward to your thoughts on it! I hope your son enjoys Jellaby!

    Andi: We talked about reading through pictures in university, too, and while I can appreciate it, I still don't really enjoy it...

    Darren: Bone is really good so far. I read the prequel earlier this year, so I have read two now.

    Staci: Emiko Superstar was pretty good. I hope you give it a read! I can't wait until Bone #2, either. I am so glad people are going to read Jellaby!

    Stephanie: I hope you find time to read BONE! It was really good!

  10. I wish I'd remembered you'd read The Eternal Smile! I'd convinced you to do another co-review :P And this time we'd have a lot to discuss because I did love it :P


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