Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Couple Good Graphic Novels

Originally I had plans for this Friday night and Saturday daytime, but because of a blizzard that decided to ravage its way through Rochester on Friday, my plans (which were in Rochester) kind of fell by the wayside. With some free time opening up, I took the opportunity to open up a couple of graphic novels and knock them off of my "to read" shelf (which is getting to be larger and larger every month). Both of the books I read were very enjoyable and come with my ringing endorsement for you to spend your money on.

The first graphic novel I plowed through comes from the small-ish publisher, NBM Publishing, and goes by the title War Fix. I ordered this in my previews order a couple of months ago based solely on the premise--the story of an embedded journalist that comes to hate and love war simultaneously. He's a war junkie, but he doesn't want to participate. Throughout the book, you get the feeling of war voyeurism.

The tone is very contemplative and somewhat simplistic, yet darkly attractive. As we see the main character go from living a life as a normal journalist to becoming a journalist focused on war to becoming a journalist right in the middle of the Iraq war to a journalist who gives up everything to be surrounded by war. The transformation is accompanied by many anecdotal scenes of what war is like in today's modern Iraq. The book kept me very interested throughout and at the end of it all, it didn't feel heavy handed or trite like so many war books seem to be nowadays.

The second graphic novel I got to was one that I picked up a while back, actually, and let linger on my shelf, mostly because I find I have to be in a very particular mood to really enjoy a Howard Chaykin story. Mighty Love tells the tale of two superheroes who happen to run into each other when working the same case and slowly fall for each other. The rub, however, is that their alternate personas hate each other in real life and are working against each other at every turn.

Truth be told, there really isn't anything groundbreaking or awe-inspiring about this offering, but it's just interesting enough to keep you turning from page to page and then before you know it, boom, you're done. Chaykin's artistic style may not be something everyone can appreciate, but I find most of his work to be of an interesting, if somewhat simple, style--thick lines, slightly exaggerated characters, and simple coloring. It works, though.

So if you're looking for a couple of decent graphic novels to pick up and read as the temperatures start to drop and snow starts to litter the ground, feel free to give these two a shot.

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