Posts tagged graphic novel

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Graphic Novel Review: Seconds

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With 2014 beginning to fade from recent memory, it’s about time I write about my favorite graphic novel of the preceding year: Bryan Lee O’Malley’s book Seconds. Released over the summer, it is O’Malley’s first published work since the last Scott Pilgrim installment was issued in 2010. The story follows Katie, a young chef trying to open another restaurant so she can leave Seconds (her first culinary establishment and the place where she lives in an apartment upstairs). After a dramatic incident in which a young waitress gets injured, Katie discovers her resident house spirit, who gives her a mushroom and an opportunity to erase a mistake and rewrite events. Soon afterward, Katie finds a patch of these mushrooms and begins abusing their power, despite Lis, the house spirit’s insistence that they should only be used once per person.

Cover with half dust jacket

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

The back of the book, with dust jacket partially pulled back to show the design underneath.

The book itself is beautiful. The half dust jacket and cover boards have different designs, giving it a unique style. I’m also a sucker for any novel that takes the color of the panel lines into account (props to the colorist, Nathan Fairbairn).

Seconds differs quite a bit from the Scott Pilgrim series, and more resembles his first graphic novel Lost at Sea. The book is a single, contained story, rather than a series released manga-style. The story also incorporates a narrator, though there is some witty banter exchanged between it and the main character, implying that the narrator may be an inner voice of Katie’s. These quirks bring the story to life. There are even some nods to Scott Pilgrim for O’Malley’s dedicated fans. (Scott and Ramona are eating in the restaurant on page 259, for example).

Main character Katie looking pretty cartoony next to her hunky new husband. (Ignore my appropriately themed bookmark in the upper right).

One of the Second’s flaws is its main character, which is admittedly sort of the point–she is flawed to a fault. As she digs herself farther into trouble by continuing to eat the mushrooms that erase her numerous mistakes, it seems to take an unbelievable amount of time for her to learn from these errors. She is hard to root for. Katie differs even in style from the others. O’Malley’s style is cartoony, but Katie’s design takes it to another level, as she is the only character with gravity-defying anime hair.

There is nothing groundbreaking in Seconds; no new story elements or decisions that set it far apart from other works, but it has just the right amount of humor, quirk, and design to make it pop. I want more graphic novels like this, with a single developed story that plays with narrative styles, and some nice resolution at the end. Seconds is worth checking out, and not just for Scott Pilgrim fans.

TAH cover

Presenting The Thrilling Adventure Hour Graphic Novel

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TAH cover

 

The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a podcast (which is actually a rebroadcast of a monthly stage show) in the style of an old-time radio show. At least, that’s all it was until now. Thanks to the support of their fans and Kickstarter backers, they were able to create a graphic novel! Featuring some classic characters as well as current favorites, the TAH novel is 136 pages of pure fun. It has everything a fan of the podcast could want and then some. Not only do you get stories of Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars and those married mediums Frank and Sadie Doyle from Beyond Belief, you also get to see adventures from Colonel Tick-Tock, Captain Laserbeam, Amelia Earhart, and more! It even includes ads for Patriot Brand Cigarettes and other fun things, all in the style of old newspaper or magazine ads.

“What if you’re not a fan of the podcast?” you ask. Fear not! While the stories will definitely appeal to current fans of the show for many different reasons, the stories also stand alone very nicely. True, as a fan of the show myself I was very excited to see the characters I had become familiar with come to life on the page, but I also tried to imagine seeing these characters being presented to me for the first time and couldn’t find anything that would make me feel lost or disconnected in any way. So, whether you’re on old-time fan of the show or this is your first introduction, I believe the TAH graphic novel has something to offer everyone. I do heartily recommend checking the podcast out once you’ve finished the novel, however. Each episode is pretty short (about 30 mins) and there are a lot of fun stories in there for you to catch up on. Happy consuming, nerds!

 

The Thrilling Adventure Hour graphic novel is now available at your local comic shop. It will be released in all bookstores Aug 20th. You can find more at the TAH website. To check out the podcast go to Nerdist website, where you will find it listed along the many other podcasts in the Nerdist family.

‘Thrilling Adventure Hour’ Graphic Novel Sells Out Before On-Sale Date

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For Immediate Release: 

Second printing is underway, more copies expected in October

August 6, 2013 (Los Angeles) – Award-winning graphic novel publisher Archaia Entertainment, an imprint of BOOM! Studios, is proud to announce that the first printing of The Thrilling Adventure Hour (TAH) graphic novel is sold out at the distributor level. In fact, the title was marked “out of stock” three weeks before it was set to debut in comic book shops on August 7.

“We are the good kinds of sellouts? Thank you to the Adventurekateers for your support—you knock us out,” beamed Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, the creators and writers of TAH. “We know you’ll love this book!”

The Thrilling Adventure Hour ($19.95, hardcover, 136 pages, full color, 7.25” x 11.25”, ISBN: 978-1-936393-28-2) is an anthology collection of original genre tales based on segments included in the highly popular stage show and podcast of the same name. The TAH (thrillingadventurehour.com) live performance harkens back to the heyday of old-time radio entertainment, with well-dressed actors (known as the WorkJuice Players), scripts in hands, voice-acting their roles in front a live audience. The performance is recorded and later uploaded as part of the Nerdist Channel family of podcasts. The WorkJuice Players include Paul F. Tompkins, Paget Brewster, Autumn Reeser, Marc Evan Jackson, Mark Gagliardi, Craig Cackowski, Hal Lublin, and more. They are often joined by stars of film and TV who make cameo appearances, including Nathan Fillion, Molly Quinn, and Jason Ritter.

In 2012, Acker and Blacker ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to pay for the artists for the graphic novel and wound up raising almost four times what they had initially asked for. All the funds were used to pay for the creative and the stretch goals associated with the campaign. None of the money was used to pay for the production of the book.

Copies of TAH are available at your local comic book shop now, and will be available in book stores and other mass market outlets on August 20. Not sure where to find your nearest comic retailer? Use comicshoplocator.com or findacomicshop.com to find one! If you are unable to find a copy, Archaia and BOOM! have rushed TAH back for a second printing and will have more available by the time of New York Comic Con (October 10-13, 2013 at the Javits Center in New York City).

About Archaia Entertainment

Archaia (archaia.com) is a multi-award-winning graphic novel publisher with more than 75 renowned publishing brands, including such domestic and international hits as Mouse Guard, Rust, Cow Boy, Cursed Pirate Girl, Gunnerkrigg Court, and Artesia. Archaia has also published an entire line of graphic novels in partnership with The Jim Henson Company, including the multiple award-winning Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand and such beloved tales as The Dark Crystal, The Storyteller, and Fraggle Rock. In addition to its partnership with Henson, Archaia has forged creative partnerships with storytellers in all facets of the entertainment industry, resulting in print and digital expansions of such noted properties as Bleedout and HAWKEN (video games), Immortals and Planet of the Apes (film), and Space: 1999 (television). Alongside these celebrated titles, Archaia has released English translations of numerous renowned foreign titles to much fanfare, including The Killer, Sergio Toppi’s Sharaz-De, and The Secret History. In June 2013, Archaia was acquired by BOOM! Studios. Founded by Ross Richie in 2005, Diamond Gem Award-winning “Best Publisher” BOOM! Studios generates a constellation of best-selling Eisner and Harvey Award-winning original and licensed comic books and graphic novels with the industry’s top talent.

Fraggle Rock Vol. 2 #2 Preview_PG1

More Lovable Fraggles

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Cover A

I’m back with another review on the latest issue of ‘Fraggle Rock’. This time, we’ve got three new stories. From the press release by Archaia:

The Fraggles have solved many mysteries throughout Fraggle Rock, but in this new issue of Archaia’s acclaimed FRAGGLE ROCK series, they attempt to solve the greatest of them all! Joe LeFavi and Heidi Arnhold (LEGENDS OF THE DARK CRYSTAL) explore what it truly means to live when Gobo undertakes a quest to determine “The Meaning of Life.” But what will he have to sacrifice along the way? After that, Mokey struggles to find “The Perfect Words” in a thoughtful story from Tim Beedle (MUPPET ROBIN HOOD) and Eisner Award-nominated artist Ross Campbell (SHADOWEYES, WET MOON). Finally, Boober’s seeing monsters in “The Fraggle Who Cried Monster,” a hilariously warped tale from the minds of Jason M. Burns (A DUMMY’S GUIDE TO DANGER) and Chandra Free (THE GOD MACHINE).

Let’s jump in, shall we?

Cover B

The first story is entitled “The Meaning of Life” and the story is done by Joe LeFavi and the artwork by Heidi Arnhold. The story begins with Gobo talking to the storyteller, saying that his Uncle Matt once went on a quest that he could not complete. He heads back to the other Fraggles to tell them about it and says that he’s going to try and complete it himself. They ask him what the quest was and Gobo tells them he’s going off to find the Meaning of Life. They all begin to laugh at him, but when Gobo tells them how serious he is, they decide to go with him. Well, all but Boober. But Boober finally relents when Red tells him “But when we return with permanent stains all over our clothes, can you live with the guilt (of not joining us)?” And then Boober sighs and states he’ll go and get his things.

I really liked this vignette. There is a lot of heart to the story. One of my favorite panels is when they’re in the the Crystal Cavern and they don’t want to disturb the Rock Clingers. If they do, and they make eye contact with them, they will fall in love with them forever. The Rock Clingers are the most adorable, cutest creatures I have ever seen. There is one panel where one of them is stretching, waking up. Adorable. Of course, since they are waking up, you know what that means. Someone looks into their eyes! I won’t spoil who, but the Fraggles go and rescue them. The story continues on after that.

Another awesome part of this vignette was they showed one of Uncle Matt’s postcards. That postcard segment was really well done. In case you’ve forgotten from the show, Uncle Matt is in the “real” world – aka where we live – and goes exploring. He sends Gobo postcards of his adventures, inspiring Gobo to go on his own adventures.

I can’t stress enough how great this segment is. I would suggest picking up the comic for this story alone, but there are two more stories which I’ll talk about. The next story is called “The Fraggle Who Cried Monster” and is written by Jason M. Burns and the artwork is done by Chandra Free. The story begins with Gobo finishing off a scary story around a campfire. The Fraggles then all go to bed, but Boober begs for another story. Boober, it turns out, was scared by the last story and would like to hear another one with a happy ending. Gobo tells him that monsters aren’t real and to go and lie down. Boober enters his room and sees one of the monsters from the story and goes running back to Gobo’s room. Gobo repeats that monsters are not real and to go back to bed.

This story was actually quite fun. There are many different types of monsters. I won’t tell you what they look like so you can see for yourself. They’re not scary, I promise. If possible, they’re “cute” monsters. This is Fraggle Rock, of course. Not ‘The Ring’ or something like that.

The last story is called “The Perfect Words” and is written by Tim Beedle, with art by Ross Campbell and colors by Lizzy John. This  story focuses on Mokey and her wanting to pen the perfect poem about her friends. As a writer, I can feel her dilemma. She wants it to be just perfect but she’s not sure how to begin. A line that stuck out to me – “It’s okay. Getting started is always the hardest part. Once I figure out the beginning, the rest will flow like water.” It is so true!

Again, this story has a lot of heart to it. I won’t give away the ending, but just know that it is very touching and sweet. Mokey does an excellent job with her words. However, to get there, she secludes herself off from having fun with her friends.

I love this comic. All the different art styles make for a fantastic visual. It’s nice to see such fantastic stories about these lovable Fraggles. For your enjoyment, there’s a preview of each of the stories at the end of this article. Now if only we could convince someone to turn these stories into a television show. No, wait. They are perfect the way they are. I hope you give the second issue a chance.

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