Posts tagged hard cover

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Comic Review: Breath of Bones: A Tale Of The Golem HC

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Being a World War II historian and a fan of the golem legend, Breath of Bones was a perfect combination of good storytelling and fantastic line art that held my interest the whole way through. The tale is told from the point of view of Noah, an Allied soldier who is going to take care of the upcoming attack with a repeat of something that happened to him as a young boy. And, so, we get pulled back to his childhood and a recounting of how his village survived with faith and strength.

When Noah was just a child, his father went to war along with the other able-bodied men of their village. Noah was left to live with his grandparents and wait, everyday, for his father to return. Sadly, the stark reality of war is that he will never see his father again. The monsters of Nazi Germany has stolen away this young boy’s childhood and made him grow up way too fast. But pretty soon the war is not some far-away threat, but one that is knocking on their village’s front door.

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An Allied soldier by the name of Simon Richards crashes his plane near the village. Noah and his grandfather, along with the rest of the villagers, hide him away and put out the fires of the crash, but pretty soon the event draws the attention of the Germans who send two soldiers to check it out. The villagers almost get away with the secret they are keeping, but after accidental exposure of Simon during a search and a resulting shootout that leaves one German soldier dead, one German soldier injured yet able to escape, and Noah’s grandfather bleeding from a gunshot wound, it is evident that the monsters outside will soon be coming into their home. It is up to them to fight or run away scared.

This is where the golem legend comes into play. Noah’s grandfather, Jacob, gifted him with a small clay figure prior, one that has been passed down from grandfather to grandson for many generations. Jacob is going to use the golem legend to build a large clay figure that will come to life through the power of faith and protect them from the oncoming Nazi attack. He gets the townspeople’s help to create the figure and then sends them on their way, hoping that they can escape to safety before the Germans come back. Choosing to stay behind, Noah, his grandmother, Jacob, and Simon all stand their ground and watch as the golem does indeed do what it was meant to do. And once his mission is completed, the golem goes back to being just clay again. The village is safe, for now.

And it is this memory of faith and safety that Noah uses again in present day. As we close the series, he is beginning to shape another figure out of clay so that the golem can rise up again and defend good men against the monsters. It’s a wonderful ending to a wonderful story. If you’re a fan of WWII, or the golem legend, or just a fan of great artwork and great storytelling, you cannot go wrong with Breath of Bones. Pick up your copy today and revisit the notion that good can indeed triumph over evil.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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Review: Freaks of the Heartland

Back in 2005 Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre) and Greg Ruth (The Matrix, Conan) introduced us to an endearing and damaged young boy named Trevor. He’s a simple kid, living in a small Midwestern town with his farming family. Trevor’s problems seem at first to stem from his father’s drinking problem and a nasty temperament but we soon discover that there is much more on Trevor’s mind and in his heart. His family hides a secret, a younger brother to Trevor, who is quite different and hidden away in the dark. Trevor loves his brother dearly and looks out for him as best he can, while under the cruel control of his father.

Freaks of the Heartland is a touching and painful story of a town embarrassed of their blemishes,  and what happens when one brave boy makes the choice to stand up for what he knows is right, no matter what sacrifices he must make in the process. The story is not complex, rather quite simplistic and all the more raw for it. It’s the kind of book you can’t put down until you’re finished, largely because you’re rooting for the good guys to win and just can’t stop until you know that they do. Steve Niles does a beautiful job of building of Trevor’s story with layers of sadness, loyalty and triumph.

I can not underestimate the quality and aesthetic importance of Greg Ruth’s art to this book. Freaks of the Heartland would not have the depth and edge that it depends on without the perfect style he brings. Most panels play out more like individual paintings, each made up of heavy brush strokes and gorgeous landscapes of blended color. 

The collected hard cover edition of this book was released July 04 by Dark Horse comics. It also includes some great notes and sketches from Greg Ruth on the character development, along with each individual cover for the original issues.

If you haven’t read Freaks of the Heartland before, I highly recommend it. I am a big fan of hard cover collections, especially for unique comics like this one, which I believe will be a classic to return to again and again.

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