MASKS is a psychological thriller written and illustrated by Aaron Rintoul.
Well, “illustrated” is an understatement here as the pages within MASKS are a visual buffet for your eyes. You will spend so much time on each page admiring the art which is a combination of photography and digital art, that you’ll forgive him for writing such a short story. This art style isn’t something new but Aaron does it beautifully here.
Follow Sara as she delves into her own mind and discovers she can see through the eyes of a serial killer! Is she losing her mind? Can she stop the killer? Or is she just dreaming?
I read the 3 issue mini series for the purpose of this review and it really didn’t become clear to me what was happening to Sara until I read issue 2. If you read the graphic novel then it should all just flow together.
In the midst of my reading MASKS, a thought did occur to me that this story might have been better served if Aaron had found a way to do the graphic novel with just pictures and no words instead. It would also leave people to make their own interpretations.
As I’ve said I wished the story was longer but as Aaron himself has said, his intention was to create a graphic poem, and he certainly has done that here.
MASKS is a book you’ll want to read more than once simply because of the stunning art but also because story elements become clearer upon a second inspection. I’m definitely looking forward to more work from Aaron Rintoul.
Malleus Maleficarum by Mike Rosen (SLG Publishing)
How about this for an idea? Take a 15th Century bestselling Latin book, give it a modern day spin with a generous dose of humour and …Viola!
You have Mike Rosen’s new graphic novel based on an actual book written by Heinrich Kramer, an Inquisitor of the Catholic Church in 1486.
It’s the subject matter that’s gonna get you. It’s a “How to” book on how to identify and prosecute witches! Remember, it was 1486.
A direct translation of this now would probably present it as a misogynistic piece of work. A humorous graphic novel format, on the other hand, is a perfect vehicle to bring Kramer’s book out to the masses.
The first part of the book is for the disbelievers and tries to convince you that witches and witchcraft are real. The second part spells out (heh heh, I couldn’t resist…) how and why, they do what they do. Finally the third part instructs you on the proper way to go about, tracking them down, catching them and then conducting a trial where you can finally mete out justice!
It’s all in good fun and the illustration adds to the hilarity.
Certainly a novel way to adapt this body of work and a totally unexpected joy to read.
GINGERBREAD GIRL Written by Paul Tobin. Art by Colleen Coover (Top Shelf Productions)
If this graphic novel was a movie, it would most certainly be categorized as “arthouse” fare. Whilst the plot and dialogue have been painstakingly put together by writer Paul Tobin to present a story from the perspectives of different narrators and filled with references to medical factoids/myths and mystical mumbo jumbo, the underlying core story is just not compelling enough.
The artwork is cartoony in the old-school Archie style and seems somewhat at odds with the oddball, goofy plotlines although it must be said that the artwork does reflect Annah Bilips’ whacked out deposition perfectly!
26-year-old Annah Bilips is the main protagonist and the story revolves around her quirky character, her lifestyle choices and her obsession with the “Gingerbread Girl” a twin sister allegedly made from parts of her brain! Is the Gingerbread Girl real or the product of Annah Bilips’s fevered imagination? Well, you’d have to find out for yourself…
Yes, geeks and geekettes, I must confess that I have been thus far less than impressed by the prospect of the Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds. The first trailer did not do much to allay the fears as the tone of the movie came across as comedy-adventure rather than space epic.
I read a lot of super-hero comic books growing up in the 60s and one of my favorite characters was the X-Man, Cyclops. You know, the guy who could shoot red laser beams from his eyes, functioned as team leader (in the absence of the crippled Professor X), hooked up with the only girl (Marvel Girl, natch aka Jean Grey) in the team and possessed all the qualities that I looked up to as a young pre-teen child.
Of course, in the subsequent years, Cyclops’ life got a whole lot more complicated and his character has been revised to such an unrecognizable extent (as with most comic book super-heroes) that I have lost all interest in him (and super-hero comic books in general).
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER OFFICIAL TRAILER
This is already looking like an AMAZING year for superhero movies. Based on the trailers of Thor and X-Men: First Class, it appears that directors/producers are pulling out all the stops to make superhero movies work on every level – for the geek and casual movie-goer alike. Finally, Captain America is given a proper trailer and it looks like yet another winner. Every comic book geek knows Cap’s origin story and I am hoping that the promise shown here is fulfilled and justice is done to the vision of creators Joe Simon (now in his late 90s!) and Jack “King” Kirby (rest in peace). The movie opens on 22nd July.
The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti & Mike Huddleston (Top Shelf Productions)
Robert Venditti’s previous work was a sci-fi piece, The Surrogates, which was made into a rather watchable movie starring Bruce Willis.
With a title like The Homeland Directive, Venditti’s new graphic novel is quite clear from the beginning about what you’re going to get inside its pages. Rather unpredictably, Robert has chosen to show his versatility by churning out a fast-paced thriller filled with action and plot twists and a believable story worthy of a Jason Bourne installment.
Dr Laura Regan is a research scientist who’s partner is murdered and she’s the prime suspect. Forced to go on the run, she’s caught up in a conspiracy which seems to involve every government agency you can think of. It may sound entirely formulaic, but instead, Venditti’s crisp and witty dialogue strings together each and every scenario in an entirely plausible setting. Throughout all this, Venditti manages to touch on current issues we continue to confront daily such as the loss of personal privacy in the face of modern technology.
Beautifully illustrated by Mike Huddleston, the painted borderless panels give a cinematic feel to the story. Mike’s art conveys perfectly the changing tension and atmosphere as the scene dictates.
All in, an exciting story and a great read, don’t miss it!
A lil while back, we reviewed the Vesha Valentine Story graphic novel and was struck especially by it’s old world glamour motif (the good girl art – think of the late Dave Stevens). So I thought it’d be interesting to share with PoP visitors some pictures sent by Vesha Valentine creator, Des Taylor of a book party he held recently. Enjoy…
Amity Blamity Book One By Mike White (SLG Publishing)
Mike White brings you his first book in a planned series of graphic novels about the daily shenanigans on a family farm. Four year old Gretchen, Chester the talking pig(!), Uncle Downey and Grandma make up the cast in this black & white offering about life on the farm.
At first glance it brings to mind Bloom County, Liberty Meadows and a little Calvin & Hobbes. Ok, Calvin & Hobbes may be due to the art. Unlike those examples, Amity Blamity has a storyline which follows a linear path reading like a traditional comic rather than a “comic strip”.
It isn’t laugh out loud funny but it is accessible. Like Jeff Smith’s Bone, Amity Blamity is an easy read to pick up and get right into. What made Bone a success was its ability to work on more than one level hence its appeal to all ages. Unlike Bone, I don’t see any kids finding this an enthralling read anytime soon. I think that the art & story would really pop if only it were in color.
Story wise, you will be rewarded with some interesting and funny situations. Be warned though, you’ll want to know what happens next when you get to the last page but you’ll just have to wait patiently until November for Book Two.
Initial images have been released for the upcoming Matthew Vaughn-helmed X-flick (above). The picture shows the early X-Men in costumes resembling the original comic books (although why is Mystique part of the original X-Men is beyond me). Also prominent are Jennifer Jones’ Emma Frost and Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw (as the Hellfire Club plays a key role). At front of both “sides” are Magneto (Michael Fassbinder, left) and non-bald Prof X (James McAvoy, right). Is that the Beast or Nightcrawler lurking in the middle? Frankly, I am not looking forward to this at the moment. I will need to see the first trailer to allay my fears.