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Jul 022011

MASKS by Aaron Rintoul (Septagon Studios)

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.

(Kenneth Chaw)

Official Site


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May 172011

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.

(Kenneth Chaw)

Official Site


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Mar 132011

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!

(Kenneth Chaw)
Official Site
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Mar 072011


Chester 5000 by Jess Fink (Top Shelf Productions)

Chester 5000 comes to you in May from as an adults-only hardcover in glorious black & white.

No newcomer to this genre, Jess Fink’s erotic work has graced many other publications.

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Mar 062011

The Floundering Time by Katy Weselcouch (SLG Publishing)

Getting your first graphic novel published is a pretty cool achievement.

Having said that, I read The Floundering Times with an open mind, trying to ignore the fact that the subject matter doesn’t interest me at all.

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Feb 072011

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.

Official Site


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Jan 242011

Night Animals by Brecht Evens (Top Shelf Productions)

Brecht Evens’ Top Shelf debut is a true graphic novel in every sense of the word.

Night Animals contains two stories told with absolutely no text at all.

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Jan 122011

THE INCREDIBLE CHANGE-BOTS TWO by Jeffrey Brown (Top Shelf Productions)

What do you get if you Simpson-ize the Transformers?

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Dec 272010

THE VESHA VALENTINE STORY By Des Taylor (Slave Labor Graphics)

“This started off as an artbook.”

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Nov 242010

THE NEXT THREE DAYS Directed by Paul Haggis Screenplay by Paul Haggis

Starring – Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Ty Sympkins, Olivia Wilde, Brian Dennehy, Lennie James, Helen Carey and Liam Neeson.

Let me just say that I’m not a fan of remakes but Paul Haggis at the reins of this one, made me give it a chance.

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Oct 142010

Liquid City Vol 2 (Image Comics)

It’s been 2 years since the first volume of Liquid City and Image Comics brings you a second helping of fine stories by an eclectic mix of South-east Asian talents.

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Sep 022010


Directed by 毕国智 Kenneth Bi

Starring – 冼色丽 Bonnie Xian, 诗雅 Michelle Wai, 王敏奕 Venus Wong, 林钰轩 Una Lin

I would first like to say I really wished I could have watched this movie with its original Cantonese dialogue instead of the mandarin dubbed version. Would it be wrong for the BFC to classify it as a foreign film and leave the Cantonese dialogue intact? But I digress, back to the review then.

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Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer Vol 2: The Great Puppet Theater (SLG Publishing) By Dusty Higgins & Van Jensen

After a brief 4 page recap of the events from Vol 1, this second volume delves straight into the story proper.

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Jul 282010

Written & Directed by Christopher Nolan

Starring – Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Michael Caine.

Amongst a sea of typical, formulaic, summer action flicks, Christopher Nolan has managed to deliver an intelligent movie that forces you to use at least a little bit of your brain to follow its story.

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