Assorted Graphic Novels  

Friday, August 21, 2009

Phantom of the AtticImage by Hryck. via Flickr
It occurs to me, since I reviewed Watchmen, that I never got around to reviewing the graphic novel.  Or several other graphic novels I've read in the recent past.

I borrowed Watchmen from Dan long before the movie came out. Sluggy Freelance is a webcomic I've been following since my Freshman year of college; the comic itself has been around for about ten years.  I'm currently a moderator on their official forums, so there's your full disclosure.  Gargoyles is based on the Disney cartoon, which I loved as a kid.


If you read my review of the movie, you'll already have a bare-bones sense of the plot.

This graphic novel is less linear overall; it was written as a serial, so each chapter is a somewhat self-contained story.  As a result, instead of being a strictly ensemble story taking place in a vivid universe, each issue focused on a particular element of the story -- this character, that exposition, this tangent, that philosophical musing.  This made the story less linear than it appears in then movie -- which wasn't all that linear to begin with.  The events portrayed in the awesome opening sequence are more scattered, and touched on in more depth.  Also, a few plotlines -- plotlines that appear in the DVD features, but did not show up on the big screen -- are actually sort of a big deal in the book.
This is dead-tree version of books 4, 5, and 6 of the longrunning webcomic Sluggy Freelance.  We kick off with a roundup of the characters and what they've been up to: Protagonist Torg is stuck in the past with potential love-interest Zoë; best friend Riff is trying to get them back; Bun-Bun the vicious talking rabbit is presumed dead; Aylee the interdimensional alien has been frozen in time; Gwynn, Zoë's friend and Riff's ex, is in a coma; K'Z'K the demon is on the loose; and Kiki the ferret just got distracted by something shiny.  Browse the website to see if you'll like this one, but I think you will.  It kind of sounds dreary, but it's actually a ton of fun.
Greg Weisman, creator of the Gargoyles animated series, has been waiting for over a decade to expand on his vision.  With this graphic novel (a collection of more-or-less monthly comics) he threw away Season 3 of the series, picking up where Season 2 left off.  The Clan is back at the castle, and humans know they exist.  Alliances have shifted.  Enemies, such as the Xanatos family, have become protectors, and the Illuminati is up to something, as usual.  Throw in the standard Gargoyles mix of Magic, Mythology, and Mad Science, and the reader is thrown into Weisman's deeply-layered universe.  No, seriously, this was a kids' show!  But it ages well.  Enjoy.


Read what suits you
I liked all three of these books, but they are all very different.  Some may appeal to you more than others.  That's OK.  But depending on your tastes, I think you should give at least one of them a try.  And if you like it... maybe the other two as well.

The rest of the Internet

Beware of spoilers
In between advice for saving, Trent at The Simple Dollar enthuses about Watchmen and other books he'd read recently. 
Listen to Alan Moore himself read from Roshcarchs' journal.  (hat tip to Wil Wheaton)
Nicholas Michael Grant provides an introduction to Watchmen.
LibraryThing pages for all three books.
Samy Masadi at The Anchor highly recommends Watchmen.
Hunter Baker at The American Culture discussed Watchmen.
The Clan-Building, Volume One page at the Gargoyles Wiki.
Isaac Kelley at PopMatters reminiscnes about Gargoyles and speaks highly of Clan-Building, Volume One.
Michael May at Newsarama is also nostalgic and appreciative of Clan-Building, Volume One.


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