More Reviews of Graphic Novels

The fallout continues from my reading of "100 Greatest Graphic Novels."

by Doug TenNapel
2010 - Graphix (Scholastic)

A live boy is transported to the afterlife by a ghost hunter who accidentally returns both a ghost and the live boy. The problem is ... it's hard to return someone after they've been sent. A motley crew attempts to catch up to Garth (the boy) as he goes trotting about the landscape on the horse skeleton that got him sent over and that subsequently befriended him. But there are strange forces at work ...

A good story with good artwork in a single self-contained volume.

Hellsing 1
by Kohta Hirano
2003 - Dark Horse Manga

This isn't in 100 Greatest Graphic Novels, but reading all those reminded me of the "Hellsing" anime, which I enjoyed. The artwork is wonderful - black and white and thoroughly exaggerated and gothic. The dialogue and plot are also totally over-the-top. Mostly this is a lot of fun. Where it falls down is the idiomatic English. This is supposed to be in Great Britain, and it's written in Japanese and then translated into English. The use of English is generally grammatically correct and well constructed, but the author's use of British colloquialisms is jarringly outdated and inaccurate.

Toronto Public Library has (as I write) Hellsing 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10. I'm entertained enough by the writing to read all that are available, but unconcerned enough about the plot integrity to simply not be bothered by the missing numbers.

Super Mutant Magic Academy
by Jillian Tamaki
2015 - Drawn & Quarterly

This turns out to be Canadian - who knew? It's more like a collection of comic strips than a graphic novel: most pages are single strips, not directly related to the strips before or after. People recur, so we get a sense of personality for many of them and a sense of place. The last forty pages are relatively cohesive, telling the story of several characters on the evening of their final prom.

The art is fairly simple and almost entirely black and white - but the occasional jolt of red shows up to add a bit of spice. Like Ghostopolis, this keeps everything in one book with a surprisingly satisfying conclusion. Not deep, but quite entertaining.