Thursday 23 September 2010

Swoon Now! Harvey & Love and Rockets #3

It's a fantastic week for books
: For starters, in the re-prints corner there's Dave McKean's mammoth Cages (Dark Horse), the Paul Dini and Alex Ross collection of their classic World's Greatest Heroes (DC) stories and original Smurf adventures (Papercutz). In the new title corner we have AX: Alternative Manga Volume One (Top Shelf) which is amongst a few titles released recently that aim to challenge pre-conceptions about manga. And there's Koko Be Good (First Second) by Jen Wang. Confidently drawn, charming and with a nice energetic pace I was several pages into it before I'd even realised (there's an excerpt here).

But there are two titles I'd like to linger on a little while.

The first is Harvey (Groundwood) by Harve Bouchard and Janice Nadeau it follows a little boy over two days during which his father dies and he attends the funeral. It's sensitively told from the child's point of view which means that emotions aren't processed and analysed but presented as matter of fact with as much attention as the game of pooh sticks that takes place before and his memory of watching The Incredible Shrinking Man. Whilst Bouchard invites you take away what you wish from the book Nadeau's artwork (she talks briefly about the process here) harmonises beautifully with the writing to develop the themes. The smudged charcoal gives the book a ghostly feel, as if characters are dusted with ash which contrasts with the patterns and the reoccurring motif of leaves. One of the books of the year for me.
Secondly, there may not be much more to say about the brilliance of the Hernandez brothers and their Love & Rockets (Fantagraphics) titles but the latest edition of New Stories is worth mentioning because for both brothers it marks a return to familiar characters and more grounded storytelling. There aren't any super heroines or flights or surrealistic fantasy that featured in the two previous volumes instead there are two thematically linked and challenging stories that may even prove to be unsettling for some readers. After I recently blogged about how maybe their work should be presented separately they prove me wrong - obviously regular readers of the blog! Still forging their own path after all these years and still managing to excel. (Update - Have a look at this debate suggesting that this may represent the Hernandez brothers strongest work)

Smurfs is £4.50, AX is £22.50, Love & Rockets New Stories #3 is £11, Koko Be Good is £14, Cages is £22.50 and Harvey is £15.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't worry! Your comments will appear soon