Graphic Novels Read in June 2015 Part I

I’ve read (and am continuing to read) a reasonably healthy amount of graphic novels in June. Here are the first of those books:

mikesplace

Mike’s Place (2015) Jack Baxter, Joshua Faudem, Koren Shadmi (First Second)

A filmmaker named Jack travels to Israel to make a documentary about a famous Palestinian leader, but when another filmmaker beats him to the story, Jack decides to film the story of Mike’s Place, a Tel Aviv blues bar where everyone is welcome, as long as you don’t discuss politics or religion. Mike’s Place chronicles the bar’s employees and customers and their lives leading up to and beyond the bar’s bombing. Derek and I discussed this effectively produced graphic novel recently on one of our review podcasts which you can listen to here. (black-and-white; adults)

4/5

Nimona

Nimona (2015) Noelle Stevenson (Harper Teen)

A young woman – who’s also a shapeshifter – wants to become the sidekick of the supervillain Ballister Blackheart, helping him take down Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and the Institution of Law Enforcement in a fantasy/medieval kingdom. I’m not sure I like the way Stevenson sets up the fantasy world of Nimona then switches it with elements of technology, but I think I understand her purposes in doing so. We also see Stevenson’s progression as an artist and storyteller here – Nimona was originally a webcomic and not everything that works as a webcomic works equally well in print. Still, this is a very impressive book filled with great action and humor. Stevenson is certainly a creator to watch. (You can hear the discussion Derek and I had about this book here.) (color; teens and older)

3.5/5

louise_brooks

Louise Brooks: Detective (2015) Rick Geary (NBM Publishing)

Rick Geary has outdone himself with Louise Brooks: Detective. I feared that this venture away from Geary’s usual true crime stories into a fictionalized tale of a real celebrity would be a let-down, but such is not the case. Not only do we get a good look at silent film star Louise Brooks after her decline as a box office attraction, we also get a superbly told story. This book certainly belongs among Geary’s strongest work. Derek and I recently interviewed Geary about Louise Brooks: Detective and his other works.) (black-and-white; teens and older)

5/5

russianolive

Russian Olive to Red King (2015) Kathryn Immonen, Stuart Immonen (AdHouse Books)

If I had to pick the best graphic novel of 2015 so far, this would be it, hands down. You can read my full review here. (color; nothing objectionable, and although teens could read the book with no problem, I’d recommend an adult audience)

5/5

250px-Berlin-cityofstones-jasonlutes-cover

Berlin: City of Stones, Book One (2000) Jason Lutes (Drawn and Quarterly)

Set in the final years of Germany’s Weimar Republic, Berlin: City of Stones focuses on several characters’ interweaving stories, but primarily those of journalist Kurt Severing and art student Marthe Muller. The book is filled with ordinary people and events under the constant influence and threat of approaching fascism. Lutes is a tremendous artist and storyteller. (black-and-white; adults)

5/5

There’s more to come…

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