Thursday, September 15, 2005

Time for some comic reviews

"Shirley: A Sex Comedy"
by Noa Abarbanel and Amitai Sandy
Dimona Comix Group, 40 pages, 9.95.

Despite the book's explicit sex scenes, "Shirley" is less a piece of erotica and more of a character study. Poor Shirley has no trouble finding men, she just can't hold onto them. This is mainly due to her seemingly desperate need to crack inappropriate jokes in the middle of intimate moments. The authors clearly want readers to see Shirley as a free spirit, looked down upon by a bunch of repressed dullards who can't lighten up. The fact, however, is that her behavior is so intensely annoying that she evokes little sympathy.

"The Murder of Abraham Lincoln"
by Rick Geary
NBM, 80 pages,$15.95.

The latest in Geary's "Treasury of Victorian Murder," "Lincoln" delves into the story of the president's assassination with a good deal of thoughtfulness and research. You might think you know everything there is about that tragic day at Ford's Theater, but Geary proves there's a good deal that wasn't in your high school history book, including some lingering and rather intriguing mysteries. Geary has always been a top-notch cartoonist, and this latest volume further cements his reputation. Buy it for the CivilWar buff in your family.

"Ordinary Victories"
by Manu Larcenet
NBM, $15.95.

It's hard to talk about this latest cultural import from NBM without lapsing into effusive superlatives. Ostensibly, it's the story of Marc, a photographer plagued with anxiety over his work, his family, his girlfriend and life in general. More than that, however, "Victories" is an extraordinarily moving look at one man's attempt to find his place in the world and, eventually, to mature. Do yourself a favor and put it on your "must-read list" for this year.

"Dimona 3"
by various,
Dimona Comix Group,64 pages, $9.95.

This anthology features four stories by Israeli artists, each dealing with issues of self-discovery in some fashion. The best story is the third by Meirav Shaul, who uses a loose, sketchy style to tell the dreamlike tale of a shy young girl who goes to a party. The other three tales contain some noteworthy art work, but the stories themselves are rather inconsequential, and they quickly fade from memory once you've put the book down.

by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

Vertigo, $12.99.

A mash-up of sorts between "The Incredible Journey" and "Terminator 2," "WE3" follows a trio of bio-engineered and cybernetically enhanced animals (a dog, cat and rabbit, respectively) as they escape their cages and make a break for freedom, with the military in hot pursuit.

There are any number of ways a story like this could have gone horribly wrong, but Morrison and Quitely manage to pull the book off with alarming skill, mainly because they portray the deadly trio as real animals and don't anthropomorphize them into cute, short people with fur. Quitely, especially, brings all his artistic talents to this (rather violent) work, which quickly turns into a reflection on animal cruelty and the dangers of good intentions. Don't be surprised if by the time you get to the last page you find yourself brushing away a tear. "WE3" is one of the best comics of the year.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2005


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