Comic Reviews: A Grab Bag of Stuff


Betty Blues

    Renaud Dilles serves up this auburn-hued, smoky-shaded story of a hot-headed, jazz playing duck named Little Rice Duck.  And while his trumpet playing may be hot his dedication to playing has left his (literal) chick Betty ice cold.  Betty wants more from life than a jazz club trumpeter can give her and when you add in Duck’s inattention she is primed to leave with a fat cat who promises her the good life of champagne every day she leaves him.  Giving up the life of music Little Duck becomes a wanderer to find himself again.  Dilles has written a wonderful tale of self-realization but the stand out here is the artwork.  Each panel is draped in gold and dim orange hues that lend a heaviness to the story.  If you are looking for something a little different I recommend you give this a shot.

I Think I Am in Friend-Love With You

    Go back in your mind and try to think of that special someone in your life.  I’m not talking about your current wife or girlfriend of boyfriend or whoever (but it can be).  I mean that one person you touched you in that special way.  That one person who, even though you knew you could never have, still gave your life meaning.  That one person who you just enjoyed sitting and talking with, sharing corny jokes with, and looked forward to getting calls from.  We all have that someone and this book by Yumi Sakugawa is dedicated to them and she uses odd, alien creatures of a non-specific gender and race so all readers can identify with them.
    The only word for this book is "cute".  If you happen to find a picture online of a baby kitten and rabbit cuddled up asleep on a fuzzy blanket in a meadow of yellow dandelions that MIGHT be cuter than this book but I doubt it.  If you are lucky enough to still have that person in your life you just want to be with and not “be with” buy this and share with them.


Madison Square Tragedy

    Rick Geary has found his niche and he works it like no one else.  What Ken Burns does for PBS documentaries Rick does for historical comics.  Rick has a talent for picking juicy, salacious tales of murder and mystery from history and presenting them in a documentary format that I love. 
    Older men love being around young, beautiful women.  That was true today and it was true 100 years ago.  Stanford White is one of New York City’s most famous architects and he loves his women young and beautiful and there is no girl more beautiful than Evelyn Nesbit.  She is a young aspiring actress and the first true supermodel.  Her face was a muse to men, capturing both a youthful innocence and a pouty sexiness that could not be ignored and Stanford White had to have her, and if that meant getting her drunk and drugging her in his private apartment (home of the now famous red velvet swing) then so be it.
    Unfortunately for Stanford White, Evelyn soon married a man named Harry K Thaw who was both insane and rich.  Harry Thaw for some unknown reason saw Stanford White and the very embodiment of everything that was wrong in the world and had for a long time.  And when he found out that his one evening that his wife had been taken advantage of by that very man something completely snapped in Harry and when the opportunity presented itself he shot Stanford in the face multiple times in public, in front of dozens of witnesses and was found not guilty.  If you love history as well as comics track down anything by Rick Geary but start with Madison Square Tragedy.


Little Fish

    People change.  The person you were is not who you are and who you are is not who you are going to be.  When you leave high school for college you get the chance, if you wish, to reinvent yourself.  Who can be whoever you want.  If you were the social outcast in high school nobody at college needs to know that you weren’t the homecoming queen and voted most popular.  The dark side of this freedom is that you will inevitably leave behind not only the life you had but those who were a part of it.  Sure, you promise to keep in touch and initially you do.  But as you begin to grow in one direction your friends grow in others and the calls become less frequent and more superficial.  
    Little Fish by Ramsey Beyer does a very good job of being written at a level for high school kids and hopefully preparing them for the upheaval that is about to come.  The problem I have is with the gimmick she uses.  You see, Ramsey likes to make lists.  She makes lists of everything, favorite rock bands, things that scare her, whatever happens to cross her mind and the book is constantly interrupted by these lists.  I counted them up and 42% of this graphic novel are pages of these lists.  I’m not sure what the official text page percentage is when a graphic novel turns into a regular book but it’s got to be around 42%.
    If this had been used less and less as the book went on to show Ramsey becoming more confident and needing the security and structure that these lists gave her than I would have applauded her creativity.  What story is there is well-told, but I am going to spend $16.00 I don’t want to just read lists.