I’ve recently been bit by the Graphic Novel bug after not having touched one since high school. At the beginning of October I discussed Cory Doctorow’s In Real Life but haven’t talked about any others since then. SO! Here are some mini-reviews for the comics I read last month:
Nailbiter: Volume 1 by Joshua Williamson
Where do serial killers come from? and why has Buckaroo, Oregon given birth to sixteen of the most vile serial killers in the world?
NSA Agent Nicholas Finch needs to solve that mystery in order to save his friend, and he’ll have to team up with the infamous Edward “Nailbiter” Warren to do it.
Whereas In Real Life was a Middle Grade comic following a young girl and a role playing game, Nailbiter is about as far away from that as you can get: sixteen of the world’s worst serial killers (as though there are good serial killers?) have all come from Buckaroo, Oregon. Why? What is it about this city that causes people to just snap? When a friend (and arresting officer of Nailbiter – the aptly named serial killer who would eat his victim’s fingernails) goes missing after announcing a theory as to the cause of the killers, Finch descends upon the town, looking for answers. He teams up with a local cop and – much to his dismay and disgust – Nailbiter himself.
Nailbiter was quick, dark, and deliciously entertaining! While the locals cringe at anything to do with the killers, Buckaroo has become something of a tourist spot for the morbid and curious, complete with its own souvenir shop run by the grandson of the city’s original mass murderer. There isn’t a whole lot for me to say about this one – it was fun while it lasted and the Silence of the Lambs references and shout-outs were a treat, but there wasn’t anything too outstanding. Overall, Nailbiter was fairly average, but it was a great way to pass a dreary afternoon.
Southern Bastards: Volume 1 by Jason Aaron
Earl Tubb is an angry old man with a very big stick. Euless Boss is a high school football coach with no more room in his office for trophies and no more room underneath the bleachers for burying bodies.
And they’re just two of the folks you’ll meet in Castor County, Alabama, home of Boss BBQ, the state champion Runnin’ Rebs and more bastards than you’ve ever seen!
I haven’t the slightest idea what was going on here. It wasn’t that the story wasn’t good…I just didn’t get what the whole point was. An old man with a thorn in his side returns to his Alabama home to clean out his father’s house and starts making trouble? There’s a Godfather-like football coach (dubbed Coach Boss) who owns a barbecue joint and rules the Runnin’ Rebs with an iron fist. He virtually runs the town and anyone who’s anyone knows not to get on his bad side, lest they answer to his goons’ fists.
As much as I wanted to enjoy this one (I’m all about gritty, raw reads!!) I couldn’t understand what was going on nor why. This is the author’s first original work – he’s done a ton of work on Wolverine comics – and it shows. I will say though that the artwork is phenomenal!
Soppy by Philippa Rice
The wildly popular web comic SOPPY–with more than half a million notes on Tumblr–is the illustrated love story of author Philippa Rice and her real-life boyfriend. True love isn’t always about the big romantic gestures. Sometimes it’s about sympathizing with someone whose tea has gone cold or reading together and sharing a quilt. When two people move in together, it soon becomes apparent that the little things mean an awful lot. The throwaway moments in life become meaningful when you spend them in the company of someone you love.
Oh, goodness. Soppy was ten kinds of adorable! Told through illustrations (there are maybe a handful of words peppered throughout the entire comic), Soppy details those little moments in a relationship: grocery shopping, making tea, doing household chores, sharing a quilt. Nameless moments that might not seem like much on the outside, but mean everything when you’re with the person you love.
I giggled out loud at some because they mirrored my own relationship so perfectly. I even texted Matt a few pictures. That was US on that page, it was as though Rice had looked into our lives as she was creating this book. Prior to reading I had never heard of Rice or her tumblr, but now I have some serious catching up to do – especially if the rest of her artwork is as lovely as this novel! (While typing that last sentence I got sidetracked by her tumblr and yes, yes it is as lovely ♥)