Category Archives: Graphic Novels

The Library Adventures: An exploration into Doug TenNapel’s Cardboard

I recently got Doug TenNapel’s Cardboard from my local library on a whim as it looked interesting to me. The story of it is about a man named Mike who is having a rough time finding work as a carpenter around town. Mike wants to be able to do something for his son Cam’s birthday and gets a mysterious cardboard box from a seller on the side of the road. From the most terrible birthday present imaginable to a wild adventure unlike anything this father and son imagined, this is Cardboard. The cover shows an idea of the imagination at hand here because when you’re a kid and you get a cardboard box, it is a sign of infinite possibilities. Which is why TenNapel’s story plays on this aspect and takes it to a new level of imagination unleashed. If you’re curious about his name he’s one of the creators of Earthworm Jim and the recent release Amikrog. It’s weird I never heard much about it back in 2012 or I just wasn’t paying attention to it, likely I somehow missed the reviews. I’m glad I got to read it finally as now I get a fun little story to talk about in Doug TenNapel’s Cardboard.

One thing I noticed about Cardboard is the book reads quickly and that’s not bad as the intended audience for this is kids. It’s totally all ages though and you’ll be able to pick it up in no time. Mike and his son Cam are good characters and a lot of fun to see how they handle the cardboard box and just how powerful this big box really is. I can see this easily being an animated movie as some of the creations from this box look and beg to be animated as much as they look great on the page. TenNapel’s art is beautiful with lots of great animated faces, creations, and fantastic visuals. I think the villain of the piece Marcus is a strange egg in TenNapel’s writing, overall it’s the rich brat character mixed in with Spike from Toy Story. It might possibly be a form of Spike from Toy Story with a level of sympathy that Spike never got to have, it’s weird. It balances out through by the end of the story but it still doesn’t take away from how likable Cardboard is.

The creation of Bill the Boxer in Cardboard is a cool idea and hints at the cool visuals to come. Whenever this comic becomes an animated series or even a movie I think kids are going to go cardboard box crazy. I really did like this book and I think if I read it as a kid I would have dug it and even adult Wesley likes this book too, so a good example of a nice all ages comic. It’s well worth checking out, not sure if I’d ever really want to own it but definitely worth reading. Thank you local library for letting me check out another neat adventure into the comic book world.

In Reading Ant-Man Vol. 1: Second-Chance Man: Say Hello to Humor and Heartbreak

Ant-Man Vol. 1 Second-Chance Man Cover

So today I somehow forgot it was National Comic Book Day, wow I’m shocked honestly. Yet I had some time so I decided to kick back and relax with Ant-Man Vol. 1: Second-Chance Man by writer Nick Spencer, artist Ramon Rosanas, and colorist Jordan Boyd. Here’s the best part about reading this in trade, it really does gel together as a full story collected. Scott Lang as Ant-Man has a tale that warms your heart and by the end breaks your heart. I’m trying to be careful as to not spoil much for you but it is a sweet story that has so much heart behind it. Nick Spencer does an amazing job of making Scott Lang a fully fleshed out character, this is one of the best spotlights for him. It goes through every bit of Ant-Man history in one way or another too, especially as it comes to Lang starting his own business venture. You even get to know more about his ex-wife and his genuinely cool friendship with his daughter Cassie. It’s got family drama, superhero adventure, and really Ant-Man Vol.1: Second-Chance had it all and left me really caring for Scott Lang for the first time in a long time.

I liked Scott Lang in his FF time with Matt Fraction and Mike Allred, yet Nick Spencer got Scott Lang clicking for me. His take on him got me. In fact so much so that I’m now going to be making a point to finish up Superior Foes of Spider-Man as soon as possible, Spencer’s Ant-Man is just that good. It’s a rare comic that makes me get a genuine laugh out of situations as much as it gets me to feel for the character. Even more is that this is such a fluid take on Ant-Man as to how the character moves about in the world. Ramon Rosanas is so good with fluid movement and capturing the action on the page. Just as much as he captures the emotions flowing from Spencer’s script at points. I loved Jordan Boyd’s coloring on this too, it sets such a mood. The final page of issue 5 especially has such a sense of gut punching you with the color choices, art, and the Scott’s mood by the end, heartbreaking and powerful work. Stay for the humor, enjoy the characterization, and it makes all the emotions that much more powerful.

Now that we got the aspects of the comic out of the way that broke and also lightened my heart, let’s get into some of the small stuff in the comic that caught my eye. One I love Scott Lang’s Ant-Man costume. It’s got a great look to it keeping the classic Ant-Man design while tweaking with it enough to make Scott Lang’s Ant-Man truly unique. I really liked that and kept with the motif that since this guy was once a thief and does security work, he would want a costume that he could function in. I also like as he gets his business started the characters he works with. Grizzly and Machinesmith are a riot and become great characters in their own right as the issues go on. I can’t wait to see what the new Ant-Man series holds when it releases and now I’m sold on it thanks to this new trade. Now I need to read the Annual and the Last Days of Ant-Man story as I’m hooked and want more before the new series hits.

Ant-Man Vol. 1: Second-Chance Man is great and you can get it via your local comic store, bookstore, Comixology, Amazon, and you don’t want to miss it. This is some good comic reading and a book that genuinely moves you while making you laugh all at the same time.

The Reading Adventure Day One: Girl in Dior by Annie Goetzinger

Girl in Dior NBMAs I play catch up through my backlog of reading in my reading adventures I start with Girl in Dior by Annie Goetzinger. I happened to see this on display as I was about to leave the library and decided to pick it up. See @KatieScarlett94 was talking about it on twitter as she got it at SPX so I got curious. Today was a laundry day so I had some time to burn and decided to read it. Wow was that a good decision on my part as Girl in Dior is amazing, amazing I tell you! It’s about Clara who ends up getting into Christian Dior’s first fashion show to write about it in 1947. Then through events ends up becoming one of his models and what follows is one magical journey. It’s mesmerizing to read as Goetzinger uses the actual events surrounding Christian Dior and his company and talks about the history of it. Clara herself is fictional but she’s the guide to the amazing story. I saw Goetzinger’s art initially and fell in love as the art is drop dead gorgeous. Seriously if the art doesn’t at least get you curious, the story will end up hooking you. I’ve never followed fashion but with a story as good as this, you can’t help but get compelled.

What’s cool about this book is after you’re finished you have all the research Goetzinger did going into this. You can learn more about Christian Dior and his fashion after the fact. Not going to lie I am a little curious. Girl in Dior explores the personalities and process that goes into getting everything together. You see what 1947 was like in the fashion world and what a time of transition it was. That caught my eye as I wasn’t really familiar with that side of things. I like learning and that caught my attention. Clara herself as such a likable character gets you invested that much more in the world. Then you learn about Christian Dior and get an idea of what he was like, it’s really cool. I loved every moment of this comic and it is a read to get lost in. Between a lovely story and excellent art, you can’t help but feel time pass by as you read through Girl in Dior.

If you’re curious in getting it for yourself it is published by NBM Publishing and you can get it from Amazon, local comic store, Comixology, bookstores, and likely even your local library. Read it and see you what you think. I’m glad I got to read this and hope when you all out there read it you’ll enjoy it too.

Manga Adventures: 7 Billion Needles by Nobuaki Tadano

In my reading the thing I’m pickiest about is manga. I think it’s because it’s where I first started in my early stages before I got back fully into comics so when I find a manga I like I’m not hesitant at all to tell people I like it. I just finished reading 7 Billion Needles by Nobuaki Tadano and it’s inspired by book by Hal Clement called Needle. The best way to put this book to you is you have this anti-social school girl named Hikaru who gets this entity of sorts inside her through means I won’t totally spoil for you named Horizon. Now what Horizon is after is a being named Malestrom. Best way to put Malestrom is it likes to kill. Oh man does it like to kill. When it possesses the body of one student and there’s a few images in the book itself that gave me the creeps. When I read some parts I couldn’t help but say, “Holy s-word!” and just keep going.

The character that you follow being Hikaru and her dealings with Horizon are funny to behold. She just things initially it’s just interference with her Mp3 player but heh heh..she wishes. Tadano has this great art style that is one that appeals to me in a book. It’s a very natural style which I absolutely love. What I mean is that the style isn’t the typical manga style so to speak. It’s a very real sort of world to me in the aspect of seeing this brutality that is to come in this title. It can go from fun school aspects and be great in just showing that aspect to this detailed battle and brutality of this. There’s also a reason why the book is called 7 billion needles but I’ll let you all read the book to get the idea of what that means. It’s pretty under the radar too I had remembered reading about it somewhere on the web and I couldn’t tell you how I stumbled upon the first mention but something about it interested me. I was at the bookstore late last night and saw the one copy and grabbed it. It’s published by Vertical Inc. and I love that they released this sort of book. For it being hard sci-fi it’s also fantastically brutal and fascinating in concept all at the same time. I mean yes possessed kids by different entities of course but the thing is the way it’s handled and how it works out is great. The last couple chapters alone are a thrill ride mixed in with great storytelling.

One other thing to mention too with Hikaru is she is extremely anti-social at one point where Horizon wants to figure out where Malestrom is in the school and in turn Horizon has her *gasp* TALK TO PEOPLE! It freaks her all the hell out. There’s hints that there’s more to her anti-social behaviors than meets the eye though. The way they handle it as it goes through and all the people talking around her and she’s just standing alone in the beginning parts of the book sort of show that talking is not an easy thing and connecting is worse. I can understand that sort of thing and as I was reading it reminded myself of situations in my own right. She’s just standing alone generally perfectly content with her mp3 and headphones yet there’s everyone else just chatting along and hanging together. No one is mean to her or anything of that sort she just is preferring to be alone. I like that the book goes in that direction with that rather than have everyone be mean and all that stupidity. I find that hilariously cliche. I just wanted to add that note in there.

To sum this up for you all. Definitely get this book. It is well worth your time. Bonus? It’s only four books long though I get the feeling I’ll probably want more by the time it’s all done.