Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Vol. 1 by Philip K. Dick, Tony Parker

Rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Review: A graphic adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, the novel that served as an inspiration for the movie Blade Runner. However, I wouldn’t call it a graphic novel exactly; it feels more like an illustration in the style of a graphic novel. The difference is that there’s a lot more text that appears to be lifted exactly from the book (I didn’t check this, but it felt like everything was there, included the “He responded absently” after the dialog balloons). It’s a bit distracting.

This adaptation seems to be particularly directed at those who have seen and loved the movie but who aren’t aware of the original material. For me, having seen the movie and read the book, this adaptation didn’t bring anything new. The artwork is ok, but very straightforward – I was expecting something more experimental and daring. The cover gallery at the end, however, is gorgeous, and I fell in love with the Collector’s Paradise Exclusive by Scott Keating.

Overall, this is a nice read, but not unmissable if you’ve read the original novel.

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American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Review: I’m going to let you in on a secret, little friend. It’s easy to become anything you wish… So long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.

A beautifully drawn fable-like book about accepting who you are. Has a slower pace than a lot of other graphic novels, but it suits the story, and there are little moments of humor that keep everything interesting. Well worth the read.

Promethea Vol.1 by Alan Moore

Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Review: Sophie Bangs is a college student in a present-day New York in an universe where the world is completely dominated by science. There are flying cars and high tech buildings, cutting edge medical treatments, and fiction and myth are things of the past, relegated to academical studies. Sophie is interested in a mysterious character named Promethea, who keeps appearing at different and seemingly unrelated times in history. Soon, her research gets her closer to the physical embodiment of Promethea, and she discovers that she is the next person to channel the power of Imagination.

This was recommended to me by a friend who is usually spot on about books that I will like. Sure enough, I wasn’t disappointed. The exploration of imagination and dreams, communication and stories as the next stage in the evolution of the human beings, was extremely interesting. I loved the humor in his portrayal of modern society in all its absurdity. The artwork was fantastic as well, with the paneling artfully depicting the narrative and the “parallel” worlds.

Looking forward to the next installment of the series.

Madame Xanadu vol.1: Disenchanted by Matt Wagner

Rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Review: Lovely artwork from Amy Reeder Hadley. The story was interesting, but Madame Xanadu, as a character, fell a little short of my expectations. I felt that she had the potential to be a lot more interesting, not to mention likable. The Phantom Stranger was simply annoying and had a serious lack of communication skills, but then again, I’ve never been a fan of these brooding, mysterious character types. Still, the story was good and I enjoyed reading about how the story of Madame Xanadu (or Nimue) entangled with the stories of other DC characters, as well as with historical events such as the French revolution.

P.S. In the Marie Antoinette chapter, I was a little irked by the errors in the French sentences. “Le Madame”? “Les belle dames”? Hmm.

The Walking Dead Book One by Robert Kirkman

Rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Review: After all the hype surrounding this series, I came to it with my expectations maybe a bit too high. Post-apocalyptic stories about zombies have been done before, so I wasn’t expecting an incredibly original story, but I was hoping for some good character development and a solid storyline.

Did this book have it? Yes, though not as much as it could. The story starts a bit too suddenly and I had trouble getting into it at first. Also, I didn’t connect with any of the characters. The women were mostly pitiful and weak and the men all seemed to go crazy (there were a few exceptions, mostly with secondary characters though). I hate to think that in a disaster we’d all default to that – though to be fair I can’t say for sure we wouldn’t, at least for some people.

As a survival story, this is pretty accurate in that most of the time is spent looking for basic needs, like food and shelter. The story is fairly interesting, and it gets better in the second chapter, but I still think it has room to get better. I’ll be checking out the rest of the series, but I sincerely hope the characters grow up a little.

Psychiatric Tales by Darryl Cunningham

Rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Review: I got this book as a birthday gift from two dear friends of mine. We share many interests, and the workings of the human mind is one of them, so they figured this book would be a good match for me.

It’s a good premise. The author spent a few years working as a health care assistant in a psychiatric hospital and draws on his experiences to tell short stories about mental illnesses. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it as much I thought I would. I was hoping for an insightful look into this fascinating, often misunderstood world, but I felt that all the stories were superficial, with the exception of the author’s own tale (the last story in the book). Many of the “stories” didn’t even feel like stories at all, more like a textbook description with pictures accompanying it. I couldn’t understand the constant mention of how people need to be more open-minded and tolerant towards mental illness. What’s the point of saying that to a reader who is interested enough to try this book?

I can definitely see a heavy influence from Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood“, both in graphic qualities and narrative, but this book lacks the profoundity and poignance that “Persepolis” has. Moreover, sometimes I felt like the drawings didn’t even need to be there at all.

However, there were some positive points. The author’s story was powerfully told (made me wish that the rest of the book was like that) and some of the personal stories of the patients he mentions are genuinely strange and interesting.

This is an ok book, and it’s fairly interesting, but I do wish it dared to go deeper.

Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Review: The sixth and final installment of the Scott Pilgrim story feels quite a bit different from the rest of the volumes, in terms of the artwork, pacing, dialogues, and just the overall ambiance. It’s not that it’s bad – it just feels rather strange and a bit rushed.

Still, it’s a great ending for a great series. It’s a rather bittersweet coming of age for the all these 20-somethings, and a very honest, believable one at that. We get closure on most of the characters and relationships. Granted, a few of them don’t make a lot of sense, and there are a few motivations and situations that don’t really get an explanation (cryogenically frozen girlfriends?), and Gideon’s character wasn’t as evil or douchy as I thought he would be, but still, I liked how everyone understood things a bit better, even if they didn’t exactly change.

Sorry for being cryptic, but I don’t want to spoil all the surprises. 🙂

I wholeheartedly recommend this series! I loved the cat, and the memory cams. Also, some of the dialogues were spot on. A few examples:

– I don’t think I’m ready to be a grown-up.
– I don’t think you are either, buddy. But hey, you’ll get it. It just takes practice.

– You know, you’re right. Part of me does still belong to you. But the other parts of me… Are finished with you!