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Black Cherry [Paperback]

Doug Tennapel
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

31 July 2007
Down-on-his-luck Mafioso, Eddie Paretti is so desperate for cash he's agreed to steal a dead body from his own mob boss! Things only get worse when he discovers the body isn't human! With few options and fewer people he can trust, Eddie calls on the man who raised him, Father McHugh. The priest tells Eddie that the body was stolen from his monastery by the Mafia. Father McHugh is accompanied by a beautiful woman Eddie swears looks just like a stripper he once fell in love with named Black Cherry.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Image Comics (31 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582408300
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582408309
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 16.8 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,417,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Gangsters, Aliens and Demons 8 Sep 2007
By S. Bentley VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Black Cherry is a stripper that a gangster is in love with. But she goes missing. The gangster is asked to retrieve a body from his boss and it turns out to be an alien wanted by demons because of its immense power.

It's Doug Tennapel, so what you get is a strong cartoon style inked with a heavy brush, and a story that deals with religious themes with good humour.

I'm not religious but I didn't feel that Tennapel was trying to convert me. Religion is a part of the story not part of a diatribe and so it feels very natural. It's a love story, it's science fiction, it's horror.

As usual with Tennapel, it's great.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spontaneous, inventive sci-fi for older audiences 26 Aug 2007
By Tyler Sticka - Published on Amazon.com
Black Cherry is a romp; I know this is a really cop-out, obvious thing to say about nearly all of Mr. TenNapel's graphic novels, but this one particularly so. I've always appreciated his General Audiences titles for the fact that any restraint is imperceptible, and perhaps his ability to realize when a story actually doesn't need vulgarity explains his ability to tell a story that requires it with the same amount of purpose.

The story, dialogue and characters are harsh, yes, but not needlessly so. The spontaneous, daring brush style (present in most of his work but particularly so here) almost seems like its extending that sort of verbal and thematic aesthetic. The obscenities strengthen the overall message of the story by providing a believable context for the themes of salvation that permeates the overall arch of the book.

That doesn't mean I don't have any complaints. The cover, while engaging in a fun throwback to EC-era horror comic book covers, is somewhat neutered by the static focal point; such an over-the-top treatment of typography really calls for a much more dramatic cover illustration, instead of such a neutral one that really communicates no feeling found within the book itself save the grungy brush line. TenNapel exhibits fluid, compelling visuals more times than I can count within the book itself, and I just don't think an image of Eddie standing awkwardly like a marionette accurately reflects the book's content.

Additionally, parts of the story might seem awfully familiar to regular readers of Doug's work. Echoes of all of Doug's graphic novels seem to leak into this book, particularly from "Creature Tech"; the rebellious youth defies his pastor father and ultimately regains faith through a climactic struggle involving aliens and/or the supernatural. While the theme of faith itself isn't tired (as Doug himself would attest, it may very well be the opposite, particularly in science fiction stories) the execution is a bit hungry for a fresh spin.

Despite these admittedly minor complaints, the end product is an extremely gratifying read that I'd recommend to any of my 18+ friends, and arguably his best since Creature Tech. The art is fantastic, especially the use of spontaneous brush lines and dramatic lighting. The story is exciting enough to keep you flipping pages continuously while entertaining enough that it made me laugh out loud on a few different occasions (the bread-and-wine scene in the car especially). Really, really great, and even better having had the opportunity to pick it up directly from the man himself at this year's Comic-Con.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 28 July 2007
By CP - Published on Amazon.com
Sex. Violence. Mafia. Guns. Lust. God. Naked chicks. Cussing.
Which of these doesn't belong? In the view of most other creative types, it would be God. And that's what makes Doug TenNapel different than any other writer around today. While some criticize Doug's insertion of a decidedly Judeo Christian God into his works of fiction, I find it the most compelling element to his work. After all, long gone are the days where artists invited God into their art. Now the god stuff is left to propagandists, while the artists skirt the issue in any manner of disingenuous ways. As such, some of our most talented filmmakers (read: everyone but Mel Gibson) treat God as an ex porn star. Sure he's hot, but can anyone risk headlining him in his or her act, after all, who wants to offend. Never mind the fact that, as Doug states in his forward to the book, 80% of Americans profess to be Christian, and 90% believe in God, the higher ups still manage to believe God is damaged goods, box office be damned. There are few who see the folly in this belief, and fewer still that have the talent to do anything about it.
Thank God for Doug.
Black Cherry is the best kind of book, because a bold and fearless author stands behind it. It will offend, it will perturb, it will jar, but it will never insult because its characters are true, and real, and messy, just like you and me. So, if you've got a sense of humor, if you're a romantic, if you're an action guy, a Sopranos Fan, a fan of pulp, or have ever stepped foot inside a strip bar, or have wanted to, this book it for you. It's full of pulp, and violence, but it still manages a heart that you'll recognize as distinctly TenNapel. Its characters are lovably flawed and truly drawn. Its plot is like nothing you've ever experienced, a mishmash of so many seemingly incongruous genres that you have to tip your hat to Doug purely for his courage and his one of a kind voice.
I won't recap plot, you can read that above, but I can promise that this is some of TenNapel's best work, and like all his best stuff, it reads like a film more than a comic. His talent for capturing kinetic motion plays out in some memorable fight scenes (not since Indiana Jones has a hero been so severely beaten and abused.) The dialogue is the biggest departure for TenNapel, but you still get the great zingers he seems to relish so much. As to the faith, it's ironic that first R rated piece just happens to be his most fully realized in terms of explorations of sin, faith and redemption.
Reading Doug's books, you can't help but feel you know the guy. His characters are so open, honest and raw you can't help but feel you've been invited into his living room as he playfully spins his inventive yarns. Reading Black Cherry is a little more like meeting up with him at a bar. His story is a little more crass, revealing corners of his personality heretofore unseen, and the laughs come easy.
Let me close with this. Christians who are easily offended, stay away. This will crush your pious sensibilities. Christians who aren't afraid of an f-bomb and a set of D breasts here and there, this story will rock your world and deepen your understanding of who exactly god came to save.
For the rest of you, I don't blame you for pissing all over most Christian artists; most don't deserve your hard earned buck. But if you deny this piece because it's got God in it, then you're missing out on a one of a kind voice and that's a shame.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riotous, Rollicking, Fabulous, Spiritual TENNAPEL-NESS! 2 Aug 2007
By Mir - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
He has done it again. Doug TenNapel has taken an assortment of elements/genres--gangster, romance, sci-fi, horror, action, comedy, spiritual warfare--and made it all work together. The description on the cover says, "A lurid tale of sex, violence, and the supernatural." Yup. And funny as heck. They forgot that part. And moving. Forgot that, too. And full of mercy for the outcast, the prodigal, the misfit, and the...alien. Not to mention squirrels.

I can't offer much by way of summary without giving away some fun plot points and twists. I know you'd much rather learn those on your own the old-fashioned way (by reading it), so here it is: Bad guy Eddie Paretti, who's fallen in love with a stripper named Black Cherry, finds that 1. his girl is gone from the strip place and 2. he's made a deal to steal a body from his own mob boss in order to get money to pay off his debts and 3. that body is not what he expects.

Stealing that body is about to get Eddie in a big, big fix, and it's going to save him, too, in all sorts of ways.

The cast includes some staples of sci-fi/crime fiction/spiritual warfare/horror: demons, angels, bad guys, good guys, a priest, an alien, the hot chick, the wise-cracking protagonist, the cool pal, and car chases.

But TenNapel has a way of taking traditional elements and doing something wacky, funny, moving, and new with them, and always with some spiritual insights. What he does with one particular, er, sacrament is to die for.

I love D.G. and I couldn't put down BLACK CHERRY.

This gets a big thumbs up for graphicky novel goodness. Or is that badness?

And yeah, if you're easily offended by cussing and sexual talk, then this is not the work for you. But, as TenNapel says in his preface, "Criminals don't talk like they are trying to keep from offending soccer moms."

One quibble: The ending needed a little more space. At least another couple of pages to fill out some blanks. But, really, that's all I found wanting.

Hurry up with the next one, Doug. Your graphic novels are each a delicious, demented delight.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Mr. Tennapel. 30 July 2007
By Ben O. - Published on Amazon.com
Black Cherry is definitely one of Tennapel's most mature to date. Not only in subject matter, which gets a hard R rating, but also in his blending of themes within the subject matter. He's managed to create a a hard nosed noir story, blended it with horror, all the while telling a a great story about faith and redemption. This is also his funniest book to date.

The art isn't as polished as some of his previous works. The style is a little rougher, keeping in tone with the darkness of the story perfectly.

I think the biggest compliment I can give is that if I walked into the comic store, saw Doug's name on the cover, and had no idea what the book was about, I would buy it sight unseen, because his name carries a very high standard for storytelling and art.

For anybody who appreciates the graphic novel medium, this, along with all his other books, is a Must Own.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for visual storytellers. 7 Dec 2010
By Joshua Graham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I honestly think that the genius of this work starts even before the story does, in the forward where Doug's simple, matter-of-fact rebuttal to content-critics provides a roadmap to other authors and artists who struggle with the same issues raised by the content of Black Cherry. There's a difference between obscenity and reality, and there's something strikingly, perhaps even dangerously untrue about media that tries to show us a sanitized version of the underbelly of society. Eddie's world is not one most of us would be comfortable in, but for all its demon-possessed mobsters and the monster cars that eat them, it feels more real than worlds where criminals talk -- as Tennapel put it -- like they're afraid of offending soccer moms.

All that aside, it's the story that really shines, and I wouldn't be doing you any favors by spoiling it. Check out Black Cherry with an open mind, and you won't be disappointed.
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