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Peter J. Gasston (London)

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by Adrian Tomine
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars His most mature work so far, 27 Sep 2010
This review is from: Shortcomings (Hardcover)
I've read Summer Blonde and Sleepwalk and enjoyed them both, but found them to be a little too Emo in some places. This is Tomine's first full-length work, and I found it to be much more mature and human than his earlier work; this may be because he has more room to create characters.

The main character, Ben, like many of his other creations, is actually quite unlikeable and self-obsessed; nevertheless he is a well-drawn protagonist and you want to read more about him.

The art is very expressive; the look on Ben's face in one page made me laugh out loud. Everyone looks different so there's no problem following the characters, but as an earlier review pointed out there are occasions where character's races are perhaps not quite as clearly delineated as they should be, which did cause confusion at one point.

That aside, I really enjoyed this. It's a book for adults, and one that people of either gender and any race (in Western culture) should identify with.

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea
Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea
by Guy Delisle
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting story, an okay comic, 27 Sep 2010
The story of Guy DeLisle's trip to Pyongyang is really interesting considering he spends most of his time in the office or a hotel; he manages to communicate the atmosphere of the culture of the dictatorship in North Korea really well, and provides an insight into the country that few others have managed.

The art is simple and cartoony for the most part and detailed where required. There's nothing really dynamic or fresh in his approach, it's simply bunch of stories related in a straightforward manner.

I've seen his work compared to Joe Sacco but I don't really see it in this book; Sacco's strength is in getting close to people, where DeLisle isn't given the opportunity in Pyongyang.

Still a fascinating book and one that I'd recommend.

SanDisk SDSDQM-032G-B35 32GB Class 4 microSDHC Memory Card (Label May Change)
SanDisk SDSDQM-032G-B35 32GB Class 4 microSDHC Memory Card (Label May Change)
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Price: 14.32

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only a Class 2, but does the job, 27 Sep 2010
It was only when I opened the packaging and saw this card that I realised it's a Class 2 (the Class is a measure of the transfer rate of a memory card, and 2 is the lowest). I was a bit concerned that it would slow down my phone - I have a Samsung Galaxy S - but I needn't have been worried; transfer speed seems perfectly fine, and I haven't noticed any slowdown at all, even when recording and playing HD video. That being the case, I'm perfectly satisfied with this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 3, 2012 5:42 PM BST

The Fixer and Other Stories
The Fixer and Other Stories
by Joe Sacco
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An essential companion to Palestine and Safe Area: Gorazde, 21 Jun 2010
If you've read Joe Sacco's other works of reportage, Palestine and Safe Area: Gorazde, you'll know what to expect from this; tales of humanity in war zones, told with a light touch without sparing the gruesome details.

If you haven't read those books, I suggest you read them first and this after.

This book is a collection of miscellaneous material, with one 'novella' length story - The Fixer - and a few shorter. The titular story is about the man who helped the author make contacts and find stories when he was in the former Yugoslavia, and raises questions about his own story, without ever losing sight of him as a person.

I debated whether to give this four stars or five, but settled on four only because the authors other reportage books are stone-cold fives, and this is not quite as complete. But if you enjoyed those, you'll love this just as much.

Notwithstanding: Stories from an English Village
Notwithstanding: Stories from an English Village
by Louis de Bernieres
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative, but not nostalgic, 21 Jun 2010
This is a book of short stories, written across many years, but telling a unified story about a single theme. The theme is the English countryside; more specifically, the countryside of the South of England, where the author grew up. It tells of a way of life that largely no longer exists, but without ever really slipping into nostalgia or a lamentation of a better time.

Anyone who's read the author's previous books will be familiar with the way he can evoke emotion without being sentimental, and some of the stories in this book are tremendously sad; 'The Happy Death of the General' is told in a humorous and upbeat manner, but left me in tears.

It's quite a short book and can be finished quickly, but I'd recommend it for the overall quality of the storytelling.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (Millennium Trilogy Book 3)
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (Millennium Trilogy Book 3)
by Stieg Larsson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's good news and bad news, 26 April 2010
The good news is, that this is *much* better than the second book in the series (which has a plot so ridiculous that the characters in the third book constantly make reference to how unbelievable it is).

The bad news is, you will have to read the second book before this one, because the story takes place immediately after that book and there are no concessions made to the new reader.

This is longer than both previous books, but doesn't feel too slack - although there are a couple of side-stories that have no bearing on the main story, which could perhaps have been dropped without anyone realising. The story moves along at a good pace (in the main) and always keeps you interested in what's going to happen next.

I suppose my main gripe is that there's very little feeling of peril; the protagonists are constantly one step ahead of their opposition, and it moves towards the climax with little in the way of genuine surprise.

Still, it completes the trilogy well (and leaves a few dangling clues for further books in the series, should the publishers decide to get someone else to write them).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 2, 2013 4:04 PM GMT

by Joe Sacco
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.34

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb work of reportage, 10 April 2010
This review is from: Palestine (Paperback)
This is among the best pieces of reportage I have ever read in any medium. Approaching the subject in comics allows the author to make the characters vivid and real in a way that prose never could, and to show himself among the subjects without seeming egotistical.

The book really highlights the humanity of its subjects, showing them as people instead of victims. The stories are sometimes funny and sometimes tragic. The art isn't beautiful, but captures characters in a way that reminds me somewhat of Robert Crumb, while the environment is displayed realistically and believably.

I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Chew Volume 1: Tasters Choice
Chew Volume 1: Tasters Choice
by John Layman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.80

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little too absurd for my taste, 19 Jan 2010
An extremely high-concept series which has some great moments (the double-page spread in the first chapter was a highlight) but slips too far across the line into absurdity for me to continue with it.

The writing is snappy and the art dynamic, but the plot and situations ended up running away from me.

Not for everyone, but I'm sure plenty will enjoy it.

Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991: The Complete Black-and-white Stories: 1987-1991
Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991: The Complete Black-and-white Stories: 1987-1991
by Scott McCloud
Edition: Paperback
Price: 14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A steady progression towards excellence, 18 Nov 2009
Zot! was created when McCloud was still young and learning his craft, and it shows; the book is really one of two halves. The first, set mostly on Zot's world, is a mostly light-hearted sci-fi romp, and although McCloud's understanding of the comics form is evident, the art is often sketchy and rushed. To be honest, it's not that interesting.

The second half of the book is set in our earth, and Zot becomes a secondary character for much of it; it's a series of portraits of the supporting cast, and a lot more involving. Although the author himself says he can see his art getting stiffer, his layouts and timing improve immeasurably; even if the stories don't always engage you (and there's no reason they shouldn't), the way they are told is fantastic.

The book has plenty of annotations from the author, and it's easy to see the work improving as he discusses his idea for Understanding Comics take form.

I recommend this book, but you may have to push yourself through the earlier chapters to get to the really good stuff.

Black Summer
Black Summer
by Juan Jose Ryp
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.03

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Never mind the politics, here's the seven guns, 2 Sep 2009
This review is from: Black Summer (Paperback)
At the core of this book are political & moral issues, but for most of the time they take a back seat to big explosions and gunplay.

Juan Jose Ryp's artwork is spectacularly detailed (if a little stiff for my taste); comparisons to Geoff Darrow aren't far off the mark.

Ellis' story raises some interesting issues but only hints at personalities for many of the characters; I wouldn't have minded seeing some of the double-page explosions trimmed to allow a little more characterisation.

This isn't by any means classic Ellis, but it's a decent enough read and zips by pretty quickly.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 13, 2009 11:40 AM BST

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