on 13 March 2004
This is a beautiful piece of work, a combination of story-telling in a traditional, graphic-novel format, interspersed with the three prose-written passages that to date, comprise the sum total of Harlan Ellison's short stories in the popular "A Boy and His Dog" cycle. Each of the three short stories ("Eggsucker," a prologue to the events chronicled in "A Boy and His Dog" and lastly, "Run Spot Run") is retold in comic-strip format, and vice versa, resulting in a highly comprehensive chronicle of events.
For any readers as yet unfamiliar with "A Boy and His Dog," these stories follow the nightmare-scenario exploits and adventures, in a post-apocalyptic world, of fifteen year old Vic, and his engagingly sarcastic, cynical and world-wearily wise canine mentor Blood, the telepathic Puli-Alsatian cross. As in most post-apocalyptic stories, Vic and Blood's tale is played out against a relentlessly brutal back-drop. The uniformly harrowing grim-ness of their situation - and of some of their actions - is only made bearable for the reader by the touching devotion that our two heroes show to one another. This, in a sense, could be said to be the whole point of the book.
This current (2003) edition, 'Vic and Blood: the Continuing Adventures of a Boy and His Dog,' represents, as far as I can tell, a fairly faithful reissue of an earlier collection (originally published in 1988-9) of exactly the same pictures and stories, one that was previously entitled 'Vic and Blood: The Chronicles of a Boy and His Dog.' In the 2003 book there are of course, as would be expected from any DVD-adapted culture, a number of add-ins; a new prologue by Harlan Ellison, for example, and also a number of additional panels on the sides of certain pages, which have written on them one-off quips and observations, entitled 'The Wit and Wisdom of Blood.' Some of these are very amusing but in general they work, in terms of convincingly being wit and wisdom (or not) to a greater or lesser degree.
On the whole the subtle difference in the title and in the cover illustrations between the two existing editions of this same book could unfortunately prove confusing - and very disappointing - for any unwary readers or Vic 'n Blood fans: the new book isn't really in any useful sense a continuation from the earlier one, nor does it add greatly to the story told in it. This one is undoubtedly an extremely attractively-presented piece, and a highly entertaining read, and as such it would be a very worthwhile addition - especially given the apparent scarcity of copies of the 1989 original - to anyone's collection. In this review, I feel in all good conscience that I do have to mention, as a final point, the dreadful cliff-hanger ending of 'Vic and Blood,' however. This has, all by itself, knocked my star-rating of this book from a 4 or 5 down to a three. It is one thing to leave fans queuing in the morning at a book-shop - online or otherwise - desperate to buy the following instalment of - whatever they've been reading - so they can find out what happens next. But when a hanger ending is perpetuated into a reprint edition, and it is left hanging for fifteen years and more - as is the case here - things have really gotten beyond a joke.
on 22 September 2013
I really enjoyed this book, it got me hungry for the story to continue and it bothers me that Ellison is likely to die before he finishes it. The original text versions and the comic versions are all included, so my biggest reservation is that, as good as they are, the comic versions feel a bit redundant, because there is nothing in there that Corben really adds to make it different or enhanced in any way. Corben did a story for Dream Corridor series too, even though I hadn't read the original text versions of those either, I imagined the Ellison texts were much better. I'd rather Ellison did completely new comic stories (I know he did some original DC and Marvel superhero stories) or gave the artists some material that they could bring something new to.
((The star rating represents how much I want you to buy this item and should not be taken as a measurement of artistic merit))