Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Storming Heaven and Box Office Poison

Here's how this works: I finish reading something, and I tell you about it, and I try not to bore you to death.

This is a collection of most of Frazer Irving's work for 2000 AD, including one Shaun of the Dead strip which actually appeared in a promotional comic. Not included are the long form stuff which has already been compiled, such as Necronauts, or the guest contributions to ongoing series. What is included certainly looks brilliant but is occasionally frustrating to read. John Smith's A Love Like Blood and Gordon Rennie's Storming Heaven are both too short to do justice to their high-concept plots, and oddly it's relative newcomer Simon Spurrier whose 30-page From Grace comes off best in this book, a fascinating little study of real evil borne of circumstance which reminded me of Gregory Maguire's Wicked, oddly enough. Recommended with reservations.

It took me forever, and a deeply discounted copy of Tricked, to try Alex Robinson. I should have sampled him earlier. He has a brilliant ear for dialogue, and in Box Office Poison, his first long-form story, he creates several incredibly vibrant, wonderful characters. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen to them. The story is quite sprawling at 600 pages, but generally it is about a number of post-graduates slowly making their way through life in New York City... one of them, Ed, takes a job assisting an aging cartoonist from comics' Golden Age who has been shafted by the company where he created a lucrative comic and film franchise. Is there a way for the old-timer to get the justice he deserves? This is threaded through a number of equally strong plots about noisy neighbors, ice skating, nowhere jobs, and I realize that sounds a little banal, but it's done with such style and such wonderful characters that you can't put this book down. Highly recommended.

(Originally posted March 11, 2008 at hipsterdad's LJ.)

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