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April 10, 2013 / schulerbooks

April Graphic Novels – Take Two!


Did you enjoy our last post about great graphic novels arriving at Schuler Books and Music recently? Well, there’s still more illustrated goodness out there! This time, we’ll look at exciting stuff coming from the independents, as well as from DC’s Vertigo imprint.

Hot off the presses is the latest installment of Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Nemo: Heart of Ice. It’s 1925, and, a decade and a half after taking control of Captain Nemo’s dread legacy, his daughter Janni — last seen in Century:1910 — is finding the role rather heavy and tiring. So she decides to try and outdo her late father by taking up his unfinished exploration of the strange, Antarctic regions. But the dangerous forces she disturbed on her last bit of piracy are out to get revenge.

And if they don’t kill her, the otherworldly things that lurk out the South Pole just might…

As always, the team of Moore and O’Neill provide an adventurous feast for the eyes and the mind. Those who enjoy Moore’s deft manipulation of overlapping fictions will find this a satisfying read, and have quite the jolly time spotting literary references. And those who’ve been wondering what the author would make of all the various spooky goings-on at that particular locale will find it intriguing, to say the least.

9781781080993Another recent treat from the independents comes to us direct from Mega-City One! Just in time for the DVD release of the skull-smashingly good Judge Dredd, the scribe-droids from the galaxy’s greatest magazine, 2000 AD, have released a now-classic story from the vaults of the Justice Department.

And it is no less than the story, itself: the definitive origin story of, well… everything.

A mysterious package is dropped off at the Grand Hall of Justice — a simple Mutant-tinged message containing a strange ultimatum that the Judges cannot ignore. Answering that call requires Judge Dredd to take a search party into the Cursed Earth in search of a secret. And, as their mission goes more than a little askew, Dredd finds himself compelled to tell the truth about a number of unsettling subjects, most notably the truth about the fabled Chief Judge Fargo.

But to tell the story of that great man, Dredd also has to tell his own story, for the two are quite inseparable. And that means talking about the creation of the Mega Cities, the rise of the Judges, the Apocalypse War, the last American President, and everything that’s followed after.

Will this unsettling knowledge help Dredd’s fellow Judges in their quest to discover another, even more unsettling truth? Or are they doomed to take their hard-earned knowledge with them to a dusty grave in the Cursed Earth?

This story has been a long time coming, so it’s only fitting that Judge Dredd: Origins is primarily told by two of Dredd’s oldest chronicler/creators: John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra. Fans of the series’ unique blend of brutal sci-fi action, dark comedy, and wry social commentary will doubtless be thrill-powered for decades by this stunning event.

(In fact, failure to possess this work of art carries a five-year iso-cube sentence, Citizen!)

Meanwhile, over at the darker corner of DC Comics, the Vertigo imprint continues to deliver sophisticated stories of suspense, horror, 9781401235499and imagination. One title that’s stood out quite a bit is Saucer Country, where the first Hispanic woman to run for the Presidency of the United States of America might also be the first President to have been kidnapped by aliens…

… or is she? Did it happen it all, or is something else playing her behind the scenes? Is she the only one this has happened to, or have other successful politicians been abducted as well? And if so, what’s the ET’s angle in American politics?

Whatever the truth is, Arcadia Alvarado won’t stop searching for it. But while her staff goes digging for the truth, something else starts digging back. And the man she’s turned to for answers to her confusion is dealing with quite a bit of his own — in fact, if he’s not being contacted by aliens, himself, then he might just be going insane…

Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly deliver a taut and fiercely-imagined blend of post-Roswell conspiracy theories, American politics, sci-fi paranoia, and strange mystery. Launched during the 2012 elections, Saucer Country couldn’t have been a more timely a title, and the first volume, Run, is currently available. It should be snapped up before the Greys try and make you forget you saw it.

9781401237639Another amazing release is The New Deadwardians — an alternate history set in Edwardian England, some years after the zombie wars. Much of the country’s upper class took “the cure” (vampirism) in order to defeat the ravening hordes of the undead, and this has left them bloodless, joyless, and barely able to enjoy their now-eternal life. But they maintain a stiff upper lip, and do their best to hide their fangs in public, keep up appearances, and avoid turning into monsters.

So when a murder takes place in a world where hardly anyone dies, anymore, an intrepid and well-meaning police detective must seek out what’s happened. Finding the answer will take him into the company of higher vampires and lesser humans, and into the wastelands where the hungry dead still hold sway. But will the truth help him become more human, or rip their staid world apart?

Written by prolific scribe Dan Abnett, and illustrated by horror-star I.N.J. Culbard, this title could best be described as Downton Abbey mixed with 28 Weeks Later, with more than a little Anno Dracula thrown in. And if all that sounds like an unappetizing mess, then I challenge you to just nick the surface of this novel with your teeth, just to see.

I can almost guarantee you’ll slurp it right down in one go.

And that’s all for this month, but there’s always new graphic novels coming our way. So if you love this form of storytelling, or are curious about what’s become of the four-color funnybooks, be sure to stop by any of our locations and get a recommendation for something new and interesting.

– Jim Tremlett, Eastwood


One Comment

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  1. Lesa Memmott / Apr 29 2013 2:16 am

    Thanks for an informative few minutes on the subject of graphic novels and comic books. As more films are adapted in the comics and graphic novel formats, you would think that there could be greater appreciation for the medium. Sadly the public still sees superheroes because the only genre transferred from comics and still dismiss the medium as kids stuff. By the way, I like the title, it got me here so it was successful.

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