Midwest Book Review July 2009

by Jeff

MidwestBookReview Midwest Book Review July 2009

Midwest Book Review

July 2009

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

The Midwest Book Review is an organization of volunteers committed to promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing. We accept no funds from authors or publishers.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

JAN094262H Midwest Book Review July 2009
The Beats: A Graphic History
Harvey Pekar, et.al., Edited by Paul Bohle
Hill and Wang
c/o Farrar, Straus, Giroux
18 West 18th St, New York NY 10011
0809094967, $22.00 www.fsgbooks.com

Comic legend Harvey Pekar and a host of comic artists contribute to THE BEATS, a fine graphic history of the Beat movement that began among a small circle of friends and grew to a literary movement that sparked change and controversy. The graphic novel format offers a lively black and white survey perfect for any general-interest or literary library.

Comic legend Harvey Pekar, his collaborator Ed Piskor, and a number of other comic writers and artists have created a fine survey of the Beat generation and its experiences, offering an anthology of graphic illustrations in black and white that survey the Beat Generation’s heroes, antics, and sentiments. An outstanding graphic survey blends history, culture and biography in a graphic account recommended for any general lending library.

JUN084280H Midwest Book Review July 2009
The Collected Jack Kirby Collection V. 6
Jack Kirby
TwoMorrows Publishing
10407 Bedfordtown Dr, Raleigh, NC 27614
1605490032, $29.95 www.twomorrows.com

Jack Kirby continues to forge his name as comics’ finest creator and this sixth paperback reprints issues 23-26 of THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR, a magazine covering his entire life and career. Having this in paperback places these issue’s contents under one handy cover in black and white, including its rare interviews with Kirby himself, and is a ‘must’ for any comic or graphic novel collection; particularly those tracking the genre’s history.

MAR094481E Midwest Book Review July 2009
Gestalt Volume 1
Yun Kouga
Viz Communications Inc.
295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
9781421526904 $8.99 www.viz.com 1-800-394-3042

Presented in unflipped format (read right-to-left, just as the author originally drew it), Gestalt Volume 1 is a black-and-white manga (Japanese graphic novel) that takes a sharp twist on the usual fantasy- adventure saga! Father Olivier is a peaceful cleric undergoing a crisis of faith – all his life he has been taught that a terrible banished demon god whose name cannot be spoken (he is known only as “G”) is the embodiment of evil – but is this really true? Could the legends about G be a distorted story as told by the victors of the conflict? Olivier befriends Ouri, a young girl from the south who cannot speak. But she is anything other than demure – her violent side is a superhuman entity that considers clashing with others of her kind a fantastic game, regardless of the fallout to surrounding humans or their cities! The dark elf Suzu has been sent to stop Olivier; when she catches up to him, does she (or Olivier) have a prayer of weathering Ouri’s wild side? An exciting wild journey begins, in this action-packed story where for once, it is the male member of the adventuring party who is a soft-spoken priest! Recommended for older teen readers due to some violence (and very skimpy clothing).

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The Saturday Evening Pearls
Stephan Pastis
Andrews McMeel
1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106
0740773917, $10.99 www.andrewsmcmeel.com

This eighth collection of Pearls Before Swine comic strips deserves ongoing recommendation as an outstanding survey for both new and old fans of the Pearls syndicated comic strip. Black and white strips offer a ribald collection of outrageously funny encounters between hungry crocodiles, edible zebra neighbors, and more in a zany suburban setting. Any library with humor cartoon strips needs this.

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Science Fiction Classics: Graphic Classics #17
Jules Verne, et al.
Eureka Productions
8778 Oak Grove Rd, Mount Horeb, WI 59572
9780978791971, $17.95, 1-608-832-6449

Science fiction has long been a staple of American popular culture from the days of pulp magazine, through motion pictures and television, and most pervasively, through books and comics. The newest addition to the impressive Eureka Production series of graphic novel adaptations of the world’s great literature, Volume 17 showcases science fiction stories by Jules Verne, Stanley G. Weinbaum, E. M. Forster, and H. G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, Lord Dunsany, and Hans Christian Anderson. Each featured story is uniquely illustrated by a different artist. The result is a compendium of great graphic novel style adaptions that do full justice to the original authors and their seminal works. Graphic novel enthusiasts, as well as school and community librarians, would be well advised to visit the Eureka Productions website at www.graphicclassics.com for a complete listing of their Graphic Classics series.

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Underground Classics
James Danky & Denis Kitchen
Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
115 W. 18th St., 6th fl, NY, NY 10011
9780810905986, $29.95, www.amazon.com

Modern comics have their origin in the newspaper illustrated cartoon strips of the late 19th century and evolved into ‘comic books’ in the late 1920s, becoming an indispensable part of American popular culture in the 1930s with the introduction of ‘Super Hero’ characters beginning with Superman and Batman. Comics then began to proliferate at a rapid pace in all the literary genres from Romance, to Westerns, to Crime and Horror. Viewed on as an inferior form of literature that was capable of ‘corrupting young minds’, attempts to suppress and regulate comic books through the imposition of a comic book code drove a number of innovative and iconoclastic comic book artists ‘under ground’. That’s when comics became ‘comix’ and had its own ‘Golden Age’ in the counter-culture communities of the 1960s and 1970s with such icons as Robert Crumb who work is still considered influential today. In “Underground Classics: The Transformation Of Comics Into Comix” is the collaborative effort of academician James Danky (School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin – Madison) and cartoonist, and publisher Denis Kitchen who has personally worked with every important comix artist the heyday of the underground comics movement. Profusely illustrated throughout, “Underground Classics” is an informed and informative historical overview that is very highly recommended reading for all comic book enthusiasts with an interest in the history of this truly distinctive yet immensely diverse American art form.


The Midwest Book Review is an organization of volunteers committed to promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing. We accept no funds from authors or publishers. Full permission is given to post any of these reviews on thematically appropriate websites, newsgroups, listserves, internet discussion groups, organizational newsletters, or to interested individuals. Please give the Midwest Book Review a credit line when doing so.

The Midwest Book Review publishes the monthly book review magazines “California Bookwatch”, “Internet Bookwatch”, “Children’s Bookwatch”, “MBR Bookwatch”, “Reviewer’s Bookwatch”, and “Small Press Bookwatch”. All are available for free on the Midwest Book Review website at www (dot) midwestbookreview (dot) com

Anyone wanting to submit books for review consideration can send them to:

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129

To submit reviews of any fiction or non-fiction books, email them to Frugalmuse (at) aol (dot) com (Be sure to include the book title, author, publisher, publisher address, publisher website/phone number, 13-digit ISBN number, and list price).

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review

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