Midwest Book Review November 2008

by Jeff
MidwestBookReview Midwest Book Review November 2008

Midwest Book Review

November 2008

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.


Inukami! Volume 1
Mamizu Arisawa, author
Mari Matsuzawa, artist
Seven Seas
c/o Tor Books
1403 Flatiron Building, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765321466, $9.99 www (dot) tor-forge (dot) com 1-888-330-8477

Volume one of Inukami! is the debut graphic novel of a new manga (Japanese comic) series about the unique relationship between a boy and a powerful spirit. Though their names would suggest a canine connection, the only visibly doglike aspect of inukami spirits is their bushy tails. Young Keita Kawahira is the scion of a long family line with a tradition of partnering with inukami to fight against evil spirits. But Keita’s selfish personality repulses all available inukami except one – Yoko, an equally selfish outcast among her own kind, isolated for most of her young life, who sees this supposed “partnership” as a golden opportunity to escape and explore the human world! It’s a raucous clash of personalities as boy and girl-dog- spirit vie for dominance, but in the process, could it be that they just might learn to respect and care for one another? (Perhaps, but not before she takes many an opportunity to punish Keita for real or perceived infractions by stealing his clothes!) The relationship gets further confused when another inukami comes to temporarily serve Keita, ostensibly to teach Yoko basic housekeeping skills, but unwittingly sparking her jealous ire! An action-packed comedy, recommended for older teens and adults (age 16 and up) due to raunchy humor and mature themes, Inukami! is great fun to read from cover to cover. Highly recommended.

The Lindbergh Child
Rick Greary
ComicsLit
c/o NBM Publishing
40 Exchange Pl., Ste., 1308, New York, NY 10005
9781561635290, $15.95, www (dot) nbmpublishing (dot) com

There can often be a dark side to fame. “The Lindbergh Child: America’s Hero and the Crime of the Century” tells of the fateful tragedy of the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s baby. Lindbergh is famous in the annals of aviation history for being the first man to fly across the Atlantic in an airplane. “The Lindbergh Child” tells the entire story from the kidnapping to the following investigation to the tragic conclusion in the form of a highly accessible graphic novel. “The Lindbergh Child” is a uniquely entertaining way to learn history and highly recommended. for personal, school, and community library American History collections.

Rosario + Vampire, Volume 1
Akihisa Ikeda
Viz Communications Inc.
295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
9781421519036, $7.99 www (dot) viz (dot) com 1-800-394-3042

Part of Viz’s “Shonen Jump Advanced” series collecting popular, action- packed manga (Japanese comic) stories, volume one of Rosario + Vampire is the brainchild of unabashed monster fan Akihisa Ikeda, and it shows! Ordinary fifteen-year-old boy Tsukune Aono is average at everything, exceptional at nothing, and his straight C grades combined with horrible test performance have denied him the chance to continue his schooling. In a stroke of “luck”, he comes across the one high school that will take students without rigorous examinations; it’s Yokai Academy, where every student is a monster in human disguise, studying how to peacefully blend into the human world! The first Yokai Academy student Tsukune meets it the beautiful and friendly vampire Moka, who finds his human blood simply irresistible. Moka is usually gentle and charming, but only because her full vampire powers are held in check by the rosario around her throat; when it’s removed, the terrifying alternate personality of her vampire self emerges! Survival is a haphazard endeavor at best for Tsukune, as he must evade the machinations of his monstrous classmates – the beastly boys are jealous of his close relationship with the attractive Moka, while some of the fiendish girls want him for themselves. Moka’s ruthless vampire personality has the power to defend Tsukune in (im)mortal combat, but at what price? More humor than horror, Rosario + Vampire is a howling good read cover to cover, enthusiastically recommended for monster fans everywhere. Rosario + Vampire is unflipped (it’s read right-to- left, just as it was originally drawn), and rated T+ for older teen due to violence and the occasional panty shot.

From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books
Arie Kaplan
Jewish Publication Society
2199 Arch Street, 2nd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103
9780827608436, $25.00 www (dot) jewishpub (dot) org

Since their first appearance in the 1930s comic books have influenced American ideas of heroism and action: FROM KRAKOW TO KRYPTON reveals the Jewish subtexts of these stories and considers the influence of Jews on not just the comic world but upon American culture as a whole. It’s a top pick for both Judaic studies collections and any collection strong in comic book history, holding interviews with Art Spiegelman, Al Jaffee and more and offering an analysis of both the Jewish people behind comics and the contents themselves.

The Flash Companion
TwoMorrows Publishing
10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614
www (dot) twomorrows (dot) com

If you’re a Flash comics fan, you must have Keith Dallas’s THE FLASH COMPANION (1893905985, $26.95); it’s packed with interviews and articles about the Flash creators through the decades of Flash creations, and presents a fine history of all the artists as well as previously-unpublished scenes. Black and white comics throughout illustrate behind-the-scenes coverage perfect for any comprehensive cartoon, comic or graphic novel library, and for many a general- interest collection. Jack Kirby’s CHECKLIST: GOLD EDITION (1605490059, $14.95) is the most thorough listing of Jack Kirby’s work compiled and is fully updated into a definitive ‘Gold Edition’ with a decade’s worth of corrections and additions by top historians, in a new trade paperwork format. It lists every published comic featuring Kirby’s work, includes dates, page counts, and even inkers — and even cross- references reprints. George Khoury and Eric Nolen-Weathington’s MODERN MASTERS V. 18: JOHN ROMITA JR (1893905950, $14.95) covers Marvel Comics winner John Romita Jr, who grew his art from teenage years to a thirty-year career with Marvel. His powerful action in Spider-Man, X- Men, and more covered some of Marvel’s most famous characters and comics: here interviews and black and white comics offer superb, invaluable insights for any fan of Romita or Marvel’s works. Glen Cadigan’s TITANS COMPANION 2 (189390587X, $26.95) picks up where its predecessor left off, covering all the Teen Titans from the mid-1990s through their comeback. Add interviews with solo Titans writers, black and white trips and more and you have a companion to Volume 1 that makes the pair a top pick. Highly recommended for specialty collector’s libraries.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

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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