REVIEWS: Midwest Book Review December 2007

by Jeff

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.

21NyHTfra6L REVIEWS: Midwest Book Review December 2007

Neil Gaiman, Roger Avary, Chris Ryhall
IDW Publishing
9781600101281, $17.99

Adapted from the film screenplay of Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary, “Beowulf” is the graphic novel adaptation of the major action/ adventure film released by Paramount Picture and is the story of how a legendary Scandinavian warrior of the sixth century sought out and fought the man killing monster Grendel, Grendel’s horrific mother, and a gold hoarding dragon. A timeless tale of honor, loyalty, love, and betrayal, “Beowulf” is a true classic that is perfectly adapted to the graphic novel format by writer Chis Ryalo, artist Gabriel Rodriguez, and a team of support that includes colorist Jay Folos, letterer Robbie Robbins, editor Justin Eisinger, and book designer Neil Uyetake. Flawless production values and an inherently gripping story combine to make “Beowulf” an enthusiastic recommendation for personal and community library Graphic Novel collections.

31BylYLS6BL REVIEWS: Midwest Book Review December 2007

Dream Of The Rarebit Fiend: The Saturdays
Winsor McCay
Checker Book Publishing Group
2044-A South Alex Road, West Carrollton, OH 45449
9781933160658, $19.95

Winsor McCay began his career as a professional artist and illustrator in the late 1800s. In 1904 he created what became a landmark newspaper comic strip series called ‘Dream of the Rarebit Fiend’ which ran until 1911 and was based on a one knock joke about consuming a mildly hallucinogenic food popularly called ‘Welsh Rarebit’. McCay was among the first to explore visual sequential art and his gifted originality gained him legions of readers and fans. The strip soon split into two distinct formats: The Dailies (which appeared nearly every Tuesday and Thursday in the New York Evening Telegram) and The Saturday (which expanded to take up roughly twice the Daily square inches which constituted almost all of the newspaper page above the fold). This expanded space in the Saturday strip permitted McCay to become even more vivid and detailed in his visual storytelling. Now photomechanically reproduced from original sources, the Checker Book Publishing Group has brought out under one cover the majority of those Saturday strips featuring 98% of their original format in “Renewing The Countryside: Wisconsin”. Readers for whom this very highly recommended collection will be their first exposure to McCay’s legendary newspaper comic strip, will also be interested in reading the Daily strips collected in the Checker series “Winsor McCay: The Early Works” (along with other material from the period). For a complete listing of all the early twentieth century newspaper comic strips offered by the Check Book Publishing Group, readers and librarians should visit their website at

31L-kp4PLFL REVIEWS: Midwest Book Review December 2007

Shonen Jump Volume 5, Issue 12, Number 60, December 2007
Viz Communications Inc.
295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
$4.99 1-800-394-3042

As always, the sixtieth issue of Viz’s Shonen Jump magazine is brimming cover-to-cover with teen-friendly Japanese manga (comics) meant to especially appeal to boys and young men, though all fans of action-packed art are sure to enjoy its contents regardless of their age or gender. At a hefty 416 pages for a modest $4.99, Shonen Jump is a bargain for shonen manga lovers. Not only is the English translation flawless, but the manga is presented in its original “unflipped” right- to-left format – though this may take a moment for new manga readers to get used to, it allows the artwork to be shown as the creators originally intended rather than in “mirrored” form. Most of the serialized comic chapters are in black-and-white, but some pages are in color for extra impact. The manga chapters presented are Slam Dunk, a series about the passion of basketball (in color); Naruto, the saga of cursed boy determined to become the greatest ninja ever; Bleach, featuring a high school student with the power to see and fight evil spirits; Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo, about poetry battles of the most outlandish and crazy nature; One Piece, following the enthusiastic Monkey D. Luffy in his self-appointed mission to become King of the Pirates; Yu Yu Hakusho, about a “spirit detective” seeking to protect the innocent in both the human and supernatural realms; Hikaru no Go, about a young man with the aid of an ancient Go master’s spirit striving to test his skills to their limit in the board game of Go; and Yu-Gi-Oh and Yu-Gi-Oh GX, two manga based on the wildly popular trading card game of the same name. Issue 60 features the resounding conclusion of the Yu-Gi-Oh saga – the climax of the final card duel between Yugi and his grim alter-ego, a Pharaoh who has lingered between life and death for three thousand years! A handful of articles, including reviews of holiday season video games, round out this hotly anticipated issue.


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 in order to avoid possible conflict of interest issues. 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 of these publications are archived and available for free on the Midwest Book Review website at

Anyone wanting to submit books for review consideration can send them

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, audio CDs, or DVDs, email them to Frugalm… (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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