Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Graphic Novels Edition

It must be a record!! 3 days in a row!! I decided to combine my graphic novel reviews. Figured it might be easier that way. Of course, I could probably talk all day about these two!!

I decided for my first graphic novel I should probably start with a known love....Neil Gaiman. Makes sense, right? The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman (240 pgs, Vertigo, 1993) is just an amazing piece of art. The language, the story, the pictures, the characters. This one has it all!

Wake up, Sir. We're here.

As this story opens, a mystic by the name of Roderick Burgess acquires a grimoire with the sole purpose of 'capturing' Death. But his failure to bind Death results in another being captured: Dream. Imprisoned for almost 70 years before he can escape, Dream returns to the world to find his realm in shambles. His powers are diminished, and he goes on a quest to get back his "tools" so he can rebuild and set the World of Dreams right again.

In his quest, we meet some of the incredible cast of characters this book (and hopefully the series) has to offer: Cain and Abel, Lucifer Morningstar, The Hecateae, John Constantine, and Dream's sister, Death (who happens to be a really cool goth-chick!)

I know this story is only the first, but it held me utterly captive! From page 1, I could tell it is something special. Brilliant in it's complexity, it is dark and bold. The section entitled "24 Hours" is so completely chilling, it actually made my skin crawl!! Dr. Destiny, the man who has Dream's Ruby, goes into a diner and spends 24 hours there showing us the affect that Dream's possessions has on people. In the wrong hands, the power of the dream can be a really horrific thing.

As you can probably tell by my gushing...I will definitely be reading the rest of this series!! For ANYONE that loves things dark and creepy, this is a MUST read!!! 5/5

Next on the list of new favorites is Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham (128 pgs, Vertigo, 2002).

Once upon a Time....in a fictional land called New York City....

In today's modern society, Fables live among the humans, or mundanes, as they like to call us. They have been exiled from their home. They have set up an underground Fable government to police and rule their own. King Cole is the man in charge, although the brunt of the dirty work falls to his next in command, Snow White. We open the series with the disappearance/murder of her sister, Rose Red. Bigby Wolf (Big Bad Wolf) is the Sheriff of the Fables and is called in to investigate.

Although completely different in tone than The Sandman, I think I might just love this book equally! It is a world where Snow White and Cinderella are both divorced from the womanizing cad, Prince Charming. Rose Red is a party girl that dates Jack (and the Beanstalk) but has promised her hand in marriage to Bluebeard. The Big Bad Wolf has the hots for Snow White. And Pinocchio, a boy for centuries, just wants to get laid!! Inventive, fresh, and witty, this book is fantastic! Taking old fairy tales and relating them to modern day is not a new concept, but this book takes the whole realm of Fables and puts them in one box. And it works so well!!

One of the best things about the book is the addendum entitled A Wolf in the Fold. This is purely prose, and it tells the tale of Bigby and how he rescued so many of the Fables from the invaders to their land. Fascinating and brief, we get just a peek at the man behind the wolf's clothing.

I don't think I will be able to read this series fast enough. Now I just have to FIND all the editions in the library system!! Although this may be a fairy tale, it is most definitely too adult for the younger set. Simply fantastic, I give it my highest recommendation!! 5/5


Vasilly said...

I'm glad you liked Fables. It's one of my favorite series. Bigby has to be my favorite character.Happy reading.

Debi said...

I know a lot of people don't like Preludes and Nocturnes nearly as much as the rest of the series, but I really, really enjoyed it. And of course, I have enjoyed the rest that I've read so far as well (which is only through Season of Mists). And I totally adored Legends in Exile, too! In fact, Rich bought me the next four in the series for my birthday, and I've no idea why I haven't gotten to them yet...I ought to have my head examined! So, anyway, I think it's safe to say that our blogging friends have now created at least two new graphic novel addicts in the two of us, huh? :D

Stephanie said...

Vasilly - Bigby is really awesome. Who would have thought the Big Bad Wolf could be so cool?

Debi - Yes, I'm afraid our blogging friends just might have created a monster!! I just put the next Sandman and the next Fables on hold from the library. They have to come inter-library and I wasn't sure how long it would take!! Yeah for Rich, by the way!!

Nymeth said...

Like I told you on Twitter, I am beyond thrilled you enjoyed these so much, Stephanie :D You're right, they're very different in tone, but the series actually have a thing or two in common, I think!

24 Hours is absolutely chilling. It actually gave me nightmares! It's probably the darkest story in the whole of The Sandman, actually.

Chris said...

I was so glad when I saw that you were reading these! They're just fantastic books...the both of them. And I really think that they both just get better and better! I've read the Sandman series once a long time ago and I'm rereading them now actually. I've only read the first 3 books of Fables but I've really loved them!

Stephanie said...

Nymeth - 24 Hours was the creepiest thing I have read in a very long time!! I hope you and Chris are proud of yourselves. I think you created a monster. I picked up one graphic novel at the library and requested 2 more!!

Chris - I LOVE them both!! So much fun and just SO good!! Like I told Debi and Nymeth....a monster has been created!

Kim L said...

These are two of my favorite series, which I discovered thanks to some amazing book bloggers. Nothing says bliss to me like kicking back with one of the books in either series. I just finished the Sandman series real recently, and I'm a little over halfway through Fables. They only get better! I don't often want to buy books I've already read, but these two series tempt me mightily!

Glad you enjoyed them so much. 24 definitely gave me chills as well. I still remember how creepy it was and it has been almost a year since I read it!

Anonymous said...

I'm really glad you enjoyed Fables, it's my favourite. I love this series. I have yet to read any of the Sandman series yet. But I'm told it's a must. I'll be checking it out soon.

Kailana said...

I didn't like Preludes and Nocturnes... No big surprise there! I bought it for my ex as a gift and ended up reading it myself and keeping it... lol I haven't carried on with the series yet, though, because of the financial aspect. The library only has bits and pieces of the series. :(

I loved Fables, though! I haven't finished that series yet, either. Finances again. Graphic novels are just so expensive and I read them so fast... I just can't justify it at the moment.

I am very happy you enjoyed these series so much. I think I am going to go figure out how far I can in the Gaiman series through the library and give it a reread. When I read the first one I wasn't a bit graphic novel fan, so my opinion might be different now!

samantha.1020 said...

I just recently read and enjoyed Fables: Legends In Exile as well. I'm planning on requesting the next one from my library soon :)

Joanne said...

Wow! Two amazing graphic novel reviews in one!
I loved the first Sandman - it was so dark and mysterious. The perfect introduction for a awesome series. My hubs complained about the artwork in it looking like the older DC superhero comics, but I think it matches the mood perfectly.

And Fables, I don't think I can ever gush enough about how much I love this series. It was just so utterly terrific to see all these well-known fantasy characters come to life in a new world!!

Can't wait to see what you think of the rest of both these graphic novel series' :)

Melanie said...

Fables is fantastic! I'm through book 4 now and waiting for them to come in through the library too!