The World of Edena
reviewed by Travis Johnson
Two spaceship repairmen get whisked off to the seemingly idyllic garden planet of Edena, in this vividly illustrated comic-book epic by French artist Moebius. In the copious notes to this book, the artist explains that he had to resist the urge to make his illustrations too “cluttered.”
by Jordan Mechner, LeUyen Pham, and Alex Puvilland
Review by Travis Johnson
Dungeons, swordfighting, unjust imprisonment, evil viziers, love interests in towers, spectacular jumping ability: these are the things that Templar and Jordan Mechner’s groundbreaking 1989 computer game Prince of Persia have in common. However, if you were unaware of Mechner’s subsequent work in various mediums, you might be forgiven for finding it hard to believe that this is the work of someone who achieved their initial fame as a game programmer. Continue reading
The Tragical Comedy or Comedic Tragedy of Mr. Punch
By Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean
Review by Anna Yardney
Enter the world of Mr. Punch. Master storyteller Neil Gaiman and standout graphic artist David McKean team up in this eerie graphic novel. Enter into a realm filled with family secrets. See the way they play themselves out in the most unexpected ways. In a seaside vacation town, a young boy encounters a strange and threatening puppet show. Furthermore, the arrival begins to stir up uncomfortable memories for his grandfather. Through a series of accidental revelations and half-understood conversations, the narrator begins to see the parallels of the puppet show within his own family.
McKean’s beautiful artwork really highlights Gaiman’s universe. Wonderfully creepy and subtle enough to keep you thinking, despite it’s age of more than 20 years. I would recommend this graphic novel to anyone who has enjoyed Sandman, Fun Home, or the comics of Alan Moore. Mr. Punch is an exciting precursor to Gaiman’s 2002 classic Coraline.
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About the Reviewer: Anna has worked at Tredyffrin for over five years and has a personal goal of reading all of Neil Gaiman’s graphic novels.
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
by Alison Bechdel
Book Review by Sam Sørensen
“If there was ever a bigger pansy than my father, it was Marcel Proust.”
Alison Bechdel, quite the genius, delivers with Fun Home. Her graphic novel covers her coming-of-age experiences living in what she and her siblings called the “fun home,” short for funeral home. Bechdel focuses on the complex relationship she has with her father, an English teacher and funeral home director, by connecting with the myth of Daedalus and Icarus.
By including many, many literary references, such as Joyce, Camus, and Fitzgerald, Bechdel demonstrates how literature helps to make sense of reality. Within the dysfunctional family dynamic, Bechdel explores sexuality, suicide, and abuse. Not only coming to terms with her father’s repressed homosexuality, she explores her own. Continue reading
Review by Travis Johnson
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip (Volume 1) is a collection of four short stories, consisting of newspaper comic strips originally published in the 1950’s. Despite the format, these are not gag strips, where each strip sets up and delivers a punch line. On the contrary, this a narrative strip; what we might today call a “graphic novel”. In the tradition of classic comic strips like Popeye’s Thimble Theatre, it mixes adventure with comedy, but the focus here is very much on often-whimsical satire. Continue reading