The Book I Want to Buy:
Finder Library Volume 1
by Carla Speed McNeil; Dark Horse, $24.99
All I know about Finder is that Carla Speed McNeil’s been publishing it herself for years, and it’s generally well-liked and esteemed. I know that it’s some kind of science fiction epic, and it seems that it’s pretty wide-ranging, as the recent graphic novel didn’t appear to be too connected to a larger narrative. I really like well-constructed comic book worlds, and so I’m intrigued by this.
To be honest, I’m not sure about McNeil’s art. I liked her contributions to Queen and Country (now there’s a title I miss), but I can envision getting tired of her style after some 600 pages. At the same time, there’s always something tempting about such a large body of work (the second volume is scheduled to come out soon I think).
Dark Horse has provided some preview pages here.
The Books I Think You Should Buy:
Demo Vol. 2
by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan; Vertigo, $17.99
I love just about everything about this comic. The first volume was a revelation, even though I read it after discovering both Wood and Cloonan separately, and this return to Demo is inspired.
Each story (there are six in this volume) is a stand alone, and is loosely structured around a typical comic book idea of a super power, or something mystical, but they are very much slice of life stories. I’m not sure I remember all of them right now, but some of these stories really stuck with me – like the one about the guy who only eats at home (very creepy).
Perhaps my favourite story here is the one about the woman who obsessively leaves post-it notes around her house and neighbourhood to remind herself of how to act and what to do. Someone starts to communicate with her through post-its, and a slow and strange romance story unfolds. It has echoes of the Polaroid Boyfriend issue of Local, and the Park Slope roommate issue of the same series (if you haven’t read Local, you need to. Right now), but is utterly charming nonetheless.
Wood writes Demo stories very differently than he does his longer Vertigo series, and we see a side of him that is more introspective and, at the same time, improvisational. He works wonderfully with Becky Cloonan, who is one of the best artists in the business. As with the first volume, she switches up her approach to each individual story, finding exactly the right style for the narrative. This is a highly recommended comic.
by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth; Oni Press, $29.99
Stumptown is a great comic. Greg Rucka does his best work when he’s working outside of the sandbox of the Big Two (although I really loved Gotham Central), and this comic is up there with Queen & Country in terms of quality.
Stumptown is about a female private eye (like there’s any other kind in modern comics), Dex, who is raising her mentally-challenged younger brother, and is having very little in the way of financial success, either in her PI business, or at the casino she frequents. Early in the book, she is hired by the owner of the casino to track down her granddaughter, who has gone missing.
Dex quickly learns that Charlotte, the girl she is looking for, has gotten involved somehow with a local crime family, and things become very complicated very quickly, especially since the two heirs to the family – a man and a woman – have different plans for Charlotte.
While this sounds like a fairly standard set up, there are a few things that make this comic work. One is the number of twists that Rucka builds into the story, but one of the big ones is the art work of Matthew Southworth, who is very talented. I especially like the colouring he uses in the final confrontation scene, set on a beach at night and lit only by car headlights.
This comic is firmly grounded in Portland, and has the attention to space that I really like in comics. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in this book.
So, what would you buy Were Money No Object?
Tags: Dark Horse, Demo, Finder, Oni Press, Stumptown, Vertigo