The Books I Think You Should Buy:
by Tomm Coker and Daniel Freedman; Image, $14.99
Let’s assume for a minute or two that you are not completely burned out when it comes to vampires; this book that collects the four issue mini-series tellls the story of an American soldier who frees a Chinese vampire in Afghanistan (I think – I’m not fact-checking), falls in love with her, and travels with her to Hong Kong, where he hopes to free her by killing her sire.
Coker pieces together an interesting vampire world, with shape-changing bird vampires, an ancient pharmacist in the guise of a young street urchin, and fox spirits. He uses the backdrop of Hong Kong very well. Coker’s art reminds me of Paul Gulacy’s, but he surpasses that artist in his sense of layout, and his use of Asian influences.
Unfortunately, this book is volume one of a series, and I haven’t heard when or if the series is going to continue. This first volume doesn’t have the most satisfying ending on its own, but the rest of the book is so lovely, that should be overlooked.
by Scott Chantler; Emblem, $19.99
Here’s what I had to say when I read the hardcover version of this book, back in December:
This is a book that I’ve been looking forward to reading since I first heard about it. I’m a sucker for a good war book normally, and this one is by the cartoonist of Northwest Passage, one of my favourite historical graphic novels, and a local (it’s always important to support Toronto comics).
Two Generals tells the story of Chantler’s grandfather, Reginald Law Chantler, his close friend Jack Chrsyler, and their experiences during the Second World War. They were officers in the Highland Light Infantry (the ‘Two Generals’ in the title refers to a joke made by Chantler on a photo taken before they left England), who were involved in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy (the Canadians, including my own grandfather, took Juno Beach). After that, the HLI pushed on to eventually take Buron, an essential task that allowed the Allied forces to take Caen, a lynchpin in the Allied plans.
Chantler’s work on this book is so clearly a labour of love and an homage to his grandfather. He provides enough context to understand the situations in which Chantler the elder found himself, but the book rarely strays from the personal experiences of the two young men the book focuses on. We see firsthand some of the absurdities of war (the HLI were outfitted with bicycles to aid their advance, but only one repair kit per platoon) and the way in which soldiers had to adjust to difficult situations (which led to the mass adoption of random farm animals).
This book has a sense of humour about it, but is ultimately a touching tribute to the Greatest Generation. Chantler mentions in his acknowledgments that stories like these are being lost to us on a daily basis, and I’m pleased he took the time and made the effort to capture a record like this one.
Chantler’s art looks great as always, and he makes an effective use of green, red, and gray tones to provide atmosphere. The book itself is an example of a wonderful sense of design. It has the rounded corners and built-in elastic bookmark of an officer’s notebook, which makes it a pleasure to own. I recommend this book.
So, what would you buy Were Money No Object?
Tags: Image, Were Money No Object