A vibrant, delightful tale of life, death, and all the amusing stuff that comes after.

BEYOND!

Two English brothers, one dead and one alive, face off against a powerful, otherworldly group in this debut graphic novel.

After their father dies, Tibbs and Victor Baz inherit the bulk of his vast estate. They’re set for life, only Tibbs suddenly and inexplicably dies the same day as the reading of the will. He awakens in Terra Mortuum—he’s now gray and mostly skeletal but still wearing his snazzy trench coat and red scarf. He quickly earns a gaggle of posthumous friends, from Slimy Bob to whip-smart pilot Ada. But the afterlife, even with a bureaucracy and an established city like “Necro England,” is confusing and chaotic. This may stem from the Brotherhood of the Watch, a nefarious organization with chapters in the afterlife as well as the mortal world. The group, it seems, wants Tibbs and Victor’s deceased father, who oddly hasn’t shown up in Terra Mortuum. Victor and some allies, including his mother, search for his dad’s body while fending off red-cloaked Brotherhood members. As Tibbs and pals look for answers to the afterlife’s perplexities in northern Terra Mortuum, both brothers have a chance to stop a sinister plan already under way that threatens many. Howell’s story isn’t always easy to follow, though the plentiful exposition eventually clarifies most of it. But the quirky novel is consistently funny, sporting witty dialogue and visual gags. Historical figures, for example, crop up in Terra Mortuum, including Shakespeare, who turns out to be a jerk and a mean drunk, and Hitler, who offers unexpectedly sound advice. The characters, too, especially in the afterlife, display plenty of personality, like Clyde, who tends to yell whatever pops into his head. The author’s artwork also shines. Although most people in Terra Mortuum appear monstrous, their comically animated faces give them immense charm. Similarly, violent turns rarely seem intense, as even explosions burst with bold, lovely colors. The story ultimately winds down, delivering a sublime visual and narrative denouement.

A vibrant, delightful tale of life, death, and all the amusing stuff that comes after.

Pub Date: April 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5255-9257-7

Page Count: 216

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2022

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THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

Of late, there have been many unsuccessful attempts to adapt Shakespeare into the graphic-novel format; Hinds’s beautiful new offering now sets the standard that all others will strive to meet. Presenting readers with deftly drawn characters (based on live models) and easily read dialogue that modulates over the course of the work from adapted prose to the original Shakespeare, he re-works the classic Shakespeare play of deception, greed and revenge. Though located in a modern setting, readers will easily follow the premise and find themselves lost in the intricately lovely Venetian backdrop. While this adaptation may leave purists sniffing at the omission of entire scenes and characters, Hinds carefully explains to his readers in a note why and how he made those choices. A deceptively simple graphic novel on the surface, this volume begs for multiple readings on a closer level, at the same time acting as a wonderful introduction to the original. Easily on a par with his stellar adaptation of Beowulf (2007), it’s a captivating, smartly executed work. (Graphic novel. 12+)

Pub Date: May 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-7636-3024-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2008

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Intriguing and accessible, this thought-provoking tale will be new to many.

THE DAUGHTERS OF YS

An ancient Breton folktale finds new life as a graphic novel.

King Gradlon won his wife’s hand by murdering her first husband. Upon her mysterious death, their two daughters, Rozenn and Dahut, are sickened by their father’s debauchery and consumed by grief. Several pages of wordless panels show the girls growing up and growing apart. Rozenn retreats to the countryside, meets Corentin, a “holy hermit,” and falls in love with a fisherman. Dahut commits herself to learning her mother’s magic, including seducing, murdering, and sacrificing a string of young men to protect the city. Dahut’s ultimate betrayal of her sister brings about the deadly denouement. Anderson drew on multiple sources to retell this story of Ys, a “famed city of pleasures” stolen from the sea and doomed to destruction. Overtones of other tales, from the lost land of Lyonesse to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, echo through the pages of this morality tale. Blood and betrayal permeate the plot while natural sounding dialogue and perfect pacing draw readers along smoothly. Rioux’s art adds a suitably Celtic feel, with swirling patterns, medieval costumes, and a red-haired sorceress at its center. While nudity and sexual activity both occur, as do beheadings and drowning, neither the text nor the pictures are particularly explicit. Main characters are white; clothing and textual references indicate contact with Near and Far Eastern nations.

Intriguing and accessible, this thought-provoking tale will be new to many. (source note) (Graphic fantasy. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-878-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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