Monday, October 21, 2013

Just Read - Hinges Book 1 by Meredith McClaren

I back quite a few Kickstarters, if you haven’t noticed. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to back a friends and help her publish her webcomic in a hardcover edition. That friend, Meredith McClaren and the webcomic, Hinges.

I have known McClaren for several years now and was a big fan of her work even before we actually met and became friends. I’m a hug fan of her Scraps webcomic and own about 10 of the originals. So when the opportunity came to help her publish a hardcover collection of Hinges, I jump at the chance to back her.

I originally started reading Hinges online, this still did not prepare me for how beautiful the print edition would be. McClaren has a very clean art style, the looks even better in print than it does online. While the book is not filled with a bunch of extra bells and whistles (sketchbook material and such can be found in a little mini that I received with the book) it is a solid piece of work from beginning to end. McClaren’s storytelling is just that storytelling. She uses the art and words to tell here story, neither one could exist without the other. 

The story is apparently about a town that is fill with marionettes (and mannequins) who each have some type of service animal (called an Odd) with them.  We follow the main character Orio as she is learning about herself, her purpose and the town. We also get to see the moment when Orio picks her Odd, Bauble, which appears to be a cat. Sorry if Bauble is not a cat, but it sure does remind me of one of my cats throughout the story. While many questions are answered throughout the story, even more are proposed.

The book appears to be setting the stage for a much bigger story that McClaren is telling, but unlike many story that are world building, Hinges deliver’s several character building moments, but still leaving the reader questioning and ready for more.

After reading book 1, I cannot wait for the next book, even though I follow along online. There is something about reading a book in your hands that makes it just a little more special.  Hopefully book 2 is not very far off. If you have never heard of Meredith McClaren what are you waiting for? Click a link and check out what this young lady is up to.

-Denny Riccelli creates comics under the pen name ‘dennmann’ he currently publishes the webcomic Cousin Harold and some mini-comics now and then, including Jenny Spookawski Ghost Girl. He lives in Peoria, Arizona with his wife and 2 kids.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kickstarter - Boss Snake One-Shot

Another Kickstarter I'm proud to be supporting!
The Boss Snake Cold Blood Cold Streets Noir One-shot 
(Plus Doc Unknown TPB) by Fabian Rangel Jr. and Ryan Cody 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Just Read - Battling Boy by Paul Pope

My goal with this site is to share all the great independent books that I’m enjoying.  This week a book came out that I thought might be a little too mainstream, and would be getting plenty of press in other places. Then for some reason my local comic shop did not get a single copy of the book in, hmm - maybe it was not as mainstream as I was thinking.

This week I finally got a chance to read Battling Boy by Paul Pope. I have been a fan of Pope’s work since the firs tissue of THB came out in 1994. I recently started to re-read THB (after waiting several years for a collection to come out of that material – still no collection) and found it to be very rough when compared to the work that Pope has released in the last 5 years. However re-reading this material helped me see how much Pope has grown as an artist and storyteller since he started 20 years ago.

Battling Boy is Pope at his peak. He is using all the tools, he has acquired over his career of making comics, to create (dare I say it) a masterpiece. With Battling Boy, Pope has created a vibrant world filled with action and adventure plus those quiet personal moments that really hit home. After hearing about Battling Boy for over a year. I expected it to be a 200 page story with tons of fights, but what I read was a touching story filled with emotion and challenges.

Essentially it is a coming of age story. Battling Boy is brought to earth on his 13th birthday by his father and is challenged to rid Acropolis of the monsters that are making things rough for the local citizens. Battling Boy is given a case with 16 items. A credit card, a key, a encyclopedia of monsters, a map and 12 shirts each featuring a different animal.  With these items Battling Boy must help rid the city of it’s monster invaders.

There are also many subplots going on in addition to the main Battling Boy story. The is the tale of Aurora, daughter of Haggard West, the city’s original monster fighting hero who lost his life fighting the monsters. There is also a light political story involving the mayor developing through out the story. Plenty of material for future volumes, and I cannot wait.  

I believe Battling Boy is Pope’s manga story that he has been working on since signing with Kodansha in the mid-90’s. I see some European influences, but the story is filled with the emotion and pace of a manga. The story also appears to be broken up into 20-30 page chunks. I could image this story serialized weekly in a ‘phone book’ manga.

If you have never read a Paul Pope story, Battling Boy is a great place to start and then go hunt down all of his other work!,  You will not regret it. Battling Boy is a 5 Star Comic!

-Denny Riccelli creates comics under the pen name ‘dennmann’ he currently publishes the webcomic Cousin Harold and some mini-comics now and then, including Jenny Spookawski Ghost Girl. He lives in Peoria, Arizona with his wife and 2 kids.