Graphic Novels / Comics ♦ Take 2

Graphic novels and comic books have always been favorites of mine. Anything from Archies to X-Men, adaptations of movies and TV shows, and of course online comix too. But as I mentioned in a post awhile back, fellow bloggers and their reviews have prompted me to search out specific titles and since I kinda dug the layout from that post, I figured I’d do a couple more.

Lost At Sea

Raleigh doesn’t have a soul.
A cat stole it. Or at least that’s what she tells people. Or at least that’s what she would tell people, if she told people anything. Why is it all so terrifying? Why is everyone so hard to deal with? Why is she in a car with three of her classmates, driving halfway across the country? What is she even doing here? She doesn’t even know them!
Raleigh is eighteen years old, and she has no idea what she’s doing. If you’ve ever been eighteen, or confused, or both, maybe you should read this book. 

Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley Genre: Graphic Novel
Illustrator: Bryan Lee O’Malley Type: Paperback 168 pages
Publisher: Oni Press Publication Date: July 2006

My Thoughts
The blame or thanks for this one goes to Nymeth of Things Mean A Lot. In her review Nymeth says "Bryan Lee O’Malley really captured what being on the verge of adulthood feels like." and that simple sentence really spoke to me.

It seems like I’ve always felt like my life was on the verge of something, whether it was one step closer to being an adult, or one step away from finally understanding what it’s all about. Then I wonder to myself if I even know what it is. This is the feeling that I got from Lost At Sea. But Raleigh isn’t just worried about where she’s going, she also seems to have lost her way in finding who she is. She doesn’t know why she’s in this situation and she doubts that she fits in with these strange people. Once she discovers that how she sees herself is different from how others see her, life might make a bit more sense. I think that this book carries such a powerful message, that is, no matter how confused or lost we may feel, odds are that the people around us are feeling the same way. Lost At Sea is just too hard to describe in words, I just have to say the feelings this story made me feel were so familiar and scary, but seeing them expressed made me think it was ok.

Other Reviews
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Let me know and I’ll add your link.

The Curious Sofa
a porno-
work by
Ogdred Weary

The Curious Sofa is a classic book by Edward Gorey, published under the pen name Ogdred Weary (an anagram). The book is a "pornographic illustrated story about furniture" (according to the cover). According to reviews, there is nothing overtly sexual in the illustrations, although innuendos (and strategically deployed urns and tree branches) abound. The New York Times Book Review described it as "Gorey’s naughty, hilarious travesty of lust". The story may also be found in Gorey's book Amphigorey.  (Wikipedia)

Author: Edward Gorey Genre: Picture Book
Illustrator: Edward Gorey Type: Hardcover 64 pages
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Publication Date: September 1997

My Thoughts   
For the life of me I cannot remember what led me to order this one, well other than the fact that Edward Gorey is awesome!


The Curious Sofa is really fun, because despite the subtitle of A Porno-graphic Work, there is nothing at all sexual in nature presented in the words or pictures. It’s all left to the reader to make the pervy assumptions and figure out all the innuendos.



The art is simple, pretty and slightly bizarre. I think it has to do with the expressions on some of the characters faces – they just look mischievous.

Another hilarious thing is that all the men are described as well-endowed, well-formed, etc.

And the ending just left me speechless, while my mind concocted a million scenarios.


Other Reviews
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Let me know and I’ll add your link.



A spoiled, rebellious Londoner takes on the stuffy English countryside in Clubbing.
The Crime: Getting caught with a fake ID at an exclusive West End nightclub.
The Punishment: Spending the summer at her grandparents’ stuffy country club. But Charlotte “Lottie” Brook, best known for her mile-high platforms and an unbridled passion for classic literature, will end up doing more than just serving time in country boot camp. In between avoiding the strange locals and cake decorating contests, Lottie will narrowly escape romance and end up solving a murder mystery on the 19th hole of her grandparents’ golf course.

Author: Andi Watson Genre: Graphic Novel
Illustrator: Josh Howard Type: Paperback 176 pages
Publisher: Minx Publication Date: July 2007

My Thoughts    
I didn’t pick this up for any specific review, basically what happened was I read Plain Janes and Janes In Love (reviews coming soon) because of Dewey’s review where she also mentions that they were part of DC comics Minx line. I loved the Janes and decided to check out some other Minx books. 

Reading the description of this one I was half-excited – yay for the goth girl exiled to hicksville. And half-blah – living at a country club/golf course. But luckily Lottie, the main character, is about as into golf as I am, which leads to much sarcasm and poking of fun. The actual story had lots going for it, there was the city girl in the countryside angle, then there was the murder mystery bit, and also a little bit of teenage summer romance (or not) but all of this together basically tells the story of a Lottie – a girl with lots of spunk and a fondness for black clothes, platform boots, modern technology and classic novels. Here is what Lottie had to say while picking out a book to read:

I check out the bookshelf. No, not Tess of the d’Ubervilles, I read that last term. The rest of the class hated me for saying it was all her own fault for having such lousy taste in men. The thing about the classics is – why do the women always cop off with the wrong bloke and die?

Oh and in the end, Lottie decides to read Wuthering Heights!

The story takes place in the English country side and there is a bit of British slang used. So something I found really neat (showing my geeky side) was that at the beginning of the book there is this:

“The coppers have nicked my corned beef
and hash and Yorkshire puds and bogged off
down the motorway.”

Don’t have a clue what I’m talking about?
Consult my Lexicon on pages 147-151
to translate the English slang into
fluent American.

And right at the back is a very funny dictionary of terms.

Other Reviews

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Let me know and I’ll add your link.


Miss Lasko Gross’ debut graphic novel is the semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story of Melissa, who, by turns willful, funny, and perceptive, unsentimentally questions adolescent rituals and the arbitrary imposition of adult edicts. Subjected to the whims of her bemused parents and, as the years pass, rejected by her peers, the opinionated Melissa copes by watching horror movies, psychosomatically vomiting to get out of temple, and making comics.

Escape From “Special” unfolds in a series of brief anecdotes, impressionistically dredged as if from memory, without the self-righteous revisionism or nostalgic haze that characterizes so many artists’ depictions of childhood and adolescence. Drawn in a muted full-color palette, Lasko-Gross’ art, with its detailed backgrounds and expressive, clean-line character drawing, exquisitely conveys the volatile mix of confusion, uncertainty, and defiance that define the interior life of a young girl.

Author: Miss Lasko-Gross Genre: Graphic Novel
Illustrator: Miss Lasko-Gross Type: Trade Paperback 136 pages
Publisher: Fantagraphics Publication Date: February 2002

My Thoughts   
Often when I’m looking for a new read, similar to something I enjoyed, I will search for related items on amazon. After reading and loving American Born Chinese, I did just that and Escape From “Special” popped up all over the place.

However, amazon failed me with this one. There wasn’t anything in particular that made this a bad read, I just couldn’t relate to the character and didn’t enjoy the design. The description states that it is the story of a girl told through brief anecdotes – and normally I like that style – but in this case there wasn’t enough flow or connectedness. Many of them seemed pointless, or just in the wrong place. 

Boston Bibliophile

Other Reviews

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Let me know and I’ll add your link.



It wasn’t until I browsed the library’s graphic novel section that I fully comprehended the amount of comics and graphics that are out there. And the range of topics, subjects and genres they cover. This was just a mixed bag of what I’ve been reading but I also have posts coming up dedicated to Neil Gaiman, more from the Minx line and a few more potlucks.

The next group of comics I will be blogging about are adaptations of classics. Right now, for example, I am reading the graphic novelization of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis – which is very strange but totally cool! So readers how do you feel about classics being redone in comic book fashion? 

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


bermudaonion said...

The Curious Sofa looks like fun!

Lanie said...

Thanks for sharing. Interesting post you have here.

Kailana said...

I read Lost at Sea in May. It was pretty good. Some of those others look good, too. Going to see if the library has. :)

Nymeth said...

"I just have to say the feelings this story made me feel were so familiar and scary, but seeing them expressed made me think it was ok."

I really know what you mean.

It's been a while since I read it, but yes, I do remember The Curious Sofa being awesome :D

I hadn't heard of Clubbing, but it sounds good! And it's too bad Escape from Special was a let down :(

Classics being redone as comics: if done right it could be fun! I had a bad experience with Manga Hamlet, actually, but I think that was an exception rather than the rule.

Comics really do cover a very wide range of genres. Which is why it makes me sad to see them being referred to as a genre :P They are noooooooot. Okay I'll shut up now :P

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

I think comic versions of familiar stories would be good. When I was a kid I read Great Illustrated Classics, which were classic books abridged and with pictures. I wouldn't call them comics exactly, but I liked them. I think reading them also made me more inclined to pick up the real version when I was old enough to understand them.

Ali said...

I agree with you completely on Escape From Special, somehow I expected more from it. The connection just wasn't there for me--not between myself and the protagonist, and not between the different segments of the story, either.

I think I missed your first installment on graphic novels, so I'll go back and read that one, now. And, it sounds like I really need to seek out Lost at Sea.

J.S. Peyton said...

I just bought my first Sandman graphic novel by Neil Gaiman. I haven't had the chance to read it yet, but I'm looking forward to it! There are so many great graphic novels out there it's hard to know where to start. I covet everything you've listed here, though!

Belle said...

I really do have to start crusing the graphic novels section at my library's main branch. The smaller branch is a short walk from me but the selection isn't very large. I think I'd like to try Clubbing. And every time I see an Edward Gorey illustration, I always think of the Bellairs books - I loved those as a kid.

About classics in graphic novel form, I think some of them would definitely be fun. Looking forward to your round-up of those, too.

naida said...

great reviews, I still havnet read a graphic novel.... maybe one day I will.
I think the classics being re-done in comic book fashion is a great idea if they are done right.

B.Kienapple said...

Graphic novels are my new obsession and I'm happy that my library seems to share said obsession. I'm going to try to read and review everything you posted about as it's all right up my alley.

Andi said...

Stop it! Stop it, stop it. My wishlist grows by heaps when you do these posts.

OK, don't stop it. I love these posts. So much new stuff to look into.

Stephanie said...

Oh great. MORE graphic novels for me to read!! You guys are just feeding an addiction, I hope you know it!! You are like crack dealers!!

My library's Graphic novel selection is pretty pitiful, to be honest. But I can get some through ILL. I definitely want to find the Plain Janes books. Oh, and each of the ones you wrote about today!! God, I have no will-power!

Care said...

I'm sorry, but posts like this make it impossible for me to come up with anything fun or clever in my comment. but this isn't a negative - I loved all the reviews here! I just don't know what to say.

Ladytink_534 said...

I loved the graphic novels/ manga I've read but those aren't very many. I'm very, very late to this since I never even picked up a comic book until the last couple of years. My library doesn't have that great of a selection either :(

I think classics being redone is interesting. Maybe it will make people want to pick up the actual classics themselves one day! Clubbing sounds good btw :)