One Mad Dog

[Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars Volume 1] – (Frank Beddor, Liz Cavalier, Ben Templesmith)
October 14, 2010, 8:04 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Ben Templesmith, Frank Beddor, Liz Cavalier

The looking glass Wars is written as if it is a historical book from a fictional organization known as the Hatter M Institute for Paranormal Travel. It is loosely based on the characters and settings from Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland books but Beddor’s version is a much more sinister. It has flipped the story on its head with the hatter (who is is a blade master and ex body guard of the queen) searching for Princess Alyss  in the real world. In this first volume of the geo-graphic parallel adventure trilogy, Hatter finds himself in Paris, France in the year 1859.

The looking glass wars is full of all kinds of strange and evil characters. There are undercurrents of vampires, child abduction and brain washing and all of this superimposed with strange psychic goings on.  It took me a while when reading “30 Days of Night” to get used to Ben Templesmith’s style of art and the same thing applied in “Hatter M”. Ben’s art is unique in its style with an almost a child like simplicity but it is also steeped with a sinister undercurrent.    At times it is too abstract for its own good and it is really difficult to figure out what is going on in the frame. I am normally a fan of a more traditional style of comic art (Jacen Burrows, Carlos Ezquerra etc) but for some reason I get a lot of pleasure from reading stories illustrated by Ben. In this book there is particularly inventive use of color to convey emotions and allegiances.

I enjoyed reading this book and its pages of extras which included  historical documents , letters, pictures and articles to support the story (all fictional of course). It is also nicely presented with good quality glossy paper stock and a satisfying 17th century color palette. Ben Templesmith’s art may not be to everyones taste but the writing of Frank Beddor and Liz Cavalier should win people over in the end. [ISBN-13: 978-0981873701]

[Return to Barrow – 30 Days of Night, Book 3] – (Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith)
April 5, 2010, 12:55 am
Filed under: 30 Days of Night, 7 stars, Ben Templesmith, Steve Niles

I got this book as part of an excellent 3 part boxed and signed signed collectors set. For this book we return to Barrow to discover the poor old town is still beset by Vampires. This time the town is ready for it…or are they ? I can only assume the more you look at  Ben Templesmiths artwork the better it gets. Its still kind of chaotic and confusing but I now feel it suits the story perfectly. The third novel is a rip roaring adventure tale with great back stories and suprises. Out of the three books this was my favorite (I read all three books on consecutive evenings). A great trilogy. [ISBN-10: 1932382364]. 7/10

[Dark Days – 30 Days of Night, Book 2] – (Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith)
April 5, 2010, 12:53 am
Filed under: 30 Days of Night, 7 stars, Ben Templesmith, Steve Niles

I got this book as part of an excellent 3 part boxed and signed signed collectors set. The setting for this book has changed. The heoroine from the first part has moved down to LA to continue the war on the vampires. I think this is a better book than the first one although the concept of the first was more engaging. There are many plot twists and turns and sublots going on within this relatively short tale. I am not sure if I am getting used to Ben Templesmiths art style but I found it more enjoyable in the second book and the abstract gore fest certainly portrays an atmosphere. A great book. [ISBN-10: 1932382364]. 7/10

[30 Days of Night] – (Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith)
April 5, 2010, 12:47 am
Filed under: 30 Days of Night, 7 stars, Ben Templesmith, Steve Niles

I got this book as part of an excellent 3 part boxed and signed signed collectors set. I decided to buy it after watching the enjoyable movie based on the book. I was initially quite dissapointed when I got my copy. The books are printed on nice glossy stock and look fantastic but the artwork in an unusual abstract style. I like my graphic novels to be more conventional and less confusing to read (Its sometimes difficult to tell Vampire from Human as both parties are shown with bared teeth). The story is good (different from the movie) and I found it engaging enough to read in one sitting but it was a little short. Quite a large section of the book is given over to previews of the next books and advertisements for other books (I think this is a waste of paper). A good book but I enjoyed the movie more. [ISBN-10: 0971977550], 7/10