Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in 2014, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Comics | 1 comment

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

Genre: Non Fiction
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: 1994
Pages: 216
Source: Library

The Short Version:
McCloud uses comics to tell the history and art of comics.

Why I Read It:
When Swapna at S. Krishna’s Books mentioned it on Twitter a whole bunch of friend chimed in to say how good it was. I stopped that night and picked it up at the library.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Praised throughout the cartoon industry by such luminaries as Art Spiegelman, Matt Groening, and Will Eisner, this innovative comic book provides a detailed look at the history, meaning, and art of comics and cartooning.

My Thoughts:
As a relative newbie to reading comics and graphic novels in the past couple of years my initial exposure was rather hit and miss based on recommendations from a variety of friends. Since then I’ve become more confident in branching out to explore on my own and have found the world of comics and graphic novels fun and entertaining.

This book is great for stepping back and looking into the history, form and structure of comics. Although it was written twenty years ago it’s still very relevant and informative. McCloud starts out by attempting to define comics and from there goes into the history of what he calls ‘sequential art’.

Along the way he explores the various methods of conveying elements of time and space in static images. He also explores how the Japanese forms of the art developed differently than American and European comics.

It’s a bit of history, a bit of explanation of the vocabulary, a bit of fun exploration of the various styles and methods.

I learned a lot and I’m glad I read it.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Nutshell Review: 100 Bullets Vol. 2: Split Second Chance by Brian Azzarello

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in 2014, 3 stars, Book Review, Brian Azzarello, Comics | 0 comments

100 Bullets Vol. 2: Split Second Chance by Brian Azzarello with art by Eduardo Risso

100 Bullets Vol. 2: Split Second Chance by Brian Azzarello

Genre: Crime Fiction, Comics
Series: #2 in the 100 Bullets series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 223
Source: Library



The Book:
This volume 2 is a compilation of issues 6-14 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

Split Second Chance, the second collection of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s acclaimed crime series 100 Bullets will bring you deeper than ever into their raw and unforgiving world of gutter crime and sanctioned retribution. With a seemingly simple gift — an untraceable gun and a hundred rounds of ammunition — the mysterious Agent Graves offers the powerless and wronged a chance at vengeance. But beyond the decision of whether or not to pull the trigger, a deeper question is beginning to emerge: just who is making this possible? — and why?

My Thoughts:
The first volume of this comic series introduced the concept of being gifted with an untraceable gun and 100 bullets along with the proof about who had done them wrong. What they chose to do with the information, weapon and ammunition was up to them.

That continues in this volume with some interesting outcomes. The thing I liked most about this volume however was the beginnings of looking into the back story of Agent Graves. Who is he? Why is he doing this? Where is he getting his information as well as the guns and ammunition. Who is funding this? Yes I have lots and lots of questions. The answers begin to be doled out in this volume. It’s clear that Azzarello isn’t going to answer them all at once and some of the answers will lead to further questions but he’s definitely expanded the story in this one.

It’s got a noir feel to it and that is greatly enhanced by Eduardo Risso’s artwork. Where the story lags a bit the artwork makes up for it.

I’ll be moving on to volume 3 relatively soon.

78db5-rating_3stars Rating 3/5

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It’s Monday What Are You Reading?

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Blogging/Reading, What Are You Reading? | 2 comments

Monday Reading

This weekly reading roundup is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Finished last week:

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

This was an informative look at the history of comics and how they developed as an art form.


Winding up this week:

Birdmen by Lawrence Goldstone

Birdmen by Lawrence Goldstone

I’m going to focus on this one and hope to finish it up this week. It’s a very interesting look at the early days of aviation beyond just the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.


Continuing with:

Meet Mr. Mulliner by P.G. Wodehouse

Meet Mr. Mulliner by P.G. Wodehouse

This is the book I’m reading on my phone. I tend to read it when I’m waiting in line or have a few minutes on the train and don’t want to haul a print book out. I only read part of one story last week but I hope to get through a couple of stories this week.

Currently listening to:

Hell is Empty by Craig Johnson

Hell is Empty by Craig Johnson

I’m enjoying being back in Wyoming with Walt Longmire.

Posts from last week:

The Competition by Marcia Clark

Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood

What are you reading?

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Weekend Update – The Serial Book Acquisition Syndrome Edition

Posted by on Oct 19, 2014 in Blogging/Reading, Weekend Update | 1 comment


I’ve currently got a whole bunch of books out from the library. I need to get to at least some of them pretty soon because I’m running out of available renewals on a couple of them.

I actually went in to the library last week to drop off a book and had no intention of checking out anything.

But then I saw that they had a book by Jeff Lemire on a display shelf. I adored Lemire’s comic series Sweet Tooth and already have another of his on my library stack but I couldn’t resist. I had to pick up The Nobody because it was on the display shelf just waiting for me to come in and see it. I just grabbed it, checked it out and left without even looking at it further because it was by Jeff Lemire.

The Nobody by Jeff Lemire

The Nobody by Jeff Lemire

So when I got home and looked at what The Nobody was about I discovered it is a retelling of The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells. It just so happens that The Invisible Man is one of those books that I’ve had on my mental “I want to read that eventually” list but haven’t actually read. So obviously I hand to go back to the library the next day to get The Invisible Man to read before I read The Nobody.

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

This kind of serial book acquisition happens to me all the time.

Sweet Tooth leads to more Lemire which leads to H.G Wells.

A book mentioned in another book gets added to the TBR list. A historical event or person mentioned in a book will send me looking up non-fiction books. A book set in a particular place or time frame will lead me to other books (both fiction and non-fiction) set in the same place or time.

Do you have a serial book acquisition story?? When was the last time a book led you to pick up something else you might not have otherwise read?

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Nutshell Review – Audiobook – Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 in 2014, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Kerry Greenwood | 0 comments

Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood, Narrated by Stephanie Daniel

Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood

Genre: Crime Fiction
Series: #2 in the Phryne Fisher series
Publisher: Bolinda Audio
Publication Date: 1990 for the book, 2012 for this audio edition
Length: 5 hours, 6 minutes
Read by: Stephanie Daniel
Source: Purchased

The Book:

From the publisher:

Walking the wings of a Tiger Moth plane in full flight ought to be enough excitement for most people, but not Phryne Fisher, amateur detective, woman of mystery, as delectable as the finest chocolate and as sharp as razor blades. In this, the second Phryne Fisher mystery, the 1920s’ most talented and glamorous detective flies even higher, handling a murder, a kidnapping and the usual array of beautiful young men with style and consummate ease—and all before it’s time to adjourn to the Queenscliff Hotel for breakfast. Whether she’s flying planes, clearing a friend of homicide charges or saving a child from kidnapping, she handles everything with the same dash and elan with which she drives her red Hispano-Suiza.

My Thoughts:
This is just a fun series. Phryne Fisher is a great character. The setting in 1920’s Australia is a nice change of pace from so many of the other series I read. Phryne has plenty of money so her new career as an investigator isn’t something she does to survive. It’s because she enjoys and she’s downright good at it.

The supporting cast is fun. Phryne’s maid and the couple who are her new household staff are going to be great. I also enjoy the two guys she calls on when she needs some blue collar help.

In this one Phryne is investigating both a murder and a kidnapping. The story jumps back and forth and the two investigations don’t really intersect but it keeps things interesting.

Stephanie Daniel does a great job of narration. She’s easy to listen to and her voice characterizations are distinct and consistent.

This is an enjoyable series and I’m looking forward to listening to more. I also plan to check out the TV adaptation on Netflix one of these days.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration

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