Monday, November 08, 2004

Quick Oni GN Reviews

Here are my reviews of the winners of Which Oni GN Should Dave Read Next? As you'll see, I think that you all made wise choices for me.

by J. Torres & Scott Chantler
Scandalous tells the story of Harry Richards, a private eye in 50's Hollywood who moonlight by gathering info for a gossip rag. After his best friend, a casting director, is fingered (unjustly) as a communist, the two of them launch a scandal mag of their own, running afoul of both their unflattered subjects and a Paige Turner, the bigoted star gossip columnist of the town. This is a book that shines on many levels. Torres combines an intersting plot with interesting characters. Early on we see Harry's frustration as an aspiring writer who submits stories to a true crime pulp, only to be constantly rejected. Harry taps the underclass of Hollywood, the maids and servants to the wealthy and powerful, in order to gather his most damaging gossip, providing a level of social commentary at the base of the plot. Chantler does a great job with both the drama and the action, and his characters are easily distinguished and well drawn in a slightly cartoony style. His also gives the characters a good space to live in, one that invokes well the story's setting. While Scandalous works great with a straight-forward reading as a story of Hollywood, gossip columns and the red scare, it can also be read as a parable for today's press and their chasing of the sensational, as well as their kow-towing to those in power. Torres is not the first to draw parallels between the red scare of the 50's and the current political climate, but that he does so as an undercurrent to an entertaining and engaging story make for a richer reading of this book. A fine job.
Rating: 4 (of 5)

Hopeless Savages, vol. 2: Ground Zero
by Jen Van Meter & Bryan Lee O'Malley with Chynna Clugston-Major, Christine Norrie & Andi Watson
The first Hopeless Savages story was a rollicking adventure with the Hopeless Savage kids rescuing their parents. This second volume is much more domestic, centering on the youngest of the clan, Skank Zero, as she deals with her parents, her bandmates, her siblings, a boy, and the annoying television crew trying to make a rockumentary about the family. The story could have been a big mess, but Van Meter keeps everything under control, just this side of chaos, and makes it all work. O'Malley's art is full of energy but rather rough in places (I should note that his art is much more confident in his latest work, Scott Pilgrim, so he is definitely improving). The flashback art provided by the other artists is up to their usual high standards. It's a good, fun comic about families and young love.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

1 comment:

Dave Carter said...

Jason and Johanna both also have reviews of Scandalous