Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Quick GN Reviews

by Sara Varon

Sweaterweather is a collection of mostly wordless short stories about a bunch of little anthropomorphic animals (and a snowman) going about life in the city. Most of the stories take place during the cold months of late autumn to early spring, hence the title. It may not sound exciting, but the stories have a certain sweetness and Varon is an excellent storyteller. It many ways this comic reminds me of Andy Runton's Owly, although the stories in Sweaterweather have a bit more of an edge. Most of the book is in black and white (well, actually black and navy blue) but in the back there's a color section with cleaver paper dolls, stamps and postcards. This is a fun book that can be enjoyed by comic readers of all ages.
Rating: 4 (of 5)

Freaks of the Heartland
by Steve Niles and Greg Ruth

Several years ago in the small farming community of Gristlewood Valley, several gave birth to severly deformed--some would say unnatural--children. Some were killed, while others were locked away, living all of the existance in cellars or barns. Young Trevor knows that his younger brother Will is different, but he also knows that Will has a good heart and its not fair for Will to be locked away, never able to play in the sun. But this secret is eating away at the people of the valley, and when events build towards a violent head Trevor decides to break Will out and they make a run to escape the valley. Although there are monsters in the story (and not all of them are the deformed children) this isn't exactly a horror story; it falls into a traditio nof stories that I've always refered to as 'American Gothic'--tales of secrets and evil and things not quite right in small towns and rural communities. There is violence in Freaks of the Heartland, but it mostly occurs just off panel. Niles isn't going for shocks here, but rather trying to disturb. What really makes this work is the art of Ruth; detailed pen and ink drawings combine with the earthy computer color pallate to create an environment that evokes the warm heartland in which this disturbing tale is set. If you like your horror stories to be about events and characters and mood rather than blood and guts, you'll find Freaks of the Heartland quite to your liking.
Rating: 4 (of 5)

1 comment:

Hollis said...

I really like your reviews, and I check your blog frequently. Would you consider including publisher info? It would make it easier for me to buy buy buy. I MUST check out Non-porn Colleen Coover! Thanks for all your work.