Love and The Apocalypse
It’s a Saturday two-fer.
In the Small by writer/artist Michael Hague is gorgeously conceived with delicious color and picturesque panels. The concept and plot are amazing too – a sudden and bizarre “flash” changes the entire world population into pint-sized versions of themselves. This seemingly eradicates a good chunk of humanity – those who are trapped in crashing planes, cars, etc.
It’s an intriguing concept – and one that seems to be popular not only in comic books but society in general. The Apocalypse makes for great entertainment.
The two main characters are a brother and sister – Mouse and Beat. It’s fine that they have nicknames (they are really Hieronymus and Beatrice) but as the plot progresses…everyone starts having weird names. Mountain, Crazy Girl, Plant Man (I made a few of those up). That didn’t really work for me. Just because people shrink – it doesn’t mean they lose their names.
The dialogue was also somewhat stilted, but I’m guessing that has something to do with this being touted as “a children’s graphic novel.” There was no profanity, nudity, etc. Quite the change of pace from the content I’ve been reading lately.
I’m also not a HUGE fan of fantasy (though I’ve been known to dip into the fantasy barrel from time to time), and I suppose I didn’t realize what I was getting into from the onset. It’s important to mention my bias against the genre though – because I became increasingly less interested the more it slipped into the fantasy realm.
Despite the younger/fantasy audience the book was geared towards – I think “Mouse’s” visionary status came on too fast. I wouldn’t have had a problem with a flashback, or even a bit of foreshadowing. But we were pretty much crammed into everything within the first few pages. It all made sense and came off – but not without feeling awkward.
The whole plot – as brilliant and interesting as it was – went by at hyper speed. This could have been a great series but it ended up as a short graphic novel. And even the ending lends itself to something more, but there was no information about another installment or a continuation of this single graphic novel.
There will – however – be a movie. I don’t think Hague is attached as the writer, and it’s being helmed by Warner Brothers. One wonders who it will be geared towards – older or younger adults? The Apocalypse has always seemed like a more mature theme, and it would be interesting to see how a children’s movie would tackle it.
A SIDE NOTE ABOUT COMIC MOVIES: I swear that I had no idea this had been optioned. I feel like a dork for writing so much about comics being turned into movies. But, in case you hadn’t noticed, that’s the thing now. So, we might as well get used to it. And hopefully enjoy the films as much as the books.
12 Reasons Why I Love Her is a short graphic novel written by Jamie S. Rich , drawn/inked by Joelle Jones, and published by Oni Press – which I mention because it’s local (Portland, Oregon). And – it’s also nice to know where the books are coming from.
The promise of the cover – that it would a love poem of sorts from a male perspective paid off inside, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the intriguing manga-esque art continued as well. Sometimes cover art can be quite deceiving. Here’s an example of Joelle Jones’ style, which I have to say, I am impressed by.
It was a quiet little love story – filled with vignettes that nerdy comic-book-ites could probably easily relate to. The vignettes were not chronological, so I was initially confused upon finishing the book. Dan read it after me, and enjoyed it even more than I did.
When I questioned him about the depressing ending, he insisted that it was an earlier scene, and I’d actually mis-read the “end” scene which was about two scenes prior. If that’s not confusing enough.
So yeah – it might be easy to get a little lost, and the story is told fairly out of sequence. But overall, the writing was fun and poignant, the characters believable and interesting, and the art – again – I really dug it. Not just because it’s a woman artist, but I think I’m a fan of the American-Manga style.
I’m not so much into manga just yet. I’m sure if I tried some, I would like it…but for the moment, I’m enjoying myself enough with American graphic novels and comics that I haven’t really breached the manga divide. Although I have enjoyed a lot of anime – Hellsing (Alucard), Cowboy Bebop, and several Hayao Miyazaki films.
So – I would suggest waiting for In the Small to hit theatres.
I would recommend reading 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, but mainly for the artwork of Joelle Jones. She’s a kick ass artist who I think we could see more of in the future. I know I’d like to check out more work she’s done. She’s apparently signed up on the Minx label that DC puts out – it’s geared specifically towards teenage girls. It looks pretty promising.
Much Love, Mindy C