What I read this month

The shine of diving head and feet into new, unknown graphic novels wore off a fair bit this month when the handful of recent ones that I picked up at my local library turned out to be less interesting, or something I didn’t care to read just yet.

One tightrope a graphic novel walks is in artistic style, including choices the colourist makes. When it works well–see Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series as a prime example–it’s gorgeous. The art elevates the story and the final product is better than the sum of its parts. But when a potentially engaging story has artwork that isn’t my style and the colouring is distractingly stark or washed out or otherwise just not to my taste (beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all), I’ll put the book down and walk away.

That’s quietly a concern of mine as a writer, incidentally, is pitching a story to someone who would do something visual with it–a movie or a comic/graphic novel–and have the final product be something I’m less than pleased with yet have my named attached to forever. But one must get past such possibilities if one hasn’t made his own project front to back (via an indie film or as a writer/artist who produces something like the Ascender/Descender series, where one has total artistic control to make the project look exactly as one wants it to) and one hopes to sell material which, by its very nature, is to be turned into such a product.

Then there’s Hellboy, a decades long-running series that I used to really enjoy and wanted to get back into. But the opening pages of Volume 1 from the series I grabbed explain everything that’s happened to the character since I last read his material, and it’s a) a lot and b) interesting-sounding enough that I want to go back and read those stories first to enjoy them prior to this series.

Suffice to say, that all wound up with me reading far fewer graphic novels than I expected to this month, though the last completed book, Anya’s Ghost, which has been on my e-reader for probably the better part of a year, turned out to be a graphic novel as well, and it was solid. While my e-reader isn’t anywhere on my radar for preferred ways to view artwork (the resolution isn’t fantastic and it’s greyscale), Anya’s Ghost is originally greyscale anyway. Perhaps because of that, the final result happily worked well on my little Kobo.

Chrononauts, Vol. 1 – Written by Mark Millar, Illustrated by Sean Gordon Murphy, Colors by Matt Hollingsworth
Chrononauts, Vol. 2 – Written by Mark Millar, Illustrated by Sean Gordon Murphy, Colors by Matt Hollingsworth
Record of a Spaceborn Few – Becky Chambers
Anya’s Ghost – Vera Brosgol

Started and stopped
Dead Letters, Vol. 1: The Existential Op – Written by Christopher Sebela, Illustrated by Chris Visions, Colors by Ruth Redmond and Matt Battaglia
Hellboy in Hell, Vol. 1: The Descent – Written and Illustrated by Mike Mignola, Colors by Dave Stewart

The Shadow Reader – Sandy Williams