Graphic novels received 10/2/12

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.

On the Ropes: A Novel

On the Ropes

by James Vance and Dan E. Burr

Promo copy:

In this long-awaited sequel to the legendary graphic novel Kings in Disguise, a young circus hand gets involved in dangerous underground activity.

Kings in Disguise was praised by the likes of Art Spiegelman, Neil Gaiman, and Alan Moore. It won two Eisner Awards and has been hailed as one of the ten best graphic novels of all time (Guardian). This highly anticipated sequel tells the story of a young man’s coming of age in a world where the capacity to dream may be a fatal flaw. Set in 1937, On the Ropes continues the story of Fred Bloch, now apprenticed to escape artist Gordon Corey, a star attraction in a traveling WPA circus. Though damaged by the Depression and haunted by past mistakes, each man holds the key to the other’s salvation—but each also harbors a secret that could lead to their mutual destruction. Enacted against a backdrop of violent labor unrest and a nation’s faltering recovery, On the Ropes is a breathtaking visual achievement that delivers a powerful, timeless story.


Kings in Disguise: A Novel

Kings in Disguise

by James Vance and Dan Burr
Introduction by Alan Moore

Promo copy:

“One of the most moving and compelling human stories to emerge out of the graphic story medium.”—Alan Moore

This award-winning tale, set in the height of the Great Depression, received rave reviews long before graphic novels became the phenomenon they are today. Hailed as one of the top 100 comics of all time by The Comics JournalKings in Disguise now reemerges as a classic. It is January 1932, and movie-loving Freddie Bloch is trading his father’s liquor bottles for the cost a matinee: “Dreams were only a dime, but empty bottles [only] brought a penny apiece.” When his father disappears and his brother gets arrested, Freddie finds himself homeless and adrift, trying to survive during the Detroit labor riots and amid the furor of violent, anti-communist mobs. Winner of the Eisner Award and the Harvey Award for Best New Series and an additional Eisner Award for Best Single Issue.


When this duo of books arrived at the Compound, I was dumbfounded. Kings In Disguise ranks among my favorite graphic novels of all time. I had no idea that Vance and Burr were even working on a sequel. This is a must read. You’ll definitely be hearing more about this next  year (On the Ropes isn’t due until March).


Dungeon Quest: Book Three (Vol. 3)  (Dungeon Quest)

Dungeon Quest: Book Three

by Joe Daly

Promo copy:

A double serving of the stoner D&D epic.

In 2011’s Dungeon Quest Book Two, we left our heroes, Millennium Boy, Steve, Lash and Nerdgirl, in the Temple of Bromedes as they began their initiation into the mysteries of Atlantis under the tutelage of the androgynous forest mystic, Bromedes. In this third book, our heroes complete their learning with Bromedes and are guided towards further quests in Rufford Park and beyond, to the Zuur Plateau. However, they are not yet clear of the hazards of Fireburg Forest. Resurfacing to the forest floor (after hitting the strongest weed in the universe, “Orangutan Daydream”), they must survive a perilous cliff path, discover moon shrines, battle wild Womraxes, endure knock-out gas, hypnagogic visions, nakedness and deprivation and, finally, embark on a desperate and courageous mission to rescue Nerdgirl from cruel Forest Bandits and retrieve their stolen equipment.

In this third book, by far the longest installment of the series so far (240 pages!), the reader is also introduced to the history and mysticism of The Romish Book of the Dead, a sexually avant-garde “little forest man” (who becomes the fifth member of the crew), Steve’s newly discovered “battle warping’” abilities (which Millennium Boy dismisses as being amere “kundalini spasm”), weapons and armor upgrades and a whole new level of bizarre comedy, rousing adventure and ass-kicking action — all staged in front of fantastic backdrops replete with strange vegetation, ancient ruins and steampunk imagery.


Another pleasant arrival, I previously praised Volumes 1 and 2.

Millennium Boy, Steve, Lash Penis, and Nerdgirl grab their weapons and journey on a mystical quest to recover the missing parts of the Altlantean Resonator Guitar and to return the borrowed penis sheath to prophet and poet Bromedes. Using role playing game tropes as a template, Daly, creator of the acclaimed Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, illustrates the often twisted reality of the contemporary slacker with little subtlety but from a fresh perspective. Littered with violence, inappropriate sexual innuendos, misguided bravado and infused with hilarity, Dungeon Quest (of which two 136 page volumes are available) promises a uniquely entertaining graphic novel experience.

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