Sunday, February 09, 2014

All the Whimsy

More comics!  Two ARCs I received ages ago, then lost in the Great Laptop Crash.  But these books were irresistible--I went out and got my hands on them anyway, and my week has been full of whimsy.

The Monster on the Hill, by Rob Harrell, is a dream and a chuckle.  I'm seeing bits of my life in everything I read and watch and see these days, and this mopey monster is no exception.  Low grade depression has rarely been so charming.

Every village has a monster--to keep them on their toes, wreak a little havoc, show any invaders who's boss.  But the town of Stoker-on-Avon has a problem: their monster, Rayburn, is not much of a monster.  He mopes, never rampages, and can't seem to get up a good roar.  The village elders send a discredited gentleman scientist to sort him out, and he and his saucy newsboy sidekick attempt to show Rayburn that he really is a very good monster.

I don't know if I can really explain how much I enjoyed this book.  The newsboy's extras are more up to date than my news feed, the monsters have trading cards and souvenir stuffed animals, and everyone's just rather jolly.  Even poor depressed Rayburn is polite an apologetic about his shortcomings.  I loved the warmheartedness of everyone in this book--it's about friends taking care of each other, and all the new and old friends who rally around Rayburn just made my heart swell up.  It's really a very sweet book about mild depression.  Who knew?

Bandette, Volume One: Presto, by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, is one of the Frenchest things I've ever read.  The watercolor-style painting is lovely and reminds me to those reproductions of French posters that everyone had in the kitchen of their second apartment after college.  The book is populated by detective inspectors, ballet students, and a criminals wearing masks and zipping around on mopeds.  It's like a dream of what a heist movie should be, starring Audrey Hepburn as Bandette.

The absolute charm of it mostly makes up for the fact that it's a fairly thin confection--there is plenty of conflict, but our heroine and all of her friends are brave, smart, sassy, talented, loyal, and good.  The police officer who both chases her and enlists her help is curmudgeonly but warm-hearted.  The bad guys are all absolutely wicked, but most of the thieves here are full of honor.  So there isn't much character development, no depths or angles here.  Just a delightful bite of cotton candy.

If it was a 300 page novel, I might not think this charm was worth it.  But in the a slim comic with winsome art, I'll be reading the next one, and rewatching How to Steal a Million very soon.

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