Friday, December 4, 2009

Just finished Britten and Brülightly, a graphic novel by Hannah Berry. Lovely artwork that's noirish and takes full advantage of the large pages; it's also very well written, with a sad-sack hardboiled voiceover and sharp dialogue. My one complaint about the design is that the voiceover appears as smallish handwriting: it's difficult to read. This was, I think, part of the reason I found the mystery tale tough to follow. Many names, written small: not helpful. That aside, it's fascinating to view and read.

For reasons never explored—which is fine—private detective Britten's partner is a teabag. He carries it with him everywhere, and it talks to him and assists with the investigations. Somehow, this works.

I'm most of the way through the first book of The Compleat Dying Earth. Fittingly, it's called The Dying Earth. Each chapter is a self-contained tale, and there's some crossover between the tales (though with sloppy continuity: a guy stabbed and left bleeding in one chapter reappears two chapters later with nary a reference to the preceding events . . . and things don't end well for him in that story either). The first chapter read like an issue of Doctor Strange written by a mildly precocious 12-year-old. The narrative jumped about rapidly, with characters confronting each other with trap doors, mystic spells and protective runes. The other stories have all been much better. They're fun, somewhat goofy tales which no heft, but the tone is consistently enjoyable.

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