Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New Graphic Novels

P.L.A.I.N. Janes and Janes in Love
Looking for a new kind of she-ro? Meet Jane, an ex-New Yorker living in suburbia after a homemade bomb hospitalizes her. A fellow victim helps her recuperate as he lays unconscious in the bed next to hers. After the explosion, she finds his journal titled Art Saves and grabs it for him. She hangs onto that concept as a lifeline and uses it to begin anew. As she goes to a new school full of strangers, she seeks out quiet beauty and shy students to befriend. Periodically she writes her John Doe, still in the hospital, and confesses her depressing thoughts to him. Her new friends were seemingly waiting for her to come and give them purpose. They all ate lunch together, silently, and were all named Jane. MainJane brings them all together with her plan to bring art to their boring neighborhood. Thus, People Loving Art In Neighborhoods is born. Unfortunately many see their work as vandalism. The girls must work harder and more secretly to continue their work. In the 2nd volume, they make new allies and learn a lot of lessons about love.
Maximum Ride
Well, for any of you who know my opinion of the novel Maximum Ride, you'll probably be happy to know that I am much more positive about the way the graphic novel turned out. The artist (NaRae Lee) is a Korean girl who is a university student if I'm not mistaken. To be so talented at such a young age... The main criticism I have for the graphic version is that it ends at p. 197 of the novel. That's not even halfway through the book. But I must admit, it's a fairly good place to break if you ignore the fact that the subtitle is The Angel Experiment and Angel is still inexplicably in captivity. My other criticism is that Max is blonde according to this artist. Well, there's a couple of other minor things along these lines: the way their wings disappear without the aid of large jackets, Nudge's lip color, the Erasers' appearance of inhumanity (after all, they're hybrids too). Besides all that, readers will likely enjoy the graphic novel whether or not they've read the book. It sticks very closely to the plotline of the novel, but readers must beware of going from the graphic novel to the second book of the prose series!!
In Odd We Trust
This book is another adaptation of a story from its novel. This one by adult author Dean Koontz. I don't think this series will appeal as much to young adult readers because the protagonist is 20. He "sees ghosts" which makes me wonder if the author wrote it after the movie "The Sixth Sense", but I didn't research to find out. Honestly, if you want a story of a mediator for teens, I'd suggest Cabot's Mediator series, but since this one is a graphic novel, I guess there's reason it may appeal to different readers. It's a bit hard to draw ghosts possibly, because the illustrator did not distinguish them from the other characters. It actually takes a while to see that some are indeed only viewed by the main character, Odd. I must digress here a minute to discuss the art. Oddly enough, the artist, Queenie Chan, did her own graphic novel series about ghosts-the Dreaming. I wasn't particularly enthralled with it either. I just don't like her faces, for one. That story also had a tendency to drag but have cliffhanger endings. Nonetheless, I was shocked when I recognized the style of the faces and hair in Koontz's book and found out it was the same artist. I think for this title, they shouldn't have ventured into the graphic arena. But that's just me!

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