I was looking in a library, a little bit bored, waiting for the rest of the family to choose their books. There was a section of Graphic Novels, and I was having a peek when I found this old hardback book and thought someone had put it back in the wrong section. Anyway, I had a little glimpse inside and was very surprised to find it was a comic, albeit disguised as a normal hardback book.
So I took note of the author, Linda Medley, and ordered it on Amazon.
I started this last week after attempting Love & Rockets book 14. Love and Rockets was one of my favourite books...was. I've just got more fed up over the years with the increasing swearing and sex which seems to more often than not try and cover the fact that the story is going hardly nowhere. It's definatley more miss than hit as the years and books have gone by...anyway, I did'nt even finish it I was so fed up with it.
So I picked up Castle Waiting and was surprised that it was a pretty straightforward fairy tale about Sleeping Beauty, allbeit told in a slightly different way, but she falls asleep for 100 years and is awakened by her Prince Charming, and that is where any similarity to a normal fairy tale stops. The princess leaves with her Prince. "I'll write" she promises, but the castle is left (waiting) for Royalty to come again.
That is only the prologue.
It was a completley refreshing story reading about decent people treating each other well, caring for each other, being genuine friends, even if, the resident Knight is a horse, the Castle overseer is a Stork, the resident holy Sister is a bearded lady etc etc.
I read somewhere (the intro I think) that it's not a story about Good vs Evil, but about being a hero in your own way. I dont know if that's how I'd sum it up, I think it's a story about friendship and how precious that is.
If I had to leave a score, it's full marks. The 500+ pages flew by and now I need to see if there's any other books by Linda Medley.
I bought this on a whim after reading a short review that basically said: A Superman story that's actually good!
The story is based on one premise, and it's an extremely clever one with incredible cosequences: What if Superman had landed on Earth 12 hours earlier? ...and then been brought up as a good communist at the height of the cold war to become Mother Russias ultimate weapon/deterrant.
America is left with the cleverest man on Earth to find a solution: Lex Luthor.
Along the way we see the Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and a Russian Batman all try and 'stop' Superman from what seems at first an ideal way of leadership.
Enough said, if you have'nt read this I dont want to spoil it for you.
It's definatley one of the most clever stories I've read in a while with extremely well thought out issues. What could have been a boring political book is nothing but entertaining and a real page turner. And the ending...? One of the most jaw dropping that you'll remeber for a long long time.
Mark Miller is writer, Dave Johnson and Kilian Plunkett on artwork duties.
I've been going back in time recently.
It all started after reading the Frank Miller graphic novel "Martha Washington Saves The World".
Dave Gibbons has done the artwork, but what really threw me was the guy who coloured it. Angus McKie.
That's what took me back in time. Angus.
Cardiff, 1979/1980 ish. There used to be a book store somewhere opposite where David Morgans used to be. Now I think DM's been turned into flats. It was the sort of bookstore Spoils is. Full of new books but at discount prices. The sort of shop as a kid I found all sorts of weird and wonderful art books for however much pocket money I'd managed to save.
Examples like, The Tolkien Bestiary by David Day. The Edgar Rice Burroughs bestiary, again by Day. The Alien illustrated story, bundled with the art of Alien and the Photostory of Alien for £1.
It was the sort of place that had those huge books on sci-fi travel with Chriss Foss covers, where the idea was you either looked at supposed holidays in space or gazed at chronicles of shipwrecks in space.
It was the Tolkien bestiary that got a lot of it started. I'd seen some pictures of it in a Sunday Times magazine at the next door neighbours house. They were the most fantastically intricate pictures I'd ever seen, and a style that would dominate my future in art class and college.
They were Ian Millers work. I bought the Bestiary again recently, I dont know where my original had gone, possibly lost like so many other comics and books in the 4 house moves I've done in recent years. Ian is'nt the only artist featured in the book, but he may as well be, as I'm sorry to say, the rest just faded in comparison to his vision of Tolkiens world.
I later found another book of his in the shop. Green Dog Trumpet. As I remember, there were no words. It was just panel after panel in the style of a comic of his pen and ink genius. I remember trying to copy the style in my bedroom with a rotary pen and a ruler. I did OK getting my 'O' and 'A' levels in art, but it was nowhere near his standard. I forgot about Ian for a long time, until he surfaced again in Games Workshop material, but I only recently remembered the first images of his I'd seen.
There were other books too, some I'd completely forgotten about until I saw Angus's name recently.
So Beautiful and So Dangerous. Possibly the most breathtaking full colour painted 'comic' I'd ever seen at that time. I call it a comic, as it had panels and speech bubbles, but really it was more an art book, showcasing Angus's incredible talent. Such a big talent that leads me to wonder how on earth he's colouring other peoples work now? Agreed, it's Dave Gibbons, one of comics's giants, but still, Angus is a genius in his own right.
Lastly, the only other artist that has surfaced again in my memory is Phillipe Druillet and his Lone Slone/Delirius book.
My biggest memory of this has to be the binding, and how quickly the book fell apart! but it was another example of what a graphic novel could be, at a time when the genre did'nt really exist in the UK. The artwork was top notch, the design was incredible. I remember a sort of art nouveau meets Mike McMahon.
Anyway, I've been busy on Amazon looking up these books, seeing even more I'd forgotten, like Ian Miller's Secret Art, and Druillet's Yragael/ Urm which i always planned to buy, but never did. They've all managed to find there way into my book wishlist, now 2 pages long, and hopefully will make it to the bookshelf soon.