Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
Russian Optimism: Dark Nursery Rhymes to Cheer You Right Up

Ben Rosenfeld. BigBen Comedy, $30 (68 pages) ISBN 978-0-9908552-0-0

“In my childhood, my mom gouged out my eyes/ So that I wouldn’t find the jam./Now I don’t watch movies and I don’t read fairy tales, / But on the bright side, I smell and hear really well.” Thus begins Rosenfeld’s collection of translated Russian nursery rhymes. Rosenfeld grew up in the Soviet Union, and his father would always get him laughing by reading him some of these rhymes. Cannibalism, murder, patricide, and mutilation abound. People are run over by lawn mowers, plowed into by trains, and bit by rats lurking in toilets. Each rhyme features an illustration, its original Russian version, an English translation, and a transliteration. Sinister and grim, the rhymes are translated without rhyming, which unfortunately robs them of much of their original appeal. They are also not served by the illustrations, which never quite suit the tone of the rhymes and often seem too silly. In all, this is an appealing project that never quite comes together, like a less funny version of Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 03/27/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Swords of Glass

Sylviane Corgiat and Laura Zuccheri, trans from the French by Quinn and Katia Donoghue. Humanoids Inc., $39.95 (204p) ISBN 978-1-59465-109-0

Writer Corgiat (Elias the Cursed) and artist Zuccheri (Julia) create a fantasy world as whimsical as it is menacing in this imaginative epic. Yama, the bloodthirsty heroine, is only a young child when the story begins, but she dreams of taking revenge on the man who tore apart her family. A chance to do so appears in the form of a sword that transforms any foe into glass with the slightest scrape. Yama’s destiny, however, lies far beyond vengeance: her sword is the key to escaping her rapidly dying planet. Zuccheri’s visuals are the book’s strongest point, especially her lush depictions of the natural world—the frequent forest scenes are breathtaking. She also shines as a character designer: each soldier, merchant, fishwife, and warrior radiates personality, and it’s delightfully easy to get lost in Yama’s brightly colored world. Despite these strengths, however, the book is hampered by dialogue that leaves everyone saying exactly what they mean. Though this isn’t a fatal flaw, it is often awkward, especially in moments of heightened emotion. Overall, a solid adventure for readers of any age. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 03/27/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Sexcastle

Kyle Starks. Image, $15.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-63215-300-5

This latest effort by Starks (Boo! Halloween Stories) will have readers turning its pages faster than a lethal ex-con super-assassin can dispatch villains with a butterfly knife. That act also pretty much sums up this graphic novel, in which the eponymous hero, just released from prison after having served time for killing the vice president, trades in his assassination skills to work in a humble flower shop. His old foes should know better than to take him on again—but they try anyway. Enter a combination of bad guys and worse guys, all dead set on taking out the hero, only to find out that it’s a futile task. The pace of the narrative, inspired by the often ferocious momentum of ’80s action movies, is fast and furious. Sexcastle doesn’t look like much of an assassin—more like a hippie with an eye patch—but during the action sequences Starks draws him as having speed to rival the Flash and knife skills that would humble an Iron Chef. All in all, Starks’s forceful line work, intense close-ups, and breakneck pacing make Sexcastle entertaining in the most lethal way. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 03/27/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Intelligent Sentient?

Luke Ramsey. Drawn & Quarterly, $22.95 (64p ) ISBN 978-1-77046-177-2

The worldbuilding in this debut graphic novel is organized only by loose themes, but Ramsey (and a few collaborators, including Michael DeForge) brings it all to life in incredible detail, challenging readers to study the interlocking nature of the art in this comic. Ramsey packs a superhuman level of intricacy into each page, exploring a science fiction setting. Opening with images of birth, the comic builds to a city filled with life, including humanoid trees and gigantic figures that interact in surreal ways. Larger shapes, like faces and planets, are composed of smaller elements, inviting the reader to discover them all. Snake-like squiggly lines shape into patterns in the manner of Escher, and further humanoid figures reappear, making more distinctive elements—such as an airplane—pop out against the rest. The use of a dull pink-brown color scheme gives the sparing use of brighter colors a similar impact. The art recalls other abstract comics creators, including Jesse Jacobs (who worked on two of the pages) and Theo Ellsworth. Anyone willing to look past the lack of a plot is in for a visual treasure trove of hidden delights. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 03/27/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.