Xpress Reviews: Graphic Novels | First Look at New Books, March 29, 2013

Week ending March 29, 2013

Casey, Joe (text) & Steve Parkhouse (text & illus.). The Milkman Murders. Image. 2012. 100p. ISBN 9781607066095. $14.99. F
Casey (Cable; Uncanny X-Men), and Parkhouse (Doctor Who Magazine) invoke the darkness within American suburbia in this new hardcover edition of the 2005 paperback miniseries. Barbara Vale’s husband, Vincent, abuses her, her daughter, Ruthie, has sex with teachers, and her son, Fletcher, kills and skins neighborhood pets. When a grotesque milkman rapes Barbara, it shatters her meek acceptance of her situation and her reality begins to unravel. After Barbara destroys her TV with its false images of happiness, a vision of flawless mother Carol White emerges from the wreckage, urging Barbara to inflict bloody punishment upon her dysfunctional family.
Verdict Casey and Parkhouse more than accomplish what they set out to do. There is nothing pretty about their story, but it’s hard to look away, with a twist ending that would have been worthy of Bill Gaines’s Tales from the Crypt. Animal lovers and the squeamish will want to give it a wide berth. For fans of the horror genre who enjoy an alluring social subtext.—Heather Williams, Whatcom Community Coll., Bellingham, WA

starred review starJodorowsky, Alexandro (text) & Jean-Claude Gal (text & illus.). Diosamante. Humanoids. 2012. 96p. ISBN 9781594650109. $24.95. F
Two of Europe’s great comics creators—writer Jodorowsky (Incal) and artist Gal (Metal Hurlant)—collaborate here on this fantasy epic first published in France in 1992; this is the first-ever English edition. Diosamante is a cruel and beautiful queen who in order to gain the affection of the magical King of Urbal must undergo a spiritual transformation by living as a pauper and thereby obtaining enlightenment. She overcomes obstacles and severe degradation along the way. This was the first volume in what was intended to be a four-volume series. Unfortunately, Gal (1942–94) died before it could be completed. His intricate drawings for the unfinished second volume are presented as well. The story ends with a brief description of further adventures; one can only hope that it may someday be completed.
Verdict Graphic novels readers who enjoy a bit of the metaphysical with their fantasy as well as intricately detailed full-color art will want to read this. Vast amounts of nudity and violence have led this title to be shelved in the adult collection.—Lucy Roehrig, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI

Katin, Miriam. Letting It Go. Drawn & Quarterly. Mar. 2013. 160p. ISBN 9781770461031. $24.95. F
Katin’s memoir We Are on Our Own shares the harrowing experience of her childhood as a Hungarian Jew surviving World War II, with her mother. Her latest title brings us to present-day New York City, where Katin is an artist, mother, and wife. Ilan, Katin’s son, unexpectedly calls his mother and father announcing his immediate trip from Europe to see them. While in New York, Ilan discloses his decision to move to Berlin and apply for Hungarian citizenship. Ilan’s decision forces Katin to confront her feelings about the past, in particular those feelings she harbors for Germans. First, she reluctantly revisits her early experiences as she works to produce the documentation for Ilan’s citizenship application. But it will take a trip to Berlin before she can fully face those past horrors and begin the healing process.
Verdict Katin’s stylish artwork, with penciled coloring and handwritten print for lettering, adds an intimacy to the illustrations without forgoing an elegance that will appeal to many readers, even graphic novel newbies. Recommended for readers interested in Jewish writers and memoir.—Scott Vieira, Sam Houston State Univ. Lib., Huntsville, TX

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"