How’s your year going?

Last year I was a little late to the party. This year? READY.

Last year I got back on GoodReads.com after a prolonged absence. I started reviewing books again, and tracking my reading progress. It also helps me keep track of books  I want to read, or have read with my brother as part of our two person book club.

In any event, I set myself the lofty goal of reading 79 books by the end of this year. Since I got such a late start last year I only projected 9, but wound up reading 59 since I count graphic novels as well. So far I’m off to a good start. As of right now, I’m at 15/79 books. They range from authors I just discovered to authors that I’ve been reading for years. There are graphic novels as well as regular novels represented. I’m sure that I’ll also be adding in some young adult reads, since Phoebe likes when I read books that she’s read. She’s super into Superhero Girls and Disney’s Descendants, so I know those will be among my titles for this year. (Speaking of which, I need to catch up on Descendants! I think I’m about 2 books and a movie behind.)

Honestly, the young adult books are really good. I read a Descendants book last year (Wicked World Wish Granted). It wasn’t bad – there’s many lessons to be learned about friendship, identity, and the consequences of your decisions. It was in graphic novel format, but there are several tie-in books that are in the series too.

I’d also like to get back to Jonathan Maberry‘s Rot and Ruin series. I’m anxious to see what’s happened with Benny Imura and his longtime crush Nix Riley. I also want to get back to Alessia Giacomi‘s Zombie Girl Saga, because the last Eve Brenner book I read left a really interesting cliffhanger. There are other book series that I want to work on, too many to list, in fact! Not to mention, I am woefully under-read in the world of comics. My plan is to change this up this year. I don’t want to be a superhero fan only based on movies. I’m ready to go full nerd.

If you’re on GoodReads.com too look me up! Let’s be friends! (Feel free to send recommendations my way, either books you’ve liked, or books that you’ve written.)

 

 

 

The Walking Dead – Season Opener

The Walking Dead - Comic-Con - July 22, 2011

Image by starbright31 via Flickr

It started out so promising, it really did.  The survivors made it out of the CDC alive (most of them), and then they find themselves horrifically besieged on a highway by a bunch of walking dead.  Awesome!  They hide under cars and almost make it out undetected, until little Sophia decides to prematurely come out from her hiding place.  She goes running off persued by walkers.  Still doing pretty well.

Then what the hell happened?!

They survive the horde of zombies.  Fine.  They loose the little girl Sophia, also fine.  Shane talks about (read: whines) losing Lori and how he’s going to leave the group.  Fine.  Then they find themselves looking for Sophia in a church, with a few faithful zombies inside.  The first thing I thought when I saw that was, “Oh boy – Danny Boyle anyone?”  That’s right people.  It felt like a rip-off of 28 Days Later – where Cillian Murphy walks into the church and is chased by a few enterprising zombies.  Of course, they group easily overcomes this obstacle, but then they hang around a little bit while a few characters go through a pseudo-epiphany.

The ending cliffhanger did it’s job and made up for some of the more ridiculous moments of the show.  I just wish they’d start working in some of the graphic novel material.  Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll see “The Governor”, and Shane is still certainly alive and kicking, so I’m not holding my breath.  I am hoping that the season stays away from kitschy moments – that would really kill the season.

The make-up effects were savagely on par with what I would expect some sun-dried zombies to be.  The actors were top-notch again, and the dialogue wasn’t stuffy or over-bearing.

Overall – I’m pretty much in the same spot as where I left off.  Hurrah that there’s a zombie TV show, boo-rah that it’s not as awesome as it could be. (Oh, and I keep hearing rumors that there will be a video game based on the TV show.  Not thrilled about that at all.  Some things shouldn’t be poisoned by a need to make money off of people who don’t know a good zombie when they see one.)

As always – let me know what you think!

“The Walking Dead” – Graphic Novel

The Walking Dead

Image by Walt Jabsco via Flickr - The sword-wielding woman would be Michonne. She's a wild one who makes some questionable decisions in the series, but remains an interesting character altogether.

Almost a year ago I read “The Walking Dead: Compendium 1” which was books 1-48).  I read it in anticipation of the beginning of the AMC show of the same name.  Incidentally, “The Walking Dead” was also the first graphic novel series I had read, so it was a new experience for me all the way around.  As with almost everything that becomes a TV show or movie, I wanted to experience it first in print.  I didn’t want to be

I immediately fell in love with the story of “The Walking Dead”.  The people were realistic, you could almost expect them to walk right off the page and into your life.  There were characters that fit specific stereotypes, but not so much that it caused them to be one dimensional.  The story never lagged – character conflict kept the story going when the zombies weren’t present.  There was never a superfluous moment.

The artwork in the book is fantastic.  The angle from frame to frame changes enough to give you an almost panoramic feel.  There are moments in the book when you can close your eyes and almost imagine a 360 degree view of where the characters are standing.  Moore and Aldard have created characters that look different enough that it’s easy to tell from frame to frame who is speaking.  In later non-“Walking Dead” graphic novels I’ve read, I have found it almost impossible to figure out who is who.  Moore and Aldard have also created terrifying frames.  They seem to know just which moment to depict, whether it’s a lone zombie sneaking up on someone or a horde descending on something.

I am currently waiting for Compendium 2 before moving onward.  Each book is so exciting and written so well it’s easily to fly through it in a few hours (after all, books 1-48 only took me a weekend).  I would have happily paid more money if they would have included the covers for the individual books in the Compendium.  They do distinguish between the individual books, but I don’t want to have to go back and buy the covers separately.  I’d rather have them where they belong, which is with the main book.

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” will be back in October – I heard on October 16th, but that may change.  Do yourself a favor and go out and get the Compendium.  It’s a great book in and of itself, but it also makes a great companion for the show (warning – the show doesn’t follow the book).

Before “The Walking Dead”…

Zombie

Image via Wikipedia - not quite "DEADWORLD" but better than I can draw !

…there was “DEADWORLD” (or so they tell me).  I bought the DEADWORLD OMNIBUS a few months ago based on the strength of the cover – it looked awesome.  There are a horde of water color zombies whose features are just barely recognizable.

Immediately “DEADWORLD” distinguishes itself from the typical zombie story.  King Zombie is free from Hell and looking for a specific man and a specific book that can help him to open wide the gates of Hell.  When that task is complete, all the horrors of Hell will walk the Earth and they will kill everything in their path.  Each book in the series adds new characters and new plot twists that keep the story engaging, and the reader guessing.

“DEADWORLD” really shines in its different artists.  Each book has been inked and created by a different mix of people, and the vast differences in styles are strangely complementary.  Some drawings are frantic and sparse and others use more contrast between stark white and deep black.  The different drawings assist the reader in switching from viewpoint to viewpoint within the story.

King Zombie is drawn mostly the same in each book, but with enough differences to fit in well with the overall art.  My favorite part of King Zombie is his attitude: fully badass and cheeky.  He hides beneath shades, and rides around on a motorcycle with a bandanna on his head.  His lines are occasionally amusing – yet I found myself feeling guilty for chuckling along with him.  Admittedly, sometimes I wound up rooting for the old sack of bones (oops – I know I should have like the survivors more, but King Zombie definitely has more interesting moments).

The zombie formula is also different in “DEADWORLD”.  The zombies have added power and a definite hierarchy, in part from their book, and also in part from their direct link to Hell.  They are able to transfer into different bodies, mind-talk from far away, and all heed the call of King Zombie.  Definitely good stuff (from a literary point, anyway).

“DEADWORLD OMNIBUS” is a fairly quick read (named OMNIBUS because it contains all the DEADWORLD books to date), so if you like graphic awesomeness you need to add this to your collection.