Let’s take a look at a couple of new books from the folks at NBM and their Papercutz subsidiary, shall we?
I’ve been enjoying Papercutz’ resurrection of the CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED books, so I had high hopes when the latest edition, THE RAVEN AND OTHER POEMS by Edgar Allan Poe arrived in my mailbox. Seeing the name of Gahan Wilson attached as the artist only whetted my appetite even more. So I was rather surprised to put the book down upon finishing and realize that I felt somewhat disappointed by this effort. Certainly, Wilson’s illustration work is excellent; the problem comes in that this book feels like a cheat to its format. The CI brand is known for turning into comics some of the great works of literature; however, Wilson does not do this at all. Instead, he simply adds evocative illustrations alongside the text of Poe’s work. If the book weren’t part of CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED, I’d have had no problem with that; but because it is, I cannot give it my full endorsement- this is not really CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED as it is supposed to work. If you’re just looking for an accessible book of Poe’s work, this will work fine for you. But if you’re expecting a comic or graphic novel, you’ll be disappointed.
On the flip side comes a third installment from the Zenith Era of DUNGEON. “Back In Style” is written by the always amazing team of Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim and drawn by Boulet, and puts the focus squarely on Herbert the warrior duck. The Dungeon Keeper loses ownership of the facility, sending Herbert and Marvin on a mission back to the city of Herbert’s birth on a perilous mission… which is doubly more perilous since there is an order to behead Herbert if he ever sets foot in the town again. Throw in a funny love story, a powerful battle that finds Marvin up against impossible odds, and a fight to overthrow a Duke-dom, and you get one of the best DUNGEON books yet. The Zenith books have been my favorite in the series, though they are a bit lighter in spirit than the melancholy and emotionally more powerful efforts in the Twilight era. I’ve never done anything less than offer my maximum recommendation for any DUNGEON book, though, and I’m not about to stop now. These books are as good as comics gets.