Friday, May 25, 2012

Graphic Novel: The Avalon Chronicles Volume 1

Avalon Chronicles Volume 1: Once in a Blue Moon by Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir. Illustrated by Emma Vieceli. Oni Press, 2012.

Aeslin thought she was a normal girl...
It all begins with Aeslin's parents reading a story from a very special book; Aeslin's parents tell her about Avalon, the magical dragon Blue Moon, the brave Dragon Knight and the evil Warlord Khrom. During one of these story times her mother suddenly stops reading - saying what happens next is too scary. Aeslin doesn't realize that from then on, things will drastically change, beginning with her father's death resulting in her mother's denial of anything magical.
At 16 years old, Aeslin's life has had no magic in it for eight years, but things begin to change; the catalyst is Cobb's Oddities & Spices - a small store that wasn't appeared out of nowhere - and a certain book. Aeslin soon learns that her mother has been keeping secrets from her after she gets sucked into the very book that she just bought. It turns out that Khrom has taken over the kingdom and Avalon is in dire need of a heroine, but is Aeslin prepared to fill that role? Have the stories from her childhood prepared her for the coming battle? The key to her future lies in the book by Will Redding - a book that allows her to travel between worlds, but will Aeslin fight for Avalon, or will she try and avoid her destiny like her mother did?

The illustrations of Emma Vieceli are well-done and capture the reader's attention. Though the story is a classic retelling of girl-learns-she-is-a-long-lost-princess-and-must-save-the-kindgom, it is still very well done. As an avid reader of  manga and graphic novels, I can't wait until the next one!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Graphic Novel: Courtney Crumrin, Volume 1

Courtney Crumrin Volume 1: The Night Things Special Editionby Ted Naifeh. Oni Press, 2012.

Young Courtney Crumrin is new to the town of Hillsborough, forced to move into her Great Uncle Aloysius' monstrosity of a house by her parents who "ran out of credit cards" and wanted to live the easy life for a while. At school, Courtney, dubbed "Q-Tip," realizes that she doesn't fit in with the rich kids and is lucky enough to make one friend in the form of much-picked-on, Axel. At night, Courtney hears things moving around the house, and when she goes to investigate her great uncle tells her not to worry. Things just don't seem to be getting better as the bullying continues and her parents are in total denial of her claims and insist that she gets along with the local kids. It is only after Axel gets eaten by something in the woods and Courtney stumbles upon a book, The Bestiary of Night Things Great and Small, in her great uncle's library, that Courtney decides to take her future in this town into her own hands. With the books in her great uncle's library as her guides, she captures the goblin from the woods and sets out to turn the town upside-down... but be careful what you wish for, for magic has a price.

This graphic novel by Ted Naifeh combines the story of a misfit girl and a slew of dark and fantastical characters. The artwork draws the reader in as you cheer for Courtney and wonder what will happen to her next. Courtney is a character that must solve her own problems and often manages to do so in creative ways. The story keeps you guessing about what sorts of characters will show up next and what sort of magical things she will find in her great uncle's house and surrounding woods. This was a pretty quick read, only 144 pages, and is suitable for ages 10+.