May 2021 Books …

Slowed down a little this month with only six books read. They are:

DAREDEVIL Vol. 1: KNOW FEAR by Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto
Zdarsky’s down-and-dirty take on DD begins here and, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s Marvel’s best written book right now. While Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s run on the blind hero restored some much-needed fun to the character, this run is DD as he should be, mired in the painful worst of NYC. I’m going to follow through on this and read volumes 2-4 (I’ve already read vol. 5), but I know the best ones are the ones with Checchetto’s art. I still don’t understand why companies don’t publish books in “seasons,” keeping creative teams together that are clicking instead of insisting that there’s monthly product. I do get that that keeps the industry going, but I’d much rather see Zdarksy and Checchetto do their 5- or 6-issue arcs undisturbed by other artists.

THE PLOT by Jean Hanff Korelitz
This is THE buzz-worthy book right now, and quite frankly I don’t get it. It’s about a writer who steals the plot of a book from a student and then is hounded by someone when the book becomes a mega-bestseller. It’s totally predictable, except for ONE thing and that one thing is the only thing that makes this book just a little bit different. I figured out both the identity of who is hounding the author and the secret of the book within the book early on, so it can’t be that shocking or difficult if I was able to do it (Sherlock Holmes, I ain’t). The book is also a bit plodding in parts.

Great selection of classic DC covers divided by ages (Golden, Silver, etc.) occasionally marred by just so-so writing by Nick Jones. The book has a lot of interesting cover choices, over 350 of them, and they’re presented very nicely in a pleasing layout.

A MAN NAMED DOLL by Jonathan Ames
Really disappointing modern noir set in Los Angeles by showrunner Ames, known for the HBO series Bored to Death. The book is short, and the protagonist, Happy Doll, is a down-on-his-luck PI, caught up in a weird case that involves a friend—who has asked him for an organ transplant—who is murdered. One chapter, in which Ames tells Doll’s depressing-enough-to-slit-your-wrists backstory in wretched detail, almost made me throw my iPad out the window. There’s a sequel coming to this “quirky and charming” (according to Lee Child) character, but I’m going to take a hard pass.

This was a Kickstarter purchase for me; I supported book 2 and was able to add on a copy of the first one. I find Charretier’s art charming and wonderful and she really reminds me of Darwyn Cooke at times. The books are beautifully laid-out and printed and vol. 2 comes with a set of QR codes so you can watch videos of Elsa explaining more about her work. I find it interesting that she’s an artist that appears to be supporting herself almost entirely through publishing her own work via Kickstarter. I know a lot of artists and writers are going that route, but it seems to be increasing, probably due to the Pandemic. Anyway … her work is beautiful; check out her work on Twitter, Instagram, and on her own YouTube channel. Just search Elsa Charretier.

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