31 May 2010

Book(s) of the Week (63): The DFC Library by various authors/illustrators

One of my favourite reading experiences of the last few years was the DFC comic; exciting stories, brilliant artists, all unfolding under one cover, aimed at a wide spectrum of readers. It was hugely popular, and deservedly so. Now three of the DFC authors get their own books!

Good Dog Bad Dog Book 1 by Dave Shelton, is a hilarious noir detective romp, with Kirk Bergman, his secret flea weapon, and the frighteningly strong, bumbling, milkshake-loving Duncan McBoo. Kirk has a dark past, and is recovering from the death of his former sidekick, Big Beagle. Duncan’s window-shattering arrival changes everything, and they are soon out-quipping one another as they hurtle through a series of madcap adventures that pit them against some of the meanest dogs in town, from Pug Ugly to the diminutive evil genius, Wah Wah Johnson. Full of slapstick visual gags and great wordplay, you’ll soon develop a soft spot for these two lovable detectives, as they track down treasure, kidnapped chef Anton le Boof, and a whole lot of trouble.

The Spider Moon Book 1 by Kate Brown is a moving, exciting fantasy story. A beautifully drawn, and vividly realised alternative universe. We meet the gifted and mischievous Bekka Kiski, who lives on the lower islands of the Kapchu archipelago. Her community make their living by diving for spinefish, and Bekka has a powerful and mysterious connection to the creatures of the deep, from Fii her Dodecapod to a giant whale. She and her family are falsely accused by the winged Dathar people of cheating, and her mother is taken prisoner. Bekka tries to clear their name; she knows they are not guilty, but who is? As she investigates, she meets the dashing Prince Kaliel, and together they uncover a dark and dangerous plot. If this wasn’t enough to contend with, there is also the terrifying legend that the sky will fall on them, a legend that seems to be coming true. Only the floating island and Bekka’s ingenuity hint at the possibility of escape. Superbly realised fantasy landscapes, from the depths of the sea to the labyrinthine Dekkan palace, and subtle characterisation, mean you’ll definitely want to visit spider moon, you just won’t want to leave. This is bold ambitious storytelling, that leaves you wanting more. I can’t wait for the next instalment!

Mezolith Book 1 by Ben Haggarty and Adam Brockbank. This book is something special. I read a lot of comics, but this one of the best I’ve encountered; moving, haunting, thrilling and compelling. Once you enter the story, it wont let you go. Ben Haggarty takes you back 10,000 years to the dark world of Poika and his tribe, the Kansa. Adam Brockbank’s stunning artwork leads you right into Poika’s world – under the thundering hooves of a giant buffalo, facing off against a giant, ravenous demonic baby Urga, and struggling against the malevolent evil of the Owl people. The lush visual detail will have you revisiting pages in wonder, noticing telling clues which the next chapter builds on. The layered narrative creates a powerful mythic journey, revisiting fairytales you thought you knew, but in Mezolith nothing is as it seems. On his journey, Poika is assisted by the enigmatic bird-woman Korppi Vehlo. Using his wits, bravery and her visonary gifts, he faces increasingly dangerous foes, taking him into the dark heart of a world that will haunt and horrify you long after you turn the last page.

Recommended by Ariel Kahn

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