Written and Drawn by Various
Published by NBM

Reviewed by Marc Mason

Three newbies from my former employer, including one of the more anticipated books of the fall season…

…Which would be LOVERS’ LANE, the latest Treasury of XXth Century Murder by the great writer/artist Rick Geary. This time around, the master of historic mayhem tackles the case of a Reverend and his lover (both married to others) who were shot and sliced in New Brunswick, New Jersey in the autumn of 1922. It was a delicious scandal: cheating spouses, jealous townspeople, crazy relatives, incompetent police, unreliable witnesses… if it happened today, it would still be tabloid fodder for months. Geary takes you through the entire tale in zesty detail, from the building relationship between the two victims, to the cuckolded spouses and their (sort of) alibis, to witnesses looking for fame and fortune of their own, to false arrests… all in weaving a picture of a murder that ninety years later remains unsolved. Still, that’s what makes these books so great. Geary’s impeccable research helps him lay out the facts in ways that police and prosecutors never quite could, and he allows you, the reading jury, to come to conclusions of your own. It makes for gripping reading, and once you start, you can’t put it down. LOVERS’ LANE is another instant classic from a creator who does this better than anyone ever has. Highly recommended.

Writer/artist Margreet de Heer takes one of the world’s most ponderous and tedious subjects – philosophy – and breathes real life into it with PHILOSOPHY: A DISCOVERY IN COMICS. To say I went into this book feeling hesitant would be an understatement; a graphic novel explaining the history of philosophy? Sounded like the perfect cure for insomnia. But I was completely and utterly wrong; this book combines simple and elegant visuals with a linear explanation of the topic to create a work that pumps energy and intrigue into the topic. Whether it’s biographical information about the great philosophers or a comprehensible explanation of their works that conveys what they were about in modern language, everything here just works. I was completely impressed by how good this book is, and it is most definitely a keeper.

The one real problem I had with TAXES, THE TEA PARTY, AND THOSE REVOLTING REBELS is the completely stupid title of the book. By emphasizing those words instead of the subtitle (“A History in Comics of the American Revolution”) it panders to the far-right wing of the modern Republican party and acts as a turnoff to moderates or progressives who might otherwise be interested in the contents of the book. And that’s a damned shame, because the contents of the book are really quite good; writer/artist Stan Mack offers up a terrific, well-researched look at the events that formed this country, and the men who put those events into motion. These days, history is barely presented as more than a soundbyte. Kids might know that Washington crossed the Delaware, but do they know why? Mack explains the circumstances perfectly. This happens quite a bit in the book, making it educational as well as entertaining. Terrific stuff.


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