Underground Reading: Creepers
Underground Reading: This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart

Graphic Novel Round-up: A Touch of Magic

Proposition PlayerFive graphic novels about magic - including two brand-new collections, two classics and a reprint somewhere in between.

Um. Abracadabra!?

Proposition Player (Willingham / Guinan): This reprint of a cute little Vertigo miniseries feels a lot like a rough draft for "Fables", which, in all fairness, it probably is. There's a great set-up, but then plot goes a bit patchy - especially for the last third. The script feels like an awkward attempt at Douglas Adams, but doesn't even achieve Craig Shaw Gardner. Interior art is only ok... it, in turn, feels like an awkward attempt at Phil Foglio at points. The John Bolton covers (collected at the back of the book) are astounding.

Slaine the King (Mills / Fabry): One of the 2000 AD classics. I love the "Weird Tales"-style storyline and serialized feel. Great character (although loathesome), well-researched (or at least, filled with convincing lies) and buckets of tongue-in-cheek gore (at least, I hope it was tongue-in-cheek). Extremely detailed Fabry art makes me want to wash my hands afterwards, but really brings out the best (or worst) in Slaine and his world. 

Suburban Glamour(McKelvie): The very sleek, very modern art really grew on me, as did the lead character, Astrid. Although the story was good, the inevitable conflict was a bit thin. I found myself a lot less concerned about sinister fairies than I was about that sleazy jock who tried to spike Astrid's drink. McKelvie does a great job capturing the moment in this - I'm pretty curious to see if it seems dated in a few years, but somehow doubt it will. Warren Ellis has flagged up McKelvie as one to watch - I totally agree. 

God Save the QueenGod Save the Queen (Carey / Bolton): What is it with the Faerie civil war? Bolton's art adds a much-needed breath of life and drama to this otherwise uninspiring tale. Although it tries to combine the majesty of Faerie with the grittiness of London noir, it falls short on both counts. The main character's angst is irritating and her inevitable redemption is entirely unearned. 

The Books of Magic(Gaiman / Bolton / Vess / Hampton / Johnson): I can't believe I'd never read the original miniseries before. It doesn't feel dated at all and maintains the uniquely bittersweet, fairy tale tone that is characteristic of Gaiman at his best. It looks like it was fun for the artists as well. Wouldn't mind an annotated copy - especially for the final chapter. More Faerie, incidentally - but Gaiman's take on Titania should be familiar to readers of "Sandman".