Underground Film Journal

Graphic Novels


The Ticking

But its the subtleties of the story that really make The Ticking by Renee French, and published by Top Shelf, a very powerful book.

Actually, the surreal elements of the story never seem that oddball or out of the ordinary since they’re presented so matter-of-factly.


Renee French’s latest graphic novel, Micrographica, answers the age old question “What’s five inches by five inches, but as deep as the whole in your heart?”

Published by Top Shelf, this is a tiny, tiny book, able to fit snugly into the palm of your hand

Hugs: Bloodpond

At first glance, Hugs: Bloodpond could easily be mistaken for a children’s book. Ok, with it’s graphic depictions of cartoon violence, human sacrifice, drug use and naked women maybe not so easily. But it does star Hugs, a cuddly, retarded looking polar bear floating across a surreal fantasyland on a wild adventure that takes him from Heaven to Hell and to the deep jungle.

The Invisibles: Apocalipstick

Since Morrison otherwise works on characters and material he has no final control over, The Invisibles is his chance to explore a world entirely of his own creations. Thus he fills the comic with all kinds of outlandish ideas, but at the same time Apocalipstick reads more like a collection of short semi-connected stories than a full cohesive package.

Fantastic Four: 1 2 3 4

After moderately enjoying two of Grant Morrison’s Animal Man books and one of his slim JLA collections, I was very interested in getting into this book since it was the first all-in-one collection of Morrison’s on my library tour of his work.

The Contract With God Trilogy

Contract sets the tone of the entire trilogy by being terribly bleak and heartbreaking, made even sadder by Eisner’s tragic revelation in the introduction about what inspired him to write this tale. There are flashes of hope in the rest of the trilogy, but the overall theme seems to be that life is a series of tragedies that must be persevered through.

Terra Obscura

So now we come to Terra Obscura, a relatively recent (originally published in 2003) superhero comic without that 70 or 40 year backstory that comes with reading DC and Marvel comics. However, the book is a spin-off of another comic called Tom Strong, which has only been around since 1999.But reading the first page of the book, which was an introductory text page, sent my head spinning.


From France, we get the critically acclaimed Persepolis series by Marjane Satrapi, which is constantly compared to Art Spiegelman’s Maus (which you’ll see I didn’t do in my review of the books). And now David B.’s immensely well-received Epileptic, which was actually begun in France prior to Persepolis by three or four years.

Persepolis 1 & 2

But the Persepolis books aren’t overtly political, but the politics infect the personal during a time of such great upheaval for Iran. Marjane’s entire childhood is thrown upsidedown when she’s thrust from a relatively free lifestyle to one of religious oppression where she is forced to wear the veil in public and is no longer allowed to socialize with boys at school.

The Quitter

I don’t really know Harvey at all and I was surprised to realize that he has hardly, if ever, written about his childhood. The Quitter remedies that situation, telling the story of Harvey growing up in Cleveland as a young boy in the ’40s to becoming a teenager in the ’50s. Unsurprisingly, given the usual tone of his autobiographical tales, it’s a fairly bleak picture of his childhood: Born to poor Polish immigrants, growing up in rough neighborhoods and having a tough time making friends.