Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sailor Twain

Mark Siegel's Sailor Twain has some nice artwork. It's not very often that you see a graphic novel, told entirely in charcoal. This makes for a nice change. There is one problem though; the story is very slow to get moving.

The book tells the story of a steamboat captain who finds a wounded mermaid in the Hudson. It takes four chapters before this actually happens. Then we spend about 200 pages where the captain falls in love with the mermaid at the expense of his marriage, the ships owner sleeps with every woman he can find, and we learn a lot about the mythology of mermaids thanks to a writer named C. G. Beaverton. After that we finally get a reasonably climactic conclusion.

Even the big chunk where nothing is really happening is kind of interesting. The parts detailing mermaid mythology were entertaining. The owner's budding relationship with C. G. Beaverton was cool. Even with that, this large hunk of story is kind of a drag.

It's not a bad book, but I do think it could have been better.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Psycho USA

Just what is it about psycho killers that people find fascinating? I don't know, but Harold Schechter's Psycho USA: Famous American Killers You Never Heard Of is a great collection of obscure American killers. There are serial killers, mass murderers, Bluebeards, poisoners, and robbers and kidnappers who just sort of snapped and started carving people up.  This is some gruesome stuff.  It's the sort of thing that should appeal to fans of true crime and the more gruesome sorts of horror.

The only complaint I have is that not all of the killers seem like psychos. Ada Lebouf had a reasonable case for self defense, and even she was guilty, the case seemed more like a standard love triangle than a psycho killing. The rest, though all seem like total nutjobs.

This is a cool book.