Hugh Likes Comics: Slaughterhouse-Five

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Slaughterhouse-Five or, The Children’s Crusade: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
Story by Kurt Vonnegut
Written by Ryan North
illustrated by Albert Monteys
Published by Archaia

The Skinny – Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.

Slaughterhouse-Five is both a ground-breaking anti-war noval and a deeply personal account of the firebombing of Dresden. It’s also a seminal work of New Wave Science Fiction. With this distinguished pedigree, adapting the work into a graphic novel would seem an insurmountable task. But Ryan North and Albert Monteys have done an outstanding job capturing the soul of the original book.
Even in text boxes and word balloons, Vonnegut’s signature prose comes through very well, and North does an excellent job trimming the work down to fit the requirements of the new medium. Monteys’s art is likewise on point. His use of a cartoonish style fits the attitude of the story well, and it gets under your skin, flowing from one scene to the next as easily as Billy Pilgrim slipping through time. Then, as with the original book, you will turn a page and be gut-punched by the beauty and horror of everything.
Slaughterhouse-Five is a moving, beautiful, sad, hilarious, enraging true adaptation of a peerless novel. It is among the best works I’ve read this year, and it belongs on the shelves of Vonnegut fans and newcomers alike. You can pick it up in hardbound graphic novel format from your Local Comics Shop, or digitally through Comixology.

Hugh Likes Comics: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1
Written by Ryan North
Drawn by Erica Henderson
Published by Marvel Comics
Some comics are meant to amaze.  They sculpt years of storytelling continuity into jaw-dropping moments of greatness.  Some comics are meant to shock, taking familiar tropes or safe concepts and turning them on their head by framing them in the harsh light of gritty realism.
And some comics are just plain fun.  I suspect “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” falls into the third category.  The eponymous S G is Doreen Green, a jokey Z-lister with the a fluffy tail, a prominent overbite, and the proportional strength and speed of a squirrel.  She also has no idea how to operate outside of the superhero mode, which is about to make her first day of college very interesting.
Written by Dinosaur Comics creator Ryan North and drawn by indie artist Erica Henderson, this book will feel familiar to anyone familiar with their work.  It’s a light, breezy tale filled with misappropriated superhero theme songs, squirrel (fish) out of water humor, and even alt text printed on the bottom of each page.  Even the art has a softer, more cartoonish quality that lends itself well to North’s wacky script.  This isn’t going to be one of those comics that changes everything, but it was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble Doreen and her pet squirrel/sidekick Tiptoe get into with her cat-obsessed roommate, oh, and it looks like she might have to save the world after all, too.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is available from Comixology or your local comics shop.