Chunkin’ with Gene
In this week’s review episode of The Comics Alternative, Derek and Gene discuss two recent releases. They begin with Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time, the Complete Series (IDW Publishing), written by Scott and David Tipton and illustrated by a host of artists. First, they place the book within context, discussing last year’s 12-issue Prisoners of Times miniseries and the 50th anniversary of the BBC’s Doctor Who television show. Then they look at the book as a whole — after a brief comment or two about their own histories as Whovians — focusing on its narrative structure, its variety of stylistics takes on the Doctor, and the way its premise springs from an easily overlooked event in the BBC series that occurred with the ninth Doctor. The Two Guys also discuss briefly the history of the franchise in comics, pointing out that one of the great features in the Prisoners of Time miniseries, and retained in the book, is the various retrospectives on the Doctor Who comics. If you’re a fan of the television series, or just a lover of good science fiction stories, this nice hardbound edition is for you.
Next, Gene and Derek turn their attention to Renaud Dillies’s Betty Blues (NBM). This graphic album just recently came out from NBM’s ComicsLit imprint, although it was originally published in French in 2003…and was the winner of the Angoulême Comics Festival Prize for First Comic Book in 2004. Since then, Dillies has written Bubbles and Gondola and Abelard, both also translated and published through NBM, but now his first book is available to English readers in the U.S. The guys remark on the beauty of Dillies’s art and the sophistication of his story. While it might appear at first glance that this is a book for young readers — with its funny animals, rounded drawings, large panels, and colorful pages — this narrative is anything but juvenile. In fact, Betty Blues is a somber and ambiguous work that delves into mature themes and resists simple resolutions.