'Troll Bridge' Review by Counter Monkey John Arminio

It’s that Neil Gaiman story that’s a mature fairy tale for adults with the pale, wan protagonist dressed in black.

Um, I need more.

You know, the one where childhood sins have a lifelong effect on the soul of the main character? With art by Coleen Doran?

Um, can you be more specific?

Heavy implementation of magical realism with a sympathetic antagonist and lettering by Todd Klein?

I need more….

Hardy har har. In all seriousness, I am a sucker for Neil Gaiman and one would be hard pressed to find something of his I don’t love. But why should anyone else love him, and Troll Bridge, the way that I do?

Troll Bridge is a graphic novel adaptation of a Neil Gaiman short story originally published in 1998, two years after the conclusion of his magnum opus in the comic book world, the Universe-spanning Sandman series. Troll Bridge itself is sort of a distillation of every Neil Gaiman trope and why they work and how they are conducive to compelling storytelling. Since the 1980s, Neil Gaiman has picked or has attracted talented and perfectly suited collaborators; creative individuals who complement and enhance his work. Colleen Doran is one such collaborator, one who has been illustrating Gaiman’s writing since the Sandman days. Her ability to manifest the fantastical tales that Gaiman creates in lucid dreaming detail is unparalleled. Her characters are immediate and realistically rendered, even when they are mystical beings like trolls, but the worlds they inhabit, the environs they cross, are straight out of our shared dreams.

Troll Bridge’s protagonist is as archetypal a character as can be envisioned; a young boy exploring a newly discovered path. Such journeying youths are familiar to anyone who has read Gaiman’s comics or novels, or fantasy literature in general. What makes this venture so engrossing is the landscape Gaiman’s character chooses to traverse across is initially a meadow so pristine and glowing, it brings to mind suggestions of Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World. Like Wyeth’s painting though, there is an air of foreboding mystery, a sense of something lurking, waiting to entrap us. And oh, is there ever.

The titular troll’s entrance is both shocking and expected. Sure, we go from golden meadow to a Mirkwood-like maze of gnarled trees and shade of unnatural darkness, but our protagonist’s curiosity and urgency in pressing forward provide a certain veil of security. Seeing the troll’s tusks, giant stature, and wiry-haired nakedness break this bucolic boyhood fantasy of woodsy exploration is thrilling; a sudden material danger in a world previously devoid of it (or at least concrete forms of it). When the troll declares that he wishes to “eat your life,” it is almost as if he means the reader just as much as the young boy who has wandered too far into this land of tangible dreams.

Since this encounter occurs so early in the book, it’s obvious that the boy’s life is not eaten, but his method of escape lends an air of dark foreboding to the man he might become. Like the boy, the future of his idyllic childhood town, tucked away in a countryside of memory, is only destined for darker things. Such is the synchronicity of so much of Gaiman’s work. The same horrors are occurring to the boy as are committed by the boy as are enacted upon the land the story takes place in. Even the reader is not immune to this effect, as the caress of the troll’s gnarled, clawed hands reach out from Doran’s luminous pages and Gaiman’s glowing prose to caress our face just as they threatens the boy’s.

As Troll Bridge progresses, this multi-mirrored storytelling continues. The town of our protagonist’s birth drifts further and further from the form he once knew just as he becomes more cynical and distant, drifting further and further from the boy he once was. His own language matures but, at the same time, is more inhuman in its lack of hope. He walks across plains more purgatorial than fantastical; endless plateaus of steam and smoke with soulless prefabricated homes dotting the dreamscape. There certainly has been some “life-eating,” but who has done the feasting and to whom is open to interpretation. 

Ultimately, Troll Bridge is a dark fairy tale and the narrative follows the path laid out by the form of such stories. However, like much of Gaiman’s work (and the best of fairy tales in general), Troll Bridge uses these paths to find something new within us, something nascent and unexplored. It is touching and tragic but leaves us better for having experienced it.

One more logo design from Todd Klein’s blog, but this isn’t a Klein logo; it’s the first sketches that would turn into Alex Jay’s iconic Mighty Thor logo from the Walt Simonson run in the mid-’80s. – Graeme

gerardway: DOOM PATROL #6- In Stores Now!
We did it! Arc one concludes. I am so very proud of this arc and our team and just lucky to be a part of what I think are some really fun, heart-strong, and strange comics. (Also gorgeous thanks to the art team of @Nickderington, Tom Fowler inks on issue 6, and Tamra Bonvillain.) Todd Klein helped it flow wonderfully with the lettering as always. We have Samplerman on the variant! **EXTRA SPECIAL thanks to Tom Fowler for sweeping in with some outstanding inks and getting us across the finish line. Also thanks to Jamie S. Rich and Molly Mahan for working their editorial magic. Shelly Bond who helped Nick and I kickstart this thing. And warm thanks to Dan DiDio, Jim Lee (@jimleeart), and the brilliant DC Comics team for all the love, courage, and support.
I am so very excited for you all to read this one, as it ties almost everything up (I hope). And of course we’ve got a new and ridiculous Bane’s Coloring Corner by Brandon Bird.
I also wanted to share with you the amazing gifts Nick gave me to commemorate the first arc, and our Doom Patrol summit we are having at the house right now. We’ll be working away fine tuning arc two, catching up schedule-wise, and getting back on track— can’t wait to see you all join us again for Arc 2!
Written by Gerard Way
Pencils and cover by Nick Derington
Inks by Tom Fowler
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain
Letters by Todd Klein
Variant cover by Samplerman
With “Bane’s Coloring Corner” by Brandon Bird
#dcyounganimal #doompatrol #dccomics#janestown
#brickbybrick #fugg #dannytheambulance

Graphic Novels to Grab

This post is for my friend @iispecial4her-blog. You said you wanted to expand your comic book horizons, right? Well, I think this list will do that for you bud. 

Originally posted by mickeylikescheese-blog

  1. Watchmen by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons (Illustrator/Letterer), John Higgins (Colorist)
  2. The Complete Persepolis (Persepolis #1-4) by Marjane Satrapi
  3. The Complete Maus (Maus #1-2) by Art Spiegelman
  4. Blankets by Craig Thompson
  5. Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life (Scott Pilgrim #1) by Bryan Lee O'Malley
  6. Batman: The Long Halloween (Batman) by Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale (Illustrator), Gregory Wright (Colors), Richard Starkings (Letters)
  7. Black Hole (Black Hole #1-12) by Charles Burns
  8. Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key #1) by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez (Artist)
  9. Akira, Vol. 1 (Akira: 6 Volumes #1) by Katsuhiro Otomo, Yoko Umezawa (Translator), Linda M. York (Translator), Jo Duffy (Translator)
  10. Chew, Vol. 1: Taster’s Choice (Chew #1-5) by John Layman, Rob Guillory (Illustrator)
  11. Identity Crisis (Identity Crisis #1-7) by Brad Meltzer, Rags Morales (Illustrator), Michael Bair (Illustrator), Joss Whedon (Introduction)
  12. Essex County (Essex County #1-3) by Jeff Lemire
  13. Batman, Volume 1: The Court of Owls (Batman, Volume II #1) by Scott Snyder (Writer), Greg Capullo (Illustrator), Jonathan Glapion (Illustrator)
  14. Kick-Ass (Kick-Ass Vol. 1: 1-8) by Mark Millar, John Romita Jr. (Illustrator), Rob Liefeld (Introduction)
  15. Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal (Ms. Marvel, Volume III & IV #1)
    by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona (Artist)

  16. Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites (Beasts of Burden #1) by Evan Dorkin, Jill Thompson (Artist)
  17. Road to Perdition (Road to Perdition #1) by Max Allan Collins, Richard Piers Rayner (Illustrator)
  18. The Sculptor by Scott McCloud 
  19. Deadly Class, Vol. 1: Reagan Youth (Deadly Class #1) by Rick Remender, Wes Craig (Illustrator), Lee Loughridge (Illustrator)
  20. Suicide Squad, Volume 1: Kicked in the Teeth (Suicide Squad, Volume IV #1) by Adam Glass (Writer), Federico Dallocchio (Illustrator), Cliff Richards (Illustrator), Clayton Henry (Illustrator), Ig Guara (Illustrator)
  21. Torso by Brian Michael Bendis, Marc Andreyko
  22. The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn (Graphic Novels) #1-6)
    by Peter S. Beagle, Peter B. Gillis (Adaptor), Renae De Liz (illustrator), Ray Dillon (illustrator)

  23. Hack/Slash Omnibus Volume 1 (Hack/Slash Omnibus 1) by Tim Seeley (Goodreads Author), Dave Crosland, Stefano Caselli
  24. The Stand: Captain Trips (Stephen King’s The Stand - Graphic Novel series #1) by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Adaptor), Stephen King (Story), Mike Perkins (Illustrator), Laura Martin (Illustrator)
  25. Spider-Gwen, Vol. 0: Most Wanted? (Spider-Gwen #0) by Jason Latour (Writer), Robbi Rodriguez (Artist)
  26. Gwenpool, the Unbelievable, Vol. 1: Believe It (The Unbelievable Gwenpool #1) by Christopher Hastings, Danilo Beyruth (Artist), Gurihiru (Artist)
  27. The Sandman: Overture (The Sandman 0) by Neil Gaiman (Writer), J.H. Williams III (Artist), Dave Stewart (Colourist), Todd Klein (Letterer)
  28. Kill Shakespeare, Vol. 1: A Sea of Troubles (Kill Shakespeare #1)
    by Conor McCreery, Anthony Del Col, Andy Belanger (Illustrator)

  29. Green River Killer by Jeff Jensen (Writer), Jonathan Case (Illustrator)
  30. Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 1: The Assassin’s Road (Lone Wolf and Cub #1) by Kazuo Koike, Goseki Kojima (Illustrator)
  31. Too Cool to Be Forgotten by Alex Robinson 
  32. Gotham Central, Vol. 1: In the Line of Duty (Gotham Central trade paperbacks #1) by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Michael Lark (Illustrator)
  33. Astonishing X-Men Omnibus (Astonishing X-Men #1-4) by Joss Whedon (Text), John Cassaday (Illustrator)
  34. Runaways Deluxe, Vol. 1 (Runaways Deluxe #1) by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona (Illustrator), Takeshi Miyazawa (Illustrations)
  35. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act (The Wicked + The Divine #1-5) by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (illustrator), Matt Wilson (illustrator)
  36. Alias, Vol. 1 (Alias #1) by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, Jeph Loeb (Introduction)
  37. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley 
  38. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson 
  39. Afterlife with Archie, Vol. 1: Escape from Riverdale (Afterlife With Archie #1-5) by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Writer), Francesco Francavilla (Illustrations) 
  40. X'ed Out (Last Look Trilogy #1) by Charles Burns
  41. Get Jiro! (Get Jiro #1) by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose, Langdon Foss (Illustrations)
  42. Batgirl: Year One (Batgirl) by Scott Beatty, Chuck Dixon (Goodreads Author), Marcos Martin (Illustrator), Álvaro López (Illustrator)
  43. Y: The Last Man - The Deluxe Edition Book One (Y: The Last Man #1-2)
    by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Pia Guerra (Penciller), José Marzán Jr. (Inker), Pamela Rambo (Colorist), Clem Robins (Letterer), J.G. Jones (Covers)
  44. Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile (Fables #1) by Bill Willingham (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Lan Medina (Artist), Steve Leialoha (Artist), Craig Hamilton (Artist), James Jean (Cover Artist)
  45. Saga: Vol. 1 (Saga #1) by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist)
  46. The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: The Apocalypse Suite (The Umbrella Academy #1) by Gerard Way (Writer), Gabriel Bá, Dave Stewart (Colourist), Nate Piekos (Letterer), Tony Ong (Designer)
  47. The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity (The Unwritten #1) by Mike Carey (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Bill Willingham (Goodreads Author) (Introduction), Peter Gross (Writer, Artist)
  48. 100 Bullets, Vol. 1: First Shot, Last Call (100 Bullets #1) by Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso (Illustrator)
  49. Level Up by Gene Luen Yang (Goodreads Author), Thien Pham
  50. One-Punch Man, Vol. 1 (ワンパンマン / Onepunch-Man #1)
    by ONE, Yusuke Murata (Illustrator), John Werry (Translator)

Here are the long overdue recommendations I promised you. Thanks for being patient. I hope you enjoy them! 

Originally posted by aoricc