Here’s another graphic novel review for you. A double, actually. We’ll be reading graphic novels for Guys Read in March.
I just read the first two books in a new series, The Flying Beaver Brothers, by Maxwell Eaton. The first is The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Evil Penguin Plan, and the second is The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Fishy Business. They’re both quick, simple stories of business, environmentalism, and choices.
I keep on thinking “Flying Burrito Brothers” in my head. I just checked Wikipedia. I guess that’s a band. Anyway.
To review graphic novels, I think about two things: The story and the art. Like a great picture book, truly great novels are incredibly challenging. Authors and illustrators (or author/illustrators) must display talent and care in two powerful storytelling modes: Words and pictures.
The Beaver Brothers is not bad. But it’s not great. The art is pretty basic, clever facial expressions aside (loved ’em). The story, too, is pretty basic. The best parts for me were the little side jokes. Maxwell Eaton did a great job sneaking these in.
I think what made these little jokes stand out was not just the humor, which was excellent, but the fact that there were some jokes that were all words, some visual jokes, and some combos. This really highlighted the graphic novel format, for me. In a novel, you just can’t have a visual joke. An author can paint a picture with her words, but the words make the joke. A graphic novelist can communicate in two ways at once, and those that have mastered this tricky balance can do great things.
Anyway, The Beaver Brothers books were enjoyable, but nothing special. It’s a quick read (I finished it in about 15 minutes), partly because there’s not much to pore over in the artwork, and partly because it’s short. I enjoyed the jokes.
If you’re looking for something quick and funny, The Beaver Brothers is not a bad choice.
The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Evil Penguin Plan
The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Fishy Business
By Maxwell Eaton
96 pages (both of them!)
Genre: Humor, talking animals
Both books are scheduled for release on January 10, 2012.