Sunday, October 9, 2011


Listed in "500 Essential Graphic Novels" as: Crime/Mystery (Best of the Rest)
Contains: Silverfish (Original Graphic Novel)
Year: 2007
Publisher: Vertigo
Writer: David Lapham
Artist: David Lapham (w/ greytones by Dom Ramos)

Well, here we are already, faithful Comics Questers!  What's it been?  A little over 12 hours?  I'M BACK ALREADY!!!

That's due in part to the fact that I couldn't put the sensational work that is David Lapham's Silverfish down.  So, let's not waste any more time with nonsense before we tear right into that sucker...

It all starts as good fun.

Mia Fleming is not too fond of her stepmother, and that's putting it lightly.  But her father and stepmother are headed off for a weekend with some friends, leaving Mia and her asthmatic little sister, Stacey, at home.  Mia decides to call some friends of her own and begins venting to them how much she dislikes her stepmother.

They decide to go rifling through Suzanne's (that's the stepmom) things.  The friends decide to start making prank calls to some of the numbers in Suzanne's address book.  The replies they get arouse suspicion.  They look through more of the belongings of this lady who calls herself Suzanne and find large sums of cash, a knife, and all sorts of evidence of a double life.

Finding out this much dirt on ol' "Suzanne", the kids just couldn't leave well enough alone.  They continue making more silly calls.  They may have found the reason that Suzanne seems to be hiding in Daniel, a man that one of the girls taunts and continues to call.  Little does she know that she's probably stumbled across the sickest, most sadistic individual she's encountered in her life...

My experience with this book reaffirms the old adage: "Never judge a book by it's cover."

I didn't want to read this one.  I wasn't excited at all about it.  I looked at the cover and was thinking, "Look at this cover.  Looks like a mom and her child running away.  It's all pink and weird.  It's probably just some mom and her kid running away from some tripped-out... thing and the plot's probably so buried I'll just smash myself in the head with this book after finishing until I die..."

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Coming in at a relatively short 160 pages, this may be the perfect graphic novel.  Lapham gets in, establishes the characters' motives and desires and then grabs the reader, hanging on until the very last panel and never letting go.

The story is, contrary to my anticipations, actually not complicated at all.  The story starts off with just the right amount of intrigue, just a few pages.  Then we shift to getting everything set up as the kids begin finding out numerous things about Suzanne, making the reader more and more uneasy as they begin to flirt more and more with disaster.  Lapham also conveys the insanity of the character Daniel with some very psychotic and disturbing images, but doesn't go over the top with it.  Just right.

The art style is heavy and gritty against black panel borders, the perfect feel for this work in which even the few light-hearted moments are tainted with a sort of uneasy feeling.

In fact, how else can I say it?  What else can I say?  Slim, quick, sharp-hitting, suspenseful, dark, memorable...  Perfect.

I may have already said too much and I'm not gonna spoil any more of this one for you.  If you have any interest at all in crime fiction, graphic fiction, or an absolute suspense story thrill ride, stop what you're doing and go get this now.

Mr. Kannenberg's rating: 4 out of 5
My rating: 5 out of 5
19 down, 481 to go

Next time: We've worked our way up to another Top 10 pick from Mr. Kannenberg's book!  Join me (though I should have done it about a month earlier) as we take a look at The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation.

Stay well until then, folks...  :-)

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