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Reviews
Title
1-800-MICE
Author
Matthew Thurber
Rating
Review
I typically read more mainstream/superhero comics, but have a bit of a soft spot for the alternative, indie, or underground comics scene. Nevertheless, I often find reading these titles feels a little too much like eating my vegetables. Not so of Matthew Thurber's wild romp, "1-800-MICE," which attracted my attention due to a cover blurb from Simpsons creator Matt Groening. A bizarre, black-and-white voyage into the unconscious psyche, this often hilarious, occasionally repulsive, and cleverly satirical graphic novel takes us into Volcano City, California in the year 2076, where mice hand-deliver text messages in the form of musical notation, human/tree hybrids marry each other, and an evil shogun rules Los Angeles with an army of sushi chefs. That's about all the plot there is, as Thurber takes his readers on truly outre tangents in a very freeform narrative. At times overindulgent and pretentious, the novel throws layers and layers of weirdness atop each other, from childlike Art Brut scrawl you may recognize as an influence on TV's "Adventure Time" to a stuffy, pseudo-19th-century syntax and obsessions with cultural artifacts like the banjo that you might find in McSweeney's and other twee literary magazines. I'm not really sure what to think about all this, other than that it was certainly different, and says as much about our culture as Robert Crumb's 1960s underground comics work said about its time. Just keep this one away from the kids -- trust me.  Reserve It
Reserve It
Title
Paper Doll
Author
Robert B. Parker
Rating
Review
A Spenser (character) novel with cameos by all the usual characters (Susan, Hawk, Henry, and of course Pearl "the wonder dog"). In this tale Spencer moves back and forth between Boston and South Carolina pulling at the thread to unravel the past of a woman who is not who she claims to be...Another good story about the hard boiled, laconic Spenser.  Reserve It