Monday, December 28, 2009

Rex Libris Vol. 2: Book of Monsters

by James Turner

James Turner is a very interesting comics creator. His work isn't easily explained or summarized, and when you try, things sound so much more ridiculous than they seem when you read his work. Let me show you what I mean:

Rex Libris Volume Two is about an Ancient Roman librarian with a Bronx accent who works in a library in New Jersey, and gets sucked into a rare book of monstrosities, wherein, due to an accident involving telluric radiation, all normal rules and classifications are moot; talks to a plant; and joins a group of American soldiers on a trip to a fictional island to sing a lullaby to a fictional elder god before it can wake up a real elder god, although all of his previous enemies were also drawn to same said island, including a nefarious criminal organization in which all members are trying to kill their leader; all the while said librarian treats his friends and readers to lengthy digressions to any point in his two-thousand year lifespan. Oh, and the whole thing is an experiment in visicomboics, a revolutionary method of storytelling, as explained by the editor of the comic book series based on Rex's life (which is not to be confused with the story we are reading, apparently). Like I said, it sounds ridiculous.

However, when you read the book, it comes off as very funny. Turner draws the comic using vector software, and the figures are blocky and stiff, but that adds to the charm of the book. Turner never assumes that his reader is unintelligent, and peppers his book with obscure references to other literary works. The creatures and aliens he invents are always amusing, and often plausible.

If I have any complaint, it is only that I expected to see Simon the bird come swooping in at the last second to save the day, but he was sadly absent from most of this book. This is a unique piece of work, which I would highly recommend (after reading volume one) to anyone who enjoys literate, self-aware comics.

No comments: