Friday, February 26, 2010

Gunnerkrigg Court (Tom Siddell) & Dr. McNinja (Christopher Hastings)

I felt bad for missing last week, so I decided to make up for it by giving you TWO reviews today! Happy Birthday to you. I know you can hardly contain your excitement, but please do try.


As I'm sure most of you are aware at this point, in addition to book reviews I also write/enjoy poetry and comic books. Over the course of the last year or so, the Daily Genoshan has included a handful of poetic and comic reviews to satisfy this part of my brain. However, it hadn't until now occurred to me that, since this is an online book review, I should include online media in my realm of possibly reviewed items. From now on I'm going to make a conscious effort to include online books/comics whenever I come across anything that I think is worth mentioning. And it just so happens that I have something worth mentioning right now! Would you look at that, what're the odds?

First up, we've got Tom Siddell, a writer/artist from the UK, whose webcomic Gunnerkrigg Court, has been getting a ton of praise lately. YALSA (the Young Adult Library Services Association) just named it one of their 2010 Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon the first hardcover volume recently, so I thought I'd take a look. Wow. I didn't realize it was a web comic until after I finished that first volume, but I was sooooooo pumped when I found out. I immediately went online to catch up with the series (Siddell posts new pages every Monday, Wednesday and Friday). I continue to be impressed.

Gunnerkrigg Court follows young Antimony Carver as she tries to cope with the death of her mother and disappearance of her father. She moves to a new school—but can you really call it a school? It's more like a massive scientific complex—and quickly becomes best friends with Kat, whose parents teach at the school... and used to know Antimony's mother and father! It kinda has this Harry Potter feel to it, but it's also got science and robots and isn't as plot-driven. What really makes Gunnerkrigg Court work, though, is that Siddell is incredibly patient, and doesn't show his hand early. Most of the issues revolve around Antimony going through her everyday life in this extraordinary place, only gradually learning more about its mysterious past. This allows him to be funny and down to earth while patiently releasing information on the larger story that's now beginning to show itself (the webcomic is on chapter 25 now, but readers can start from the first page by clicking here. It might have a stronger draw for younger audiences, but I'm in my twenties and I still check back every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for new pages. It's a fantastic book.

I've only been reading Gunnerkrigg Court about a month or so, but this next webcomic I've been addicted to for over a year and a half now. I got hooked at San Diego Comic-Con 2008 when a friend of mine asked me to pick him up a t-shirt and a signed poster. Just like Siddell, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Christopher Hastings updates The Adventures of Dr. McNinja by posting a new page. Thank God, too, because at this point I don't know what I would do if he decided to stop. He's a hilarious writer, and the art has been getting continually better since the very first arc.

A little backstory: Dr. McNinja is a doctor, and a ninja; his receptionist is a gorilla named Judy; he has a twelve-year-old sidekick named Gordito (and Gordito has a bad ass mustache and rides a velociraptor, btw); sometimes the good doctor cures children afflicted with Paul Bunyan's disease, sometimes he chases King Radical on an evil unicorn posing as a motorcycle, and sometimes he punches Dracula in the face. EVERY PAGE IS EPIC! I really can't even tell you how great Dr. McNinja is, you kinda have to experience it for yourself. I know that's a cop out for someone who writes book reviews, but it's just too amazing for words. I'll work on inventing the words that can ably describe the incredibleness while you start reading.


Gunnerkrigg Court
by Tom Siddell

The Adventures of Dr. McNinja
by Christopher Hastings

No ratings. Both of these webcomics are ongoing, and while I assume they will continue their awesomeness into the far future, maybe they'll start sucking the day before I'm about to become unimaginably famous for writing such precisely correct numerical ratings with my reviews. Probably not, though. Just read and report back anyway. Keep reading, Genoshans!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Contact Information and FTC Disclaimer

FTC Rules: While I do not make any money from authors, publishers, or anyone else related to these books in exchange for these reviews, there have been times where I've received free copies of a book to be reviewed, and may receive more in the future. Due to FTC compliance rules, however, you should always assume that I have an ulterior motive, and thank them for their unceasing vigilance in the face of this ever-increasing threat of blog advertising.

If you would like to contact me regarding a book you would like reviewed, or for writing matters in general, feel free to email me at