Message from the Editor

Hey it’s Brad Evans again. Fin asked me to convey this message:

~~~~

“Happy Friday! Soz about all the waiting, everything has been going way not according to plan but you know what they say about the best laid plans: the best part is laying them!

I did get a stable internet connection, and a laptop. However, my laptop arrived with the software equivalent of “some assembly required.”

I have a good new job, not a writing one though, yet, but it’s crazy right now (more will be revealed,) and I’m going on a float trip next week after a 10 day work week. Then more side jobs, and the fun never ends.

I hope to be posting again by the first week of September, but remember what I said about plans?

I will be in touch and have good content coming soon.

Fin”

~~~~

Gotta cut the guy some slack, right? He’s just moved continents, and is working hard to get set up here.

For my part, I’ve been keeping busy with a summer creative writing class, among other things. I also hope to be posting more soon, and on subjects other than book reviews.

So stay tuned, guys! In the meantime, remember to stay Offbeat, but On Point!

-BE

Advertisements

A Quick Update

technical difficulties.jpg

This is Brad Evans with an important update: our primary writer and editor, Fin, has successfully crossed the pond and arrived alive back stateside in the gateway to the west, St. Louis.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a computer or easy to access to one. He has ordered a laptop and expects to have it in hand by the end of the week, with the expectation that our regularly scheduled updates will resume by next week.

Thanks for your patience while he gets back up and running. Have a great week, and remember to stay Offbeat, but On Point!

-BE

Spoiler Free Book Review: Dresden Files Graphic Novel Omnibus One

Happy Tuesday and welcome to my first proper Tuesday article! Sorry for the time between posts but I’ve been in something of a stupor following the end of a successful semester. Last time was just an introduction, this time let’s get into the nitty gritty: my first book review. For this I’ve decided to start with omnibus #1 of Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files graphic novel.

So really this review will cover two short stories and two novels worth of illustrated Dresdenverse. And here lies one of my initial concerns: the layout of the omnibus. It begins and ends with an illustrated short story, with the first two novels of the series sandwiched in between. It goes like this: “Welcome to the Jungle,” Storm Front, Fool Moon, “Restoration of Faith.” But confusingly, both short stories occur before the novel in the DF timeline. In fact, the very last part of the omnibus occurs earliest, sequentially. I suppose this is because this is the order each of these was released as graphic novels, but I still found it jarring when I was finishing Fool Moon and ended up rolling right into “Restoration,” jumping back in time about 4-5 years in DF time.

Now, let’s talk about the art. It’s a real graphic novel and the quality of the artwork is up to that standard. Meaning it’s good, even great, but it’s not a masterpiece of the artistic spirit: and it’s not trying to be. The characters look more or less as I imagined them. Scenes of violence and nudity are done justice without being gratuitous. However, these early works show signs of the artists getting comfortable with the medium. So, while there are beautiful pages like this:

dresden wow                             and this:dresden wow2

There are also derpy looking panels like this:

dresden derp

It’s a give and take, for sure, but the overall effect works well.

Storm Front and Fool Moon are the first two novels in one of my favorite series. They are also Jim Butcher’s first published novels, and he was just starting to find himself as a writer. The stories include elements of noir and detective fiction that are largely tossed to the wayside in the more recent entries of the series. He does it well, but it’s flawed in a way that’s hard to put a finger on. Butcher’s storytelling, worldbuilding, and ability to develop characters really starts to shine around book four, so I am looking forward to seeing that in graphic novel form at some future point.

A mostly minor gripe I have with these graphic novels is in the typography. There are typos. Not a lot, but more than enough to be noticeable, and given that the graphic novels have far fewer words than the source material, it’s a bit disappointing. Several times I was jarred out of the story by an irritating typo that forced me to decipher what was being said. The most notable of these is an omitted word at the end of the first novel. To fans of the series, the last couple lines of book one are iconic. “My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk.” In the graphic novel, the word “by” is omitted. It just says, “Conjure it at your own risk.” This changes the meaning of the statement somewhat, and, to me, is an annoying deviation from the source material.

Overall though, I enjoyed these graphic novels. In fact, I enjoyed them so much that I read all of them in the space of an evening. The graphic novel format gives you an alternative way to get in on the ground floor of this amazing series. Whether you’re a fan of the series or just a fan of the Fantasy genre and looking for something new and fun to read, I would heartily recommend these.

-Brad Evans

 

Citation: Butcher, Jim, and Mark Powers. Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files Omnibus, Volume 1: Welcome to the Jungle; Storm Front; Fool Moon; Restoration of Faith. Mt. Laurel, NJ: Dynamite Entertainment, 2015. Print.

Who I Am and What I’m Here For

Hey guys! Welcome to my Tuesday column on Offbeat On Point! This is my first post and I’m on somewhat shaky ground here, so bear with me.

My name is Brad Evans. Well, actually, no it isn’t, but that’s the moniker I’ll be using here. I am a long-time friend of Fin Louie; we’ve been kicking it off and on for the last 10 years. We share a lot of common interests, but our personalities are like Yin and Yang. Where I am casual he can get intense, and vice-versa. Where he is actively bold, I am passively reserved; but don’t let that fool you, there’s a lot going on in my head.

yinyang

I’ve been keeping up with his posts here for a while now and asked about a month ago if he could use a co-editor. The rest, as they say, is history.

A few things about me:

  1. I am a young man in my twenties living in St. Louis, and a student of Creative Writing at Webster University.
  2. When I was eighteen, I took a break from school, and didn’t go back for quite some time. While I was out I had a variety of adventures. I went to music festivals. I had two apartments and Fin and I even shared a house at one point. I quarreled with friends, lost some and made some more. I was a General Manager of a restaurant, and various other adventures.
  3. I am a voracious consumer of fantasy and science fiction.
  4. I play video games on Xbox One; currently I’m on Fifa 17 and OverWatch. They are like crack to me.

That’s just for starters. I feel like this is also a good representation of who I am as a person: recently I had a birthday, and what I did for fun was to go see the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie (which was phenomenal by the way) and then read about 100 pages of a graphic novel. I also spent a lot of time with friends and family, but the peaceful nerdy stuff is what I really liked. To me, that was an excellent birthday.

Here’s what I’m going to be bringing to this blog:

Tuesdays I will be posting thoughts about literature I have consumed.

Saturdays I will be posting literature I have created. Short stories and poetry and the like.

I doubt if either of these columns will be regular events. Sporadic, at best, really. But for the immediate future I have a few poems to share on Saturdays, and a whole list of books to read/review this summer. A few months ago I discovered a love for audiobooks, and I will be reviewing those as well: not just for the content but for the ability of the narrator to do it justice.

We have plans in the works for a “Sunday Round-up” type of post, conveniently summarizing all the week’s new material. This is still a tentative plan, though, so don’t look for it right away.

Here’s some of the material I have lined up to review:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. This book comes highly recommended by just about everyone and I’m looking forward to getting into it.

The Road

The Dresden Files graphic novels. DF has been a favorite book series for a long time; I have read every book at least three times, and recently laid hands on an omnibus of the first two books in graphic novel form. So far, it’s amazing, but also flawed and I’ll get into that in a future review.dresden graphic novel

The audiobooks of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Two books I consider modern classics, in audiobook form.

the_kingkiller_chronicle_one_and_two-600x459

The audiobook of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Less classic and less artfully written, but still a fun read: does the audiobook hold up?

Ready Player One

The audiobook of American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Widely considered a modern classic, this book is now being made into a television series being broadcast on Starz in America and Amazon Prime in the UK. I’ve read it before, but the audiobook is FULLY CASTED – meaning a different voice actor for each character. That’s different than any other book I’ve listened to so far, and I’m intrigued at that prospect.

American Gods

Novels from an author I have not read before but who comes highly recommended by a professor at my university: China Mieville. I have Embassy Town, The City and the City, and Perdido Street Station lined up for summer reading. May as well talk about them, too, right?

And that’s just what I’ve come up with so far, but like I said my posts might be sporadic. I’m doing this for the enjoyment of it and don’t want this to become like a job with deadlines that I’m racing to meet. All the same, I’m looking forward to getting started around here.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

-Brad Evans