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Friday, January 13, 2006

Spiral-Bound/184 pgs & $14.95 from Top Shelf


Dear Editor,

This is one wonderful graphic novel although I must admit my initial confusion over its intended audience.

Spiral-Bound is drawn in a style common for children's books written for pre-literate kids who must be read to, or beginning readers. All of its characters are cute little talking animals like baby elephants, puppy dogs, rabbits, frogs and kittie cats. I loved the sperm-whale in that huge glass bubble on wheels. But I
can't imagine a hardcore fan of, say, The X-Men thumbing through this book and buying it.

Making this graphic novel look like a spiral notebook was a nice touch
although that also makes it look as if it is intended for very young readers.
In addition, I thought the art was visually imaginative, the story was
visually well told (except for a few awkward scene changes), and the characters and settings were fun to oggle. That statement won't attract Batman fans.

So, whom do you wish to buy this book? Because when I read it, I immediately found simple but delightful dialogue that, at least on the surface, seemed to target
very young human beans. But I also discovered that Spiral-Bound is simply too long and complex for very young, pre-literate children or beginning readers. In fact, Spiral-Bound is well-written, clever, and fun to read with lots of twists and excellent character development. Its surprise ending was completely satisfying.

So whom do you wish to buy this innovative graphic novel? I'm admittedly a
bit slow, but I think I've figured it out. Spiral-Bound is meant for people who love to read to children and for those who just love good work created by the marriage of words and pictures.

It is highly recommended by yours truly, Michael Vance.

Art and words by Aaron Renier. Sold at book and comics stores or at www.topshelfcomix.com.