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Salem Brownstone: All Along the Watchtowers

Overview

"Wonderfully imaginative and stylish. . . . A perfect example of the adventurous new directions that comic books should be taking in the future." — Alan Moore, author of WATCHMEN and V FOR VENDETTA

A mundane life takes a strange and magical turn in this rich gothic fantasy told with vivid black-and-white art — a graphic novel perfect for a Halloween night. As he twists the key and slowly creeps into the grand mansion left to him in his father's will, Salem Brownstone has an ...

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Overview

"Wonderfully imaginative and stylish. . . . A perfect example of the adventurous new directions that comic books should be taking in the future." — Alan Moore, author of WATCHMEN and V FOR VENDETTA

A mundane life takes a strange and magical turn in this rich gothic fantasy told with vivid black-and-white art — a graphic novel perfect for a Halloween night. As he twists the key and slowly creeps into the grand mansion left to him in his father's will, Salem Brownstone has an eerie feeling that his world is about to change. First there's the appearance of a beguiling contortionist from Dr. Kinoshita's Circus of Unearthly Delights . . . then a crystal ball . . . then an attack by the sinister Shadow Boys. It seems the father that Salem never knew was actually a powerful magician, and the son has inherited his dark legacy — and an unfinished battle for life or death. With intriguing echoes of Tim Burton, Edward Gorey, H. P. Lovecraft, and Aubrey Beardsley, this album-format, beautifully cloth-bound graphic novel forges a mesmerizing style all its own.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Wonderfully imaginative and stylish. . . . A perfect example of the adventurous new directions that comic books should be taking in the future." — Alan Moore, author of WATCHMEN and V FOR VENDETTA — Quote
Children's Literature - Michael Jung
Back in the 1960s, comic book artist Steve Ditko blew more than a few young minds with his surreal illustrations in Marvel Comics' Strange Tales, a bizarre comic that followed the adventures of Dr. Strange, a sorcerer who journeyed to eerie alien dimensions to challenge the living embodiments of nightmares, time, and even the universe. Now, almost fifty years later, self-taught artist Singh continues this mind-bending tradition in Salem Brownstone. Story-wise, the tale is pretty standard: young Salem Brownstone inherits his dead father's mansion and learns that the elder Brownstone was a magician charged with keeping evil forces from invading the human dimension. Aided by his father's chain-smoking contortionist friend, Salem must decipher the secrets of an old scrying ball and learn how to assume his father's responsibilities before time runs out and the evil his father held back enters the human world. It is a familiar plot for fantasy fans—and in truth it has been used more effectively in other books—yet Singh's pen-and-ink illustrations are so jam-packed with bizarre details that this graphic novel practically demands multiple viewings. All the characters are wonderfully grotesque, particularly the rubber-limbed contortionist (whose arms and legs are constantly twisting at bone-breaking angles) and the jellyfish-woman Lorelei (whose brain and internal organs are visible through her transparent skin). Even seemingly minor details add to the book's memorably morbid atmosphere—like a candle-headed demon that travels a great distance just to light the cigar of a living cadaver, or the contortionist's coal-powered motorcycle, which looks like a cross between an old shoe and the Batmobile. It is not a book for the squeamish—and it remains more of a triumph of style than of substance—but in terms of sheer bizarre imagery, graphic novel fans can definitely appreciate Salem Brownstone's contributions to the fantasy genre. Reviewer: Michael Jung
VOYA - Courtney Huse Wika
Salem Brownstone is the owner of the Sit & Spin Laundromat. While content with his life, his path is forever altered after receiving a mysterious telegram informing him of the death of his absent father, and his inheritance of a sprawling gothic mansion. Salem accrues more than just the home, however, for his father, Jedediah Brownstone, was more than a magician; he was one of the world's saviors. Aided by a peculiar "scrying ball," as well as some new friends and guides, including Cassandra Contortionist, a performer from Dr. Kinoshita's Circus of Unearthly Delights, Salem must follow the clues left for him by his deceased father. Unfortunately, he doesn't have much time; he must find the answers and his footing quickly, as the Dark Elders of Mu'bric are attempting to enter his world to devour the souls of innocents. A quick but thrilling experience, Salem Brownstone: All Along the Watchtowers is a jewel not just for fans of graphic novels, but also for those who love mystery, fantasy, and suspense. These characters are well drawn, both in terms of illustration and development. Salem's world is a haunting one, made only more so by the mysterious and enthralling images that accompany the storyline. The gothic elements, combined with the carnivalesque nature of Dr. Kinoshita's Circus and his performers, mesmerize readers and keep them grounded in the story long after it has ended. Reviewer: Courtney Huse Wika
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—A telegram arrives, informing Salem Brownstone of the death of the father he never knew. The loss leaves him holding the key to his father's mansion and its strange contents. There he meets a mysterious contortionist in possession of a scrying ball and, as Jedediah Brownstone forewarned his friends, the deathly Shadow Boys have come for it. Like Alice going down the rabbit hole, Salem descends into Dr. Kinoshita's Circus of Unearthly Delights, and the eerie adventures take off from there. Singh's artwork in this oversize book is similar to Edward Gorey's surrealistic pen-and-ink illustrations. It lends itself perfectly to Dunning's dark tale. Fans of H. P. Lovecraft, Lewis Carroll, and Edgar Allan Poe will enjoy this eerie graphic novel.—Lisa Gieskes, CA Johnson Preparatory Academy, Columbia, SC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763647353
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 7/13/2010
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 1,454,745
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 11.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

John Harris Dunning has written for many leading newspapers and magazines. SALEM BROWNSTONE, his first graphic novel, was first serialized in the U.K. anthology STURGEON WHITE MOSS. Born in South Africa, he now lives in London.

Nikhil Singh’s artwork has appeared in numerous major magazines. Besides working as an illustrator, he performs in the post-punk band The Wild Eyes. He lives in London.

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