Everyone recognizes the perfect housewife: thin-waisted, beautifully coifed, apron-clad, with just the right words to solve all of her family's problems. Then there's Barbara Vale: middle-aged and paunchy, hair in curlers for a husband who never notices, cooking meals that manage to turn even the milk sour. The former seems to exist only on television, while the latter is the focus of this graphic novel. Barbara clings to the advertised ideal, trying to hold her dysfunctional family together. Into her unhappy home comes a mysterious milkman who violently assaults her. Unexpectedly, this helps Barbara break free of the tyranny of her family, taking gruesome revenge for their cruelties. The real horror in this comic is not in the gore of the second half of the story but in the portrait of curdled domesticity in the first: the husband's casual violence, the disaffected children's immorality and the mother trying to make her family into the American dream. Casey and Parkhouse use pastel hues to paint the awfulness of suburban life, adding further darkness to this disturbing book. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Two of Europe’s great comics creators—writer Jodorowsky (Incal) and artist Gal (Metal Hurlant)—collaborate here on this fantasy epic first published in France in 1992; this is the first-ever English edition. Diosamante is a cruel and beautiful queen who in order to gain the affection of the magical King of Urbal must undergo a spiritual transformation by living as a pauper and thereby obtaining enlightenment. She overcomes obstacles and severe degradation along the way. This was the first volume in what was intended to be a four-volume series. Unfortunately, Gal (1942–94) died before it could be completed. His intricate drawings for the unfinished second volume are presented as well. The story ends with a brief description of further adventures; one can only hope that it may someday be completed.
Verdict Graphic novels readers who enjoy a bit of the metaphysical with their fantasy as well as intricately detailed full-color art will want to read this. Vast amounts of nudity and violence have led this title to be shelved in the adult collection.—Lucy Roehrig, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI
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