[singlepic id=398 w=320 h=240 float=left]Return of the Dapper Men
Writer Jim McCann
Artist Janet Lee
In the land of Anorev, time has long since stopped. The children play below the earth, the machines work above it, and in the unending day a human boy named Ayden and a young machine named Zoe travel back and forth between two worlds, trying to avoid the machine Fabre who wants to use Zoe so he can get close to The Angel, a mechanical construct floating in the ocean with a purpose no one can remember. The citizens of Anorev exist in a type of limbo with no books, no need for change, and fading memories of yesterday with no anticipation for tomorrow…that is, until the clocks suddenly ring loudly and 314 dapper men descend from the sky. Guided by the enigmatic dapper man known only as “41”, Ayden and Zoe must remember the meaning of tomorrow and The Angel so that their world can move on.
I’ve wanted to review this book for ages. I’ve held it in my hands and admired it’s craftsmanship; it is, above all else, a very well put together book. In your hands and to the naked eye, before you even open it, you can feel that it’s something special. This is truly an amazing graphic novel, a story with a striking weight and format and unique art style that captivates and fascinates. But I’ve had problems reading it, for some reason. Whenever I would try to, I either couldn’t get myself hooked on it, or something would come up, and I would find myself yet again putting Dapper Men down. And so it’s sat on my coffee table for some time now, a firm structure of a review pile I have gotten regrettably behind on, and one that I’ve always sworn to make my first priority before I went further with that pile. Finally, I curled up in my chair tonight, flipped open it’s pages and began reading, making sure I stopped to give the pages time to sink in so I could make sure I had a firm understanding of the story.
If you’re like me, you may have trouble reading this, I won’t lie, but you really should. It’s a story that hits it’s pace and hooks you in, drawing you into every gorgeously illustrated page and refusing to let go. It’s not a story that aims to be about twists, turns, shocks, violence, or action. It’s a simple story with a heart that becomes a powerful tale about embracing destiny on your own terms and not being afraid of what tomorrow may bring. It tells it’s story not only with thought out prose, but it’s wordless pages with breathtaking illustrations and unique placements of captions and word balloons will draw in even the most casual reader. What’s more, this is the rare graphic novel which is as suitable for children as it is for adults; sure, they heavier themes of the story may breeze over their heads, but they’ll no doubt enjoy it’s colorful imagery and whimsical dialogue.
We’ve put this one off for far too long. Return of the Dapper Men (which coincidentally is the first of a series; a sequel, Time of the Dapper Men, is in the works) is an amazing graphic novel that simply must be read to be believed. You should absolutely do yourself a favor and pick this one up today; you’ll find a copy at your local book store, or you can pick up this super sexy leather bound hardcover edition from Archaia’s online store.