Thompson - Book Reviews

***** - Excellent
**** - Good
*** - Okay
** - Bad
* - Terrible
+ - Half-star

Rip Haywire and the Curse of Tangaroa!
(A Rip Haywire graphic novel)
Dan Thompson
IDW Publishing
Fiction, YA? Humor/Graphic Novels
*****

DESCRIPTION: Rip Haywire spent his childhood like most kids, or so he thought. After all, what did the other boys do all day if they weren't helping their mother take out bad guys and infiltrate top-secret bases? But, even for him, one youthful mission stood out from the rest: a journey to a lost temple to recover a mysterious artifact known as a "ghost compass." The evil Longbeard escaped, but Rip never forgot the compass. Now grown, Rip is a soldier of fortune, laughing in the face of death and feasting on fortified danger around the world. Once more, he finds himself on the trail of the ghost compass, which is tied to an ancient pirate curse... and an unimaginable trove of lost wealth. With his cowardly canine compatriot TNT, and his double-agent bombshell girlfriend Cobra, Rip sets out to save the day, save his mother, and dish out extra helpings of two-fisted justice, Haywire style.

REVIEW: Rip Haywire, a hilarious parody of classic action/adventure heroics, makes his graphic novel debut in a story that's bigger, longer, and - if possible - even funnier than the daily strips. Hardly a page went by that didn't almost have me laughing out loud. The timeline, as one might expect, appears to be independent of the main comic strip, but that's to be expected. The characters are still just as funny, with occasional side-trip stories that added to the overall hilarity. The humor, much like that of the daily strips, skews a little toward the grown-up end of the spectrum, not crude but certainly requiring a taste for parody. I keep hoping Dan Thompson will put out a comic collection, but in the meantime this makes a more-than-acceptable substitute. I only hope more graphic novels are in the works. After a long stretch of unimpressive reads, I needed a laugh like this...

You might also enjoy:
Frequently Asked Questions: An Unshelved collection (Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum, Comics - The staff of a public library deals with the often-clueless public and recommends many real-world books)
Thank God For Culture Clash: A Candorville collection (Darrin Bell, Comics - Sharp comic strip skewering politics, society, and more)
The Basic Instructions collections (Scott Meyer, Fiction - Humorous instructions for everyday situations, from dealing with co-workers to relaying a message to yourself via time travel)
The Amulet of Samarkand (Jonathan Stroud and Andrew Dorkin, YA Graphic Novel - In an alternate modern-day London, a disgraced wizard's apprentice summons a sarcastic djinni for revenge)
Rip Haywire Blows UP! (Dan Thompson, YA? Comics - A collection of the daily Rip Haywire strips)
Pearls Before Swine comic collections (Stephan Pastis, Comics - Funny, Innocent Pig, devious Rat, and more characters populate this often-twisted comic strip)
Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: A Brewster Rockit Collection (Tim Rickard, Comics - Clueless captain Brewster Rockit leads the crew of the space station R. U. Sirius)

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Rip Haywire Blows UP!
(A Rip Haywire collection, Book 2)
Dan Thompson
CreateSpace
Fiction, YA? Comics
****+

DESCRIPTION: Square-jawed soldier of fortune Rip Haywire, his devious sometimes-girlfriend Cobra, his adopted son R.J., and his sarcastic, faithful collie TNT take out bad guys with stealth, style, and multiple explosions. With the help of Mac Cactus and the secret government agency G.U.N.S, they tackle fiendish felons, vicious vampires, leering land-grabbers, and more... including more than a few agents of the evil network S.K.U.L.L., whose leader - Dr. Pain - has a very personal bone to pick with Rip.

REVIEW: First off, I have no idea where Book 1 went; this is the only Rip Haywire collection I can find mentioned on Amazon, or anywhere on the internet. That said, I enjoyed this collection immensely. Chock-full of both pop culture and retro homages, this strip delivers fast-paced action and nonstop hilarity. It lost half a mark due to production value; there are no page numbers, and the book lacks not only a title page, but lettering on the spine. Otherwise, it's great. (I'd still love to get my hands on Book 1, if it exists, though...)

You might also enjoy:
Frequently Asked Questions: An Unshelved collection (Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum, Comics - The staff of a public library deals with the often-clueless public and recommends many real-world books)
Thank God For Culture Clash: A Candorville collection (Darrin Bell, Comics - Sharp comic strip skewering politics, society, and more)
The Basic Instructions collections (Scott Meyer, Fiction - Humorous instructions for everyday situations, from dealing with co-workers to relaying a message to yourself via time travel)
The Amulet of Samarkand (Jonathan Stroud and Andrew Dorkin, YA Graphic Novel - In an alternate modern-day London, a disgraced wizard's apprentice summons a sarcastic djinni for revenge)
Rip Haywire and the Curse of Tangaroa! (Dan Thompson, YA? Graphic Novel - Soldier of fortune Rip Haywire tracks down powerful artifacts linked to a lost treasure and a nasty curse)
Pearls Before Swine comic collections (Stephan Pastis, Comics - Funny, Innocent Pig, devious Rat, and more characters populate this often-twisted comic strip)
Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: A Brewster Rockit Collection (Tim Rickard, Comics - Clueless captain Brewster Rockit leads the crew of the space station R. U. Sirius)

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Anatomy of Animals
Ernest E. Thompson
Bracken Books
Nonfiction, Art
****

DESCRIPTION: Any artist who wishes to accurately portray animals cannot ignore the importance of anatomy studies. Thompson includes anatomy sketches of many exemplar species, plus extensive written notes on proportions, significant veins, hair tracts, and more.
(NOTE: Despite the different surname, the Amazon link appears to be the same book.)

REVIEW: Another budget find from Half Price Books... First published in 1896, Thompson's book claims to be the first "modern" work of animal anatomy geared for artists. Though the writing style reads awkwardly today, it still has much to offer. Many species are covered via black and white image plates, often in numerous dissection views. He also has some good references on bird feather tracts. I wish the plates had been matched up with the text that discussed them, instead of being relegated to the last half of the book. The text also discusses many more animals than the plates cover, often as dry charts of proportions that gave no sense of how the animal actually looked. (The nineteenth-century origins come through strongly here, as not only are several creatures referred to by obsolete or archaic names, but almost all of these proportion charts come from animals shot in the name of science.) Overall, I found it educational, with information I haven't seen covered in my other animal art books.

You might also enjoy:
How to Paint and Draw Animals (David Astin, Art - How to observe and draw animals in many media)
Illustrating Nature: How to Paint and Draw Plants and Animals (Dorothea and Sy Barlowe, Art - A broad variety of subjects are covered)
Making and Using Working Drawings for Realistic Model Animals (Basil F. Fordham, Art - How to plan and construct 3D animals in a variety of media
How to Draw Animals (Jack Hamm, Art - Drawing a variety of mammals)
Animal Drawing - Anatomy and Action for Artists (Charles R. Knight, Art - How to draw a variety of creatures)
How to Draw Animals (Charles Liedl, Art - An overview and reference drawings for various animals)
Artist's Photo Reference: Wildlife (Bart Rulon, Nonfiction - A collection of reference photos covering many animals)
The Weatherly Guide to Drawing Animals (Joe Weatherly, Art - Using form and gesture to draw lifelike animals)
How to Draw and Paint: Cats in Action(Walter J. Wilwerding, Art - Drawing big cats)

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Imagine a Night
Sarah L. Thompson
Athenium
Fiction, YA Picture Book
*****

DESCRIPTION: Paintings by Rob Gonsalves inspire a night where shadows walk and stars fold back like curtains, where gravity turns upside-down, where anything is possible.

REVIEW: The primary reason to buy the book - at least, the primary reason I bought the book - are the beautiful images, with Escher-like metamorphoses and twists on reality. The text merely annotates, in freeform verse, the pictures. A great, inspiring, beautiful book for any dreamer of any age. I've seen two other books - Imagine a Day and Imagine a Place - but have yet to read them. They look equally imaginative, though...

You might also enjoy:
Heart of a Tiger (Marsha Diane Arnold, YA Picture Book - A shy gray kitten wants a tiger's name on Naming Day)
Catkin (Antonia Barber, YA Picture Book - A tiny cat saves a girl abducted by fairies)
Animalia (Graeme Base, YA Picture Book - An imaginative A-to-Z picture book featuring animals)
The Journey trilogy (Aaron Becker, YA Picture Book - A girl's magic red pen allows her to enter and explore a world of wonders)
Cat Hiss-tory: A Feline Tour through the Ages (Bill Bell, YA Picture Book - Fanciful "history" picture book)
Dragon (Jody Bergsma, YA Picture Book - A peaceful prince meets a furious dragon)
Night of the Gargoyles (Eve Bunting, YA Picture Book - The gargoyles come alive to wander the city after sundown)
Usborne Fantasy Quests (Andy Dixon, YA Fantasy/Picture Book - Three seek-and-find picture puzzle adventure tales)
Dinotopia series (James Gurney, YA Fiction - A professor and his son explore a lost world where dinosaurs and people live in harmony)
Fairy Dreams (Carol McLean-Carr, YA Picture Book - Fairies visit a girl's room, stealing her toys and replacing them with gifts)
Snow Leopard (Jackie Morris, YA Picture Book - A magical snow leopard protects a village)
Tell Me a Dragon (Jackie Morris, YA Picture Book - Everyone has their own unique dragon)
Lord of the Forest (Jackie Morris and Caroline Pitcher, YA Picture Book - A tiger seeks the legendary lord of the forest)
Dragons Love (Stephen Parlato, YA Picture Book - Dragons love many wondrous, imaginative things in the world)
The Cinder-Eyed Cats (Eric Rohmann, YA Picture Book - In a world of dreams, great cats and bright fish dance through the night skies)
Drawing Visual Illusions (Natalie Sirett, YA? Art - How to examine and create visual paradoxes in art)
Fairy Foals (Suzannah, YA Picture Book - An artist discovers tiny winged horses in her garden)
Sector 7 (David Wiesner, YA Picture Book - A young artist meets a playful cloud)
The Flying Dragon Room (Audrey Wood, YA Picture Book - A boy uses a special tookit to build fantastic rooms)
What Do You Do With an Idea? (Kobi Yamada, YA Picture Book - A child befriends a little idea, and helps it grow big)

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Imagine a Day
Sarah L. Thompson
Athenium
Fiction, YA Picture Book
****+

DESCRIPTION: A treehouse large as a manor... a library of doorways to other worlds... The illusionary paintings of Rob Gonsalves feature in a second book of short verse.

REVIEW: Much like Imagine a Night, the paintings boggle the eye and inspire the heart. Once in a while, Gonsalves's people appear distorted, but otherwise it's yet another feast for the imagination.

You might also enjoy:
Heart of a Tiger (Marsha Diane Arnold, YA Picture Book - A shy gray kitten wants a tiger's name on Naming Day)
Catkin (Antonia Barber, YA Picture Book - A tiny cat saves a girl abducted by fairies)
Animalia (Graeme Base, YA Picture Book - An imaginative A-to-Z picture book featuring animals)
The Journey trilogy (Aaron Becker, YA Picture Book - A girl's magic red pen allows her to enter and explore a world of wonders)
Cat Hiss-tory: A Feline Tour through the Ages (Bill Bell, YA Picture Book - Fanciful "history" picture book)
Dragon (Jody Bergsma, YA Picture Book - A peaceful prince meets a furious dragon)
Night of the Gargoyles (Eve Bunting, YA Picture Book - The gargoyles come alive to wander the city after sundown)
Usborne Fantasy Quests (Andy Dixon, YA Fantasy/Picture Book - Three seek-and-find picture puzzle adventure tales)
Dinotopia series (James Gurney, YA Fiction - A professor and his son explore a lost world where dinosaurs and people live in harmony)
Fairy Dreams (Carol McLean-Carr, YA Picture Book - Fairies visit a girl's room, stealing her toys and replacing them with gifts)
Snow Leopard (Jackie Morris, YA Picture Book - A magical snow leopard protects a village)
Tell Me a Dragon (Jackie Morris, YA Picture Book - Everyone has their own unique dragon)
Lord of the Forest (Jackie Morris and Caroline Pitcher, YA Picture Book - A tiger seeks the legendary lord of the forest)
Dragons Love (Stephen Parlato, YA Picture Book - Dragons love many wondrous, imaginative things in the world)
The Cinder-Eyed Cats (Eric Rohmann, YA Picture Book - In a world of dreams, great cats and bright fish dance through the night skies)
Drawing Visual Illusions (Natalie Sirett, YA? Art - How to examine and create visual paradoxes in art)
Fairy Foals (Suzannah, YA Picture Book - An artist discovers tiny winged horses in her garden)
The Flying Dragon Room (Audrey Wood, YA Picture Book - A boy uses a special tookit to build fantastic rooms)
Sector 7 (David Wiesner, YA Picture Book - A young artist meets a playful cloud)
What Do You Do With an Idea? (Kobi Yamada, YA Picture Book - A child befriends a little idea, and helps it grow big)

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