Thoughts of the Graphic Sort

A place where I can discuss my addiction to graphic novels.

Salem Brownstone by John Hattis Dunning & Nikhil Singh

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Surprised doesn’t really describe how I felt when Salem Brownstone arrived in the mail.  Shocked and awed may be more apt.  The book is HUGE, and I don’t mean page length.  It’s a really big book.  At 12×9 inches, it pretty much dwarfs everything else on my shelves.

The cover is actually fabric with labels affixed to the front and back listing the title and so forth.  And the artwork inside is equally as impressive as the cover.  It reminds me of Edward Gorey, and since the story is a gothic fantasy, it’s an apt comparison.

Salem inherits his estranged father’s house and learns that his father was in the midst of a battle with otherwordly creatures from Midnight City over a scrying ball.  As the new owner, it is up to Salem to protect the ball and he achieves it with the help of his familiar and members of Dr. Kinoshita’s Circus of Unearthly Sights, which happens to be camped right next door.  Dr. Kinoshita’s Circus of Unearthly Sights is pretty much the coolest name for a circus I’ve ever heard.

Although marketed to middle-schoolers, I got a bit lost in the narrative at times but not enough that a few re-reads of certain pages didn’t help clear things up.  Once I literally had to say, “screw it,” and keep reading even though I didn’t understand the implications of what someone said because the story just keeps moving forward, whether you’re with it or not.  But it doesn’t matter if you re-read or move forward, just checking out the book is completely worth it with illustrations as grotesque and provocative as these:

The lush artwork creates a moody vibe that's perfect for this gothic tale of circus freaks and secret meetings under a full moon.

Dunning and Singh are completely in sync in Salem Brownstone. Singh’s visuals perfectly complement Dunning’s story and I hope to see more collaborations from them in the future.

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Written by JP Weezey

March 21, 2012 at 8:00 am

Posted in Review

Tagged with , , ,

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