It’s time for some turbo-charged book reviews, complete with recommendations for those who care for them. They’ll be up here day by day, or if you want to gorge yourself check out my separate blog
For those who love the self-contained and surreal: Cardboard
Doug TenNapel hits the magical fantasy elements right out of the gate. Giving an impoverished father and his devoted son a seemingly 76 cent piece of cardboard you have to expect something wild to happen.
Sure enough thanks to some alien enchantments the cardboard begins to turn into whatever you can make of it (not unlike that totally awesome box that was a prison/X-Wing Fighter/castle turret when I was a kid). It’s only a matter of time before the cardboard falls into the wrong hands and magic becomes a weapon as much as a blessing. Though in time, you’ll no doubt be unsurprised to hear, family devotion and friendship overcomes this intimidating struggle.
Cardboard is a great example of just how far your imagination can fly, and TenNapel’s style of drawing captures the same magic through a style that is both surreal and somewhat uncomfortable. Stylizing the good guys as cleanly drawn and the immoral and dangerous as sallow skinned or jagged tooth, TenNapel doesn’t waste time. But his artistic vision suits the story’s themes and creates a complete, well contained narrative.