What's the book? Vatican Hustle, by Greg Huston.

What's it about? It's a parody of blaxploitation movies. The story starts with pretty standard detective fare—missing girl, porn connection—and leads all the way to Rome, and to the Pope (who floats; he's reminiscent of like the bad guy in David Lynch's Dune movie.)

What's the art look like? It's kind of Ralph Steadman-y. Nice and messy and whorl-y. I like it a lot:


Do you recommend it? Yes. Blaxploitation parodies are definitely played out, but Houston has an alternative enough edge to his work that this book is visually and structurally interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing more work by him.

What's the next book? Things Undone, by Shane White.

What's it about? It's a comedy about a young man moving in with his girlfriend. As his relationship falls apart, he becomes a zombie. I think it's, like, an allegory or something.

What's the art look like? The art is the best thing about the book. It's slick, but not in a cloying way:


Do you recommend it? Not really. As an early work, it's interesting, but it's not a very good story on its own. The whole zombie thing becomes a viciously belabored metaphor by the end of the book. The story simply isn't as wise at it thinks it is.

What's the last book? Come after the jump and I'll tell you.

Okay. Here we are. Now. What's the last book? Trotsky: A Graphic Biography by Rick Geary.

What's it about? It's, um, a biography of Trotsky in graphic novel form.

What's the art look like? Rick Geary is one of the best cartoonists in the world. We're after the jump, so I'll just run the cover of the book really big, so you can see it:


Do you recommend it? Well, half-heartedly. Ordinarily, Geary does fine work with non-fiction comics, but Trotsky's life doesn't really pop here. We are told and not shown Trotsky's importance, which is a cardinal funnybook sin. This is not Geary's best work. I would start with any of his Treasury of Victorian Murder titles instead.