The Black Forest

Books: Graphic Novel | Fantasy

The Black Forest (2004), The Black Forest 2 (2005)

The Black Forest (2004) Todd Livingston, Robert Tinnell, Neil Vokes

We (or more rightly Michael) picked this up at the Bookshelf in early December. Robert Tinnell lives in West Virginia–apparently relatively close, as Jim talked about calling him to bring by more copies. Michael read it right away, but I decided to wait until I needed something short to read.

This story was not at all what I was expecting. The Black Forest evoked, for me, Eastern Europe. And the vamipric creature on the cover made me think of dark fantasy. Thus, I was not expecting a supernatural World War I war story. (This is probably a good time to admit that I typically ignore or at best scan back cover copy. Yes, I regularly judge books by their cover. Following that, I look for positive blurbs by authors I know.)

That aside, once I got over my surprise, I enjoyed the story. Though I have to admit that it was strange to read a war story where the enemy Germans were not Nazis. It was rather refreshing in fact.

The art was also interesting--excluding the cover, the book was completely black and white. I liked both the starkness and the darkness of the art like this, as well as the fact that gruesome and bloody in black and white I can handle far more easily than gruesome and bloody in full color. In other words, this story might have bothered me if it was in color.

I have to admit, though, that I found one of the main characters, Jack, extremely annoying. Luckily, he got a lot less annoying by the end of the book, but I still didn't care to much for him, hero or no.

I found the female characters interestingly drawn. Although they (of course) had huge breasts and tiny waists, they were still in some ways more realistic than many female characters. They may have breasts, but they also have bellies and thighs. Kinda neat actually.

So it was an interesting story, and I liked the fact that it was in black and white, so I'm looking forward to reading the second volume, which Michael also picked up.

Published by Image

Rating: 7/10

The Black Forest 2 (2005) Todd Livingston, Robert Tinnell, Neil Vokes

I read The Black Forest in January, and liked it. We'd picked up The Black Forest 2, but I'd somehow forgotten we had it, but when I was putting Hellraiser away, I noticed it and picked it up.

Although it took me a bit to get back into the story, (It had been several months since I read The Black Forest) once I finally remembered it didn't take too long to get back into the tale. Archie and Jack are back at the Castle, captured by a different scientist who is also attempting to use science to control nature and help the German Kaiser win the war.

Like The Black Forest I liked and enjoyed The Black Forest 2. My only complaint is that the story was very short--only 48 pages. I'd just gotten into the story and then it was over.

One of the things I like best about The Black Forest is that the art work is entirely in black and white. It makes the gruesome bits a little less gruesome, which I am thankful for, since I'm not particularly fond of gruesome. I think it also makes scenes a little more powerful. I'm not sure whether it's the color or the drawing, but I think that the eyes of the characters particularly stand out. Especially Ilsa.

Although the story is brief, I found it enjoyable. The tale moved at a good pace, and everything made sense. In some ways, the shorter format is an advantage, because everything is pared down, and there's no room for confusing, diverging, story lines. I'm a big fan of short stories, and this follows more closely the short story format, which may be why I like it so well.

If you haven't read The Black Forest, you probably don't want to start with The Black Forest 2, but you will want to go back and read The Black Forest, and then come back and read this.

Published by Image

Rating: 7/10