Papercutz Slices #1: Harry Potty and the Deathly Boring – Stefan Petrucha

Illustrations – Rick Parker

There are so many negative reviews for this Harry Potter spoof but I loved it! While I expect a lot of die hard fans of the Potterverse will be greatly offended that anyone would dare parody the brilliance of J.K. Rowling it felt to me like someone from MAD magazine had been hired to provide an overview of the series and I laughed from beginning to end.

It is over the top. There’s toilet humour. Cameos include Elmo, Yoda, Larry King and Elmer Fudd. There are jokes that are so terrible I had to laugh at their absurdity. Harry’s scar morphs from scene to scene, from question marks to dollar signs to Prince’s love symbol.

The names of the characters we know and love get a makeover. Harry Potty is friends with Don Measley and Whiny Stranger. Barista Frappe teaches Defence Against the Dark Farts at Nosewarts. Harry is constantly trying to defeat Valuemart and his Odor Eaters. Students use their toilet plungers to cast spells including “REMEMBERALLTHISSTUFFICIS!” and all poor Valuemart wants is a nose.

If your blood boils at the thought of this heresy then this is not the graphic novel for you, but if you’re not horrified that someone would dare poke fun at Harry and his mates then you may find yourself enjoying a good chuckle like I did. I definitely want to read this one again!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

The creative team behind the hit Tales from the Crypt #8 “Diary of a Stinky Dead Kid” team up again to launch this new parody series from Papercutz! Following the killing of their mentor Dumb-as-a-door by the seemingly traitorous barista Frappe, Harry Potty, Don Measley and Whiny Stranger must find a way to defeat the nose-less dark lord Value-Mart (He-Whose-Prices-Can’t-Be-Beat) and his followers, the Odor Eaters in order to avenge the death of Harry Potty’s parents and bring balance to the world of magic.

Pride of the Decent Man – T.J. Kirsch

Spoilers Ahead!

I was surprised by how emotionally attached I became to the main character in Pride of the Decent Man. Told in chapters, this graphic novel follows the life of Andrew Peters. Growing up in an abusive home, Andrew’s Grandma teaches him to hold onto the good times to get through the bad. His Grandma takes photos throughout her life to reflect on as she grows older. Inspired by her, Andrew begins to write, capturing his thoughts and experiences in a series of journals.

Andrew tries to do the right thing in his life but allows his friend Whitey to consistently rope him into plans which never turn out the way he intends. The idea of redemption is common in a lot of what Andrew has been reading and when he discovers he has a daughter he hopes that his chance to redeem himself has come.

My heart melted when Andrew reads to his daughter what he wants to say to her. He’s more comfortable writing than speaking and the fact that he wanted to get this interaction with his daughter just right was so touching.

Ultimately Andrew is a good man who strives to overcome his past and I imagine he just wants to be the kind of man who his Grandma, then girlfriend and finally his daughter will be proud of. He leads a quiet, often solitary existence and I found myself really liking him. I was proud of him for taking responsibility for his actions and I wanted everything to turn out well for him.

In under 100 pages, T.J. Kirsch made me connect with his main character more than a lot of authors of 400 plus page novels do. The writing was fairly sparse but this made the words that were written have more of an impact. The illustrations told the rest of the story, allowing access to Andrew’s emotions. Sometimes in graphic novels you can feel a disconnect between the story and the illustrations. Given that this graphic novel was written and drawn by the same person, there was no feeling of anything being lost in the translation.

I really liked the interplay between the handwritten portions of Andrew’s journals and the speech. The flashback scenes added to the story and were done in such a way that they blended in to the story and I didn’t find them distracting as a reader. I loved the use of the birds’ silhouettes throughout and particularly loved the symbolism of the brightly coloured butterflies in the final panel.

I suppose part of what drew me to Andrew was the fact that I’m also more comfortable expressing myself through writing than speaking. I do know I wasn’t expecting a great deal from this graphic novel and I’ve come away having read it twice so far with respect and admiration for this rough around the edges main character.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, NBM Publishing and Papercutz for the opportunity to read this graphic novel.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

In a sleepy New England town, Andrew Peters is born into an abusive family. As he grows older, he seems to be on the right track, using writing as his outlet — but his best friend Whitey is always pulling him in the opposite direction. Andrew eventually lands himself in prison, and shortly thereafter, learns he has a daughter. The shock resolves him to a path of redemption and an attempt to live his life as a decent man.

Hotel Transylvania Volume 1: Kakieland Katastrophe – Stefan Petrucha

Illustrations – Allen Gladfelter

Written by Stefan Petrucha and illustrated by Allen Gladfelter, Kakieland Katastrophe is the first in a new series of graphic novels that introduce new stories in the Hotel Transylvania world we already know and love.

With character profiles at the beginning, you are reminded of the monsters and human you already know or introduced to them if you’re new to Hotel Transylvania land. If you haven’t already seen the movies, please remedy that immediately as you are seriously missing out!

In this story, Stephen Cling, horror author and owner of Kakieland, a new Transylvanian theme park, is our baddie. Wanting to expand his empire, Cling decides he wants a hotel and he’s found the perfect one … Hotel Transylvania.

After tricking our helpful, loveable monsters into posing for some selfies that make them look scary and distributing them via the Internet to ruin the image of monsters everywhere, an angry mob arrives and turn up the heat on our monsters with flaming torches, pitchforks and protest signs. My personal favourite which is an absolute classic says ‘Sorry, I never know what to say on protest signs‘.

After all of the adults do their bit to attempt to fix the problem and fail, it’s up to the kids (Dennis and Winnie) to save the day, the Hotel and the reputation of monsters everywhere!

This is a really fun graphic novel. The characters stay true to the way they were depicted in the movies, the storyline is interesting and the artwork is excellent. There’s great attention to detail in the illustrations and enough humour and character traits from the movies shining through so it’s easy to hear the characters’ voices in your head as you read. It can be difficult to translate characters from movies onto the page but this is an impressive introduction and I’m interested to see where the story takes us in the next volume.

Colourists Laurie E. Smith and Matt Herms and letterer Wilson Ramos Jr. also deserve kudos for jobs well done in making the overall look come together in a way that stays true to the feel of the movies yet also creatively stands apart.

Thank you very much to NetGalley and Papercutz for the opportunity to read this graphic novel.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

The debut Hotel Transylvania graphic novel based on the movies! Horror author Stephen Cling visits Hotel Transylvania to try and prove monsters are still dangerous. Dracula, his daughter and her family, and the Drac pack are anything but! However, when a human child goes missing, it is up to Drac, Mavis, and the rest of the Hotel crew to locate the child before their monstrous reputation gets them chased out of town.