Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Return of the Dapper Men

Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann and Janet Lee

Enter a world in between time, where children have played so long it's almost become work, machines have worked so long they have begun to play, and all the clocks have stopped at the same time. This is how this land has remained, until 314 dapper-looking gentlemen rain down from the sky and set off in different directions to start the world anew. Now Ayden, the only boy to still ask questions; Zoe, the robot girl all other machines hold dear; and the Dapper Man known only as "41" must discover what happened that made time stop, understand what their true places are in this world, and learn what "tomorrow" really means. The sun is setting for the first time in memory, and once that happens, everything changes!

The Return of the Dapper Men is a visually stunning fairy tale that combines steampunk with fantasy and science fiction with Renaissance style, brought to life from the minds of award-winning playwright and comic book writer Jim McCann (New Avengers: The Reunion) and critically acclaimed visual artist Janet Lee. Together they have created a world where J.M. Barrie, Lewis Carrol, and Maurice Sendak meet Jim Henson and Tim Burton. All sharply dressed in a pin-stripe suit and a dapper bowler hat. -Plot summary borrowed from Goodreads

Since I diverged from the "spooky" theme to post about the Steampunk anthology already, I thought I might squeeze in another off-theme book. This graphic novel is honestly a piece of art. If you are interested in reading it, please do yourself a favor and read from a hard copy rather than an ereader. This way, you will get to appreciate the whole effect of the book's construction, from the slightly textured cover, to the endpapers, to the bonus artwork at the back of the book. And don't miss the introduction from, slightly oddly, Tim Gunn! I'm not one hundred percent clear on why Project Runway's fashion guru and dispenser of calm was asked to write the introduction, although Jim McCann describes him as "the original dapper man" on the dedications page. Anyway. 

The art is gorgeous and stunning, the story is enchanting, and this work is an ode to so many good things: stories, being yourself, silliness, wisdom, and nice warm cups of tea. As stated in the summary, this work would certainly appeal to fans of J.M. Barrie, Lewis Carrol, Tim Burton, etc. I would add Neil Gaiman and Norton Juster to the list, and I can't believe that no other reviews have pointed out how endearingly similar the Dapper Man known as "41" is to a certain Doctor....

This is a must for fans of Steampunk, graphic novels, or anyone interested in but weighed down by the dystopian trend.


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