Don’t Read My Graphic Novel


Don’t Read My Graphic Novel

That’s pretty much what the following review says about my new graphic novel, Upside Down: A Vampire Tale (Top Shelf Productions, 2012). A concerned friend sent me the link to the review and, rather than defend the book, I thought I would just share the review here:

Review of Upside Down: A Vampire Tale

“I’ll start with the illustrations as I was first attracted to the cover. The illustrations use a three-colour palette of green, white and black which is very appropriate for the theme. They are very simple and could have children trying to copy the drawings with a reasonable amount of success. Overall they are cute and even the “bad” character of the witch isn’t that ugly to look at. The pictures will appeal to children. As for the story, I have to say I was not all that impressed. I just didn’t find it funny. Harold has a bad experience at the dentist, he eats candy so much it has wrecked his teeth. He runs away from home rather than face his parents and takes up with strangers pulling pranks on people. Not exactly role-modeling behaviour and the antics aren’t even humorous. I think the author went a bit too far with the paranormal content for this age too with the resurrecting of the dead and with the violence in the annihilation of the witch and her kind. They may be bad but did they have to be destroyed? Not what I thought it would be. I can’t recommend it to people looking for books with family values for their children.”

11 Responses to “Don’t Read My Graphic Novel”
  1. RoosterTree says:

    Can’t please everyone.

  2. Joe Decie says:

    I always love the “family values” reviews, those folks just can’t seem to enjoy books. I have a family, I guess I just don’t value them enough.

  3. I am often surprised by the whole “family values” thing. I find most folks don’t seem to have a problem with the kids watching TV, (full of violence, even in kid-oriented cartoons) but they will nit pick and over-analyse a picture book. I wouldn’t be terribly concerned with even a few wack reviews, Jess, most folks don’t read too much into comic/graphic violence, etc. It’s supposed to be fun, not building moral fiber. Just my two pesos.

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Those are great points – I hadn’t ever really thought of that before.

      Just so you know, the review doesn’t bug me at all. I just didn’t think it was fair of me to post only positive reviews, so I put it up. (If I were afraid of it, I wouldn’t have told anyone it existed.) I just don’t want to pretend that some people won’t like the book. I’m really okay with it.

      Four years of art school, with teachers and students openly critiquing your hard work can build a fairly tough shell 🙂

  4. thatmitch says:

    Hahaha! I’d love to read a story written by the writer of that review!

  5. LordByrum says:

    Makes me want to buy it!

  6. Nicola says:

    I’m the writer of that review and you’re right you can’t please all the people all the time. Some people will like your book and some won’t. thatmitch, you’ll never read a book by me; I read books I don’t write ’em. Joe Decie,, if you take time to notice on my blog I enjoy a great number of books. Thought I’d drop a line, since I just noticed I had been talked about. Thanks for including the link to my review Jess 🙂

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      What a nice surprise! Thanks for your comments and for understanding – I just didn’t feel that it was fair of me to share only the positive reviews of the book. Maybe you’ll like my next book (outside of the Upside Down series) better? All the best to you and congratulations on losing 107 pounds?!?! That’s incredible!

    • RoosterTree says:

      The artist & critic have an interesting, dynamic relationship, the instances of which can be extremely varied, depending on the individuals. I really like seeing the artist & negative reviewer remain on civil terms. It speak well of you both.

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