Monday, November 23, 2009

Graphic Novel Monday: Diary of the Black Widow, by Bret M. Herholz


Diary of the Black Widow, by Bret M. Herholz. Published 2007 by Alterna Comics. Graphica. Fiction.

Diary of the Black Widow is a fairly light and rather entertaining comic thriller about a young woman who realizes she has the power to seduce men and make them do her bidding. As you might guess from the title, she marries and kills her lovers and accumulates their wealth, and all is going swimmingly until the day she meets a bumbling detective and his assistant who are determined to unravel her crimes.

Her first victim is young Adam Grumble, whose parents are so thankful to her for her help in investigating their son's death that they reward her with his college fund. From there she goes on to bigger and richer prey. She is unnerved by the arrival of the Detective Inspector and his assistant, Jenkins, but they prove to be both ineffectual and sexist, as they assume that only a man could have committed her crimes and that the cemetery in the back of her house could only be full of cats.

The black and white artwork looks like a rough approximation of Edward Gorey. The characters have exaggerated, thin bodies and wear Edwardian clothes in their gothic scenes and settings. The lettering looks like old-fashioned typescript. It's an appealing, funny parody of the Sherlock Holmes-type detective story, complete with a femme fatale and illogical deduction. Some sexual references and mild violence make Diary a fun book for teens and adults. The edition I read includes fan art and even a dramatic adaptation. It's a fun little graphic novel that I enjoyed quite a bit.

Rating: BUY

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review from the publisher.

10 comments:

Elena said...

This looks so adorable! :P

I am putting on my list of graphic novels/comics to buy when i next hit the comics store ^_^

JoAnn said...

This sounds like a good one. I've started a graphic novel tbr list, and am adding this one.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love the graphics shown on the cover. To me, so much of a graphic novel depends on the quality of the artwork. This one looks really good!

bermudaonion said...

Sounds like a fun book and if the cover is any indication, the illustrations look great too.

jewwishes said...

Nice review, Marie! It looks like a great book, and I'm not into graphic novels.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I'm not usually too wild about graphic novels, but this one immediately grabbed my interest. Thanks for the review!

John A. Walsh said...

Reminds you of Gorey, eh?

I'll have to check this out! Thanks for tipping us off to this one.

Zibilee said...

I love Gorey and think this sounds like a really interesting concept for a graphic novel so I think I will check this one out. I am so glad that this feature is back!!

Bret M. Herholz said...

Thank you everyone for your kind words. This book was really my first graphic novel and I have a very emotional connection to it because at the time my Grandfather had become very ill so I drew a lot of the book at the very kitchen table I used to do my drawings at while I was sitting and spending time with him.

Thank you kindly :-)

Marie said...

Bret- thank you for stopping by. I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for more of your work.