Monday, November 16, 2009

Graphic Novel Monday: Rex Libris; I, Librarian, by James Turner


Rex Libris: I, Librarian, by James Turner. Published 2007 by SLG Publishing. Graphica. Fiction.

Rex Libris: I, Librarian, by James Turner, is a collection of the first five volumes of the comic book of the same name; it tracks the adventures of intrepid librarian/super hero Rex Libris, who roams the universe on a mission to save the world and his library's collections.

Rex is just your average librarian, a dedicated professional working at the Middleton Public Library, home to rare scrolls and manuscripts, staffed by tempermental mythological beings and frequented by vampires, aliens and warlords. In other words, just your average suburban library. The volumes collected here comprise an introduction to this world and the first of what will surely be many adventures as Rex travels to the planet Benzine and fights a race of space snowmen for some overdue library books.

It's a very silly book, characterized by self-conscious cleverness and a very distinctive, Art Deco visual style dominated by sharp angles, thick lines and a plethora of details. I like the style very much but I found the tiny lettering to be difficult to read at times; I'd like to see this story in a larger format. I liked the irreverence and sense of humor on display; Rex's sidekick is Simonides, a Greek lyric poet now trapped in the body of a bird thanks to a run-in with Circe, who now works the circulation desk at Middleton Public. Rex's boss is Egyptian mythological figure Thoth, who likes his raspberry chocolate lattes with cream and chocolate sprinkles. And Rex must contend with R. Barry Horst, his publisher, who'd like Rex to punch his story up and make it more commercial.

With some profanity and sexual references, Rex Libris would be a good choice for older teens and adults. It's a funny satire of libraries, a light space adventure and a cute read for anyone with a slightly off-balance sense of humor. I would think of it for readers who enjoy Terry Pratchett and his brand of self-referential cleverness. I'll definitely be on the lookout for the latest collection!

Rating: BACKLIST

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