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REVIEWS

About THE TEN:
Graphic novelist turned fantasy author Myrick (Feynman, 2011, etc.) releases the first installment of a promising trilogy that trails an elite warrior as he adventures through foreign lands, weaves magic and vanquishes his enemies...Myrick’s epic tale features assassins, dark priests, blue demons and an Amazon warrior as it chronicles the lives of more than six core characters. All are uniquely crafted, with intentions to either destroy or save the kingdom. Brief chapters juxtapose longer prose, fueling a high-paced story line that flies from one end of the world to the other. As the author shifts from one point of view to the next, readers slide through a rich mosaic of betrayal, greed, loyalty and honor. Of its manifold strengths, the novel is fluid and full of surprises. Readers will question the characters’ loyalties to the king as they ponder the mysterious identity of the final member of the Ten. As the book draws to a close, the final lines are likely to send shivers up readers’ spines. The author masterfully crafts vivid battle scenes and heart-pounding chases across oceans, over snow-peaked mountains and into city sewers. Neither diehard nor casual fantasy readers will be able to resist this trilogy’s rousing start. An exemplar of storytelling and character-driven adventure. -- Kirkus Reviews
About FEYNMAN:
Horn Book Best Books of 2011: "A biography presented in graphic-novel form, told in the first person—an unusual treatment that’s spectacularly successful..."
"These images capture with remarkable sensitivity the essence of Feynman’s character. The comic-book picture somehow comes to life and speaks with the voice of the real Feynman...The Ottaviani-Myrick book is the best example of this genre that I have yet seen.” -- Freeman Dyson, The New York Review of Books
"...an affectionate and inspiring comic biography of the legendary iconoclastic physicist Richard Feynman...Like all great biography, Feynman is an enticement to read more of his works...I'll be shoving Feynman at everyone I can get to read it." -- Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing

“A tour de force. . . . This is the best kind of story for presentation in graphic novel form as the words and pictures work in concert to produce as a whole something more than either can do separately.” -- Shelf Awareness Pro Starred Review

"Spectacular.” -- The Horn Book, starred review
“Terrific..” -- Austin Chronicle
“Feynman captures the jazzy flow of Feynman's life in its spare lines.” -- USA Today
#1 New York Times Bestseller
About MISSOURI BOY:
Missouri Boy named to Booklist's Top Ten Graphic Novels for Youth 2007!

March 15, 2007, Booklist released it's list of Top Ten Graphic Novels for 2007. Not only is Missouri Boy on the list, but First Second Books, publisher of Missouri Boy, has 3 of the 10 spots.

Starred Review in 9/15/06 Booklist

Gr. 9-12. In this graphic novel, Myrick contributes a heartfelt glimpse of his youth, presenting vignettes that reflect life growing up in a small town. From marveling at the creation of a perfect paper airplane and swimming nude in a nearby lake with his friends to muffing an opportunity with a pretty girl and seeing death close up, the author shares memories of his boyhood and teen years. Even if Myrick's specific memories aren't ours, they touch and connect us as readers, encouraging us to remember our own youth. There are no terrible secrets or great revelations here. It's the tenderness and intimacy of the spare words and pictures that set the book apart. Myrick's art, from the rich colors to the panel layouts, works on a gut level. It seems so simple, yet it speaks independently of the words, providing a subtext and an emotional nuance that create a sense of the wistful hope of childhood. A fine example of the graphic novel.

Review in 8/1/06 issue of Kirkus

One artist's mild childhood, told in episodic flashes.

It's been a while since we've seen a tale of growing up that trades neither in overwhelming nostalgia nor sheer, unmitigated dysfunction, so the publication of this illustrated memoir by Myrick (Bright Elegy, not reviewed) is especially welcome. The artist's upbringing in a small Missouri town not far from St. Louis is chronicled in self-contained episodes identified by year, beginning in 1961 and ending in 1985. Each chapter is an evocative vignette that could almost stand on its own, and several have a Bradbury-esque glow, while darkness falls over some sections. In "My Father's Hands," which begins with the family dressing for court, Myrick's oldest brother, "head bowed, hippie beard pressed against his chest," gets a ten-year sentence for bank robbery. The most imaginative of these episodes compares his pregnant mother's swollen belly to the distended shape of "one dying grandmother bulging with the death growing in her stomach," then envisions the birth of the artist and his twin: "We enter the world, my brother and I . . . with the circle of life wobbling unsteadily. Attached to a grandmother we will never meet." Most of these stories began as poems, and their elliptical lilt remains, accentuated by Myrick's artwork (color by Hilary Sycamore), replete with haunted eyes and giant, toothy smiles. By the end, when his youthful self shakes off the past ("I feel the presence of my local gods waning") and he heads for California, readers may feel wistful for a childhood they never experienced.

Short, gleeful and precise.

Review in 6/26/06 Publisher's Weekly

Myrick (Bright Elegy) shares slices of his own childhood in this graphic memoir: his birth at the moment of his grandmother's death; a magical Fourth of July, lighting firecrackers in a tree in the yard; a boyhood ritual of skinny-dipping in a pond in the woods; his first failed attempt at romance. He paints childhood as both simple and complex, mixing the joy of folding the perfect paper airplane with the family tragedy of watching his older brother sentenced to 10 years in prison. The words outline the stories in minimal dialogue and lyrical captions, making each section a visual poem. At the end, Myrick sets out on a cross-country motorcycle journey, leaving behind Missouri and all the places steeped in memories of childhood for California, marking his final journey to adulthood. The block colors and rough outlines of the art evoke unsentimental nostalgia for Myrick's youth. The subject matter is reminiscent of such cartoon memoirs as Chester Brown's I Never Liked You and John Porcellino's Perfect Example, but its episodic nature doesn't really hold together as a narrative, and the end result is more evocative than riveting.

Panel to Panel
Review in Panel to Panel

MISSOURI BOY broke my heart. And after closing the book I was floating in a bitterweet, "happysad" wave. All the talent of Leland Myrick is here. Taking mundane things, all the little events in one's childhood, and making them yours. Wherever you spent your youth you will feel an empathic bond with the Myrick's family. The illustrations are nice, though sometimes a little bit too derivative of Tardi (French comics superstar); but for U.S. readers that shouldn't be important.

In our modern life things goes very fast and we so have many "friends" on myspace, so it's quite delightful to find some uncontrived genuine humanity in a graphic novel.