book review: hilda and the midnight giant

Luke Pearson’s Hilda and the Midnight Giant is a beautiful comic. It’s a story about a little girl and her mom who live out far from town, and are being harassed by anonymous messages telling them to leave. And Hilda is pretty sure there’s a giant as tall as a mountain out watching them. Hilda does not want to go live in the nasty old town so she tries to negotiate with the tiny invisible people who live in their area and want her and her mother gone.

It’s cartoony with a purplish palette, and Hilda is clever and cute and makes perfect use of her fantastical world. The negotiation with the different layers of invisible government is all kinds of awesome. It works as a story about colonialism and who gets to live where too.

book review: the annotated northwest passage

Scott Chantler’s The Northwest Passage is a comic about fur traders and family and lots of action in Rupert’s Land back in 1755. Charles Lord, the governor, is heading back to England but before the supply ship arrives, one of his old Cree friends ends up shot and brought into camp, with tales of a vision of death. Then the French show up and take over the Company’s fort, Lord escapes into the wilderness, family relations are strained, and he gets the old gang back together again to retake what’s his. This is historical fiction with a very action-movie bent to it. The characters are all made up and there is a bit of Die Hard-ishness, especially in the final big set piece. The dialogue wasn’t great (very pulpy), but the clean cartoony style almost makes you overlook the amount of violence going on in the story. It was a fun read, but nothing earth-shattering.