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review 2019-06-16 00:00
Celeste - I. N. J. Culbard ‘Celeste’ is a graphic novel by I.N.J. Culbard whose graphics I have enjoyed on the ‘Brass Sun: The Wheel Of Worlds’ mini-series. His art is equally good on ‘Celeste’ and he has more space here to indulge in slow-paced storytelling which he does to good effect.

There’s a very cinematic opening few pages in which the view pans from a distant shot of the Milky Way galaxy right up to our own lovely planet. Then it focuses on three objects that look like rose petals which drift down from the sky and land on three different people. These are an albino young lady in London just getting up for work, a man in the USA driving to work and a man in Japan about to hang himself. In the blink of an eye, it appears that all the people around them vanish and they are left alone. Then the albino girl finds another girl, the man in the US finds a fellow trapped in the boot of a car, hands bound, and the man in Japan finds odd looking shape-changers who attack him in various ways. There is some nudity and not very gory violence.

The storytelling was excellent throughout and it was perfectly simple to follow even though there were many pages with neither dialogue nor captions. It was easy to see what was going on. Making sense of it was a different matter, unfortunately. I very much enjoyed the developments in the first half which built up a great sense of expectation of something brilliant about to be revealed but the concluding part was, to me, disappointing. This sort of obscure story always passes my understanding, however, and people who like experimental fiction will probably enjoy the whole thing.

I’m glad that the medium of comics is being stretched in this way and used for something other than super-heroes, monsters and Science Fiction. This was a fantasy or maybe magic realism. I certainly appreciate the tremendous amount of work that I.N.J Culbard put into this project and I emphasise again that the graphics are lovely. However, the meaning of it all was lost on me. I have reviewed similar experimental works in this manner and among the creators, my name will surely be infamous as a blockhead best left reading simple super-hero adventures. Sorry.

Eamonn Murphy
This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/
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review 2019-06-10 14:47
The Graphic Novella of Lovecraft
Lovecraft: Four Classic Horror Stories - I.N.J. Culbard,H.P. Lovecraft

Adaptations are never easy if not done right. My love for H.P. Lovecraft is by far, not the easiest but it is his stories that I enjoyed, even though I read only one collection of his stories (The Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories, which I had read and reviewed). Now, this recently released collection of four of his short stories into graphic novel is what excites me to read, especially when I enjoy the artwork by I.N.J. Culbard, which he too adapt the stories. There are four stories adapted into this one massive graphic novel - The Dream - Quest of Unknown Kadath, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, At the Mountain of Madness and The Shadow Out of Time - are related to one another in ways of the world building itself. But do any of it achieved its potential of enjoyment... to me, only two out of four of them are good.


The first two stories were some what slow and boring. Nothing really much happening and the narrative itself is rather monotonous. I can't help but feel like I am going into a history lesson class of the universe of ancient ones. Sadly, it doesn't bring the horror out of the stories and ends up pretty much a dud to me. The last two achieve what was intended - the true horrors of the unknown mystery that inspires movies like Alien or John Carpenter's The Thing that has a good substantial influence of Lovecraft's work - a perfect blend of science fiction and horror. The artwork brings out the best in the stories and fits very well here as it does brings out the macabre of the scary.


Fans of Lovecraft will enjoy parts of the stories but for those who do not know Lovecraft, might not appreciate much. To me, I would say it deserves a 3.5 out of 5 for this one.

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review 2016-01-16 00:00
Celeste - I. N. J. Culbard One minute Ray is talking to a policeman about his wife in LA, two commuters meet each other's eyes in a crowded underground in London and in Japan, comic artist Yoshi who has some to the Aokigahara Forest in Japan, fails to hang himself when suddenly there's no-one else around them. Ray is surrounded by cars, Aaron and Lilly talk about everything and nothing and it's very sweet and Yoshi is chased by demons.

It's an interesting read with characters who feel quite real.
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review 2015-12-12 17:49
Wild's End #1
WILDS END #1 - Dan Abnett,INJ Culbard

Apparently this is going to be a super slow burn of a series. I've been eagerly awaiting these showing up on my library lending website, since I wasn't 100% sold on purchasing them. Now, I'm a little glad I waited. If I had purchased this issue, I don't know if I would have continued. Since I read it as a borrow, I'm much more willing to be intrigued and continue on!


This issue is very much a set-up issue. We meet the inhabitants of Wild's End, who easily come to life. It wasn't difficult for me at all to accept a quaint town, filled with walking and talking animals. In fact, INJ Culbard's art was really the spotlight of this whole issue. It has this whimsical feel to it, which makes me now understand why this is so often compared to The Wind in the Willows. It feels just like that. A bit quiet, a bit peaceful. Which makes me all the more excited for the madness that will soon ensue.


A meteor has landed in the town. What's next? I'll be sure to find out.


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text 2015-08-05 20:24
July Wrap-up
Nimona - Noelle Stevenson
The Novice: Summoner: Book One (The Summoner Trilogy) - Taran Matharu
Seven for a Secret - Lyndsay Faye
The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle,I.N.J. Culbard,Ian Edginton

Despite it being a pretty busy month of for me, I did manage to start getting back into better reading habits. It's hard to be disappointed in the fact I only managed four books when I look back on the month.  July was pretty busy and it pulled me away from my shelves.  I spent most of the month getting use to being at my new job full time with the new promotion.  On top of making the shop mine, I was trying to get my staff on a cleaning schedule, and just getting use to being in charge.  All of this happened on top the business adding new things to promote new business and opening a new store front.  Which forced me to step up and prove why our GM and owner promoted me.  On top of all of that the weather as been amazing so I've been out paddle boarding when time allows, and of course a family visit.  I also started writing again, it's been a few months since I've had the need to put pen to paper.  So I feel it was a good month for me and my reading!  Even if I didn't tackle any of my TBR pile.


Books read: 4
Number of pages: 1232 
Reading Challenge Update: 21 books to my 45 book goal
Series Finished: None
Series Started: 1 with the Novice
BINGO Squares: 2


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