The Battle of Blood and Ink: A Fable of the Flying City by Jared Axelrod, Steve Walker (Illustrator)

Hardcover, 144 pages Published May 8th 2012 by Tom Doherty Associates (first published November 8th 2011) ISBN 0765331306 (ISBN13: 9780765331304)

If you’re visiting the flying city of Amperstam without the latest printing of The Lurker’s Guide, you might as well be lost. This one-sheet is written, edited, and printed by Ashe, a girl raised on the streets of the flying city, and is dedicated to revealing its hidden treasures and deepest secrets—including many that the overcontrolling government doesn’t want anyone to know. The stakes are raised when Ashe accidentally uncovers the horror of exactly how Amperstam travels among the skies and garners the attention of those who would rather that secret be kept in the hands of the city’s powerful leaders. Soon Ashe is on the run from thugs and assassins, faced with the choice of imperiling her life just to keep publishing, or giving in to the suggestion of a rich patron that she trade in her voice and identity for a quiet, comfortable life. It’s a war of confusion for Ashe, but one thing is very clear: just because you live in a flying city, you can’t always keep your head in the clouds.

Ashe and her friend Tolbin have a little one page paper that they disperse among the city. One day her journalistic adventures lead her to find out how the city is able to fly. She struggles with the idea of letting the secret out or not, but the leader of the city, Provost knows that she has found out and is after her. This is where most of the excitement and action comes into the story. Ashe can really hold her own and is flawed, yet strong and really kicks butt.

The story is very fast paced, all black and white pictures with mostly bold black lines defining the characters and settings. Not very much shading at all and no colored pages. In the very beginning pages we get a sample of the paper that she puts out and it gives the reader a lot of details about characters, setting and world.

I loved Ashe, she’s feisty and fierce. This was my first look into a steampunk graphic novel and the thought of a flying city really appealed to me.

After doing a little research online I found that Jared Axelrod also has a podcast that discusses this series and if you’re interested to give it a listen here is the link to episode #1 from iTunes.

Jared Axelrod – Fables of the Flying City – #iTunes   and in which he introduces you to the website as well

I would suggest checking out the podcast and the websites first as they give a lot of background information, character info and world building.


by Patricia Briggs, Francis Tsai (Illustrator), David Lawrence, Amelia Woo (Illustrator)

Hardcover, Graphic Novel, 168 pages

Published August 25th 2009 by Del Rey/Dabel Brothers

Mercy Thompson is a walker who can shape shift into the form of a coyote. In Homecoming

she fails to get the teaching job she has traveled to get and ends up in a town in which the werewolves are in the middle of a gang war.

Not wanting to get caught up in the mess, she takes on a job as a car mechanic that was offered by the 9 year old boy who runs the place. Between the two of them they consider themselves likely enough to fix most car problems.

Eventually, between the vampires and the werewolves and her being new in town, she gets caught up in the mess. There is a lot of fighting, and most of the fighting that involves her is when she has shifted, so she’s naked, using whatever tools she can find around to defend herself.

There’s not a lot of dialogue in this particular book. It is mostly visual story illustrations. The front cover indicates that she is covered with tattoos but the inside only shows a few, one small wrap around on each arm and her belly. I’m not exactly sure why the cover art is different than the comic inside. I would have liked just a little bit more dialogue, but the full colored glossy pages made for an intense and interesting story.


You can’t get any further down than the bottom of the world than Antarctica. Cold, desolate, nothing but ice and snow for miles and miles. Carrie Stetko is a U.S. Marshal, and she’s made The Ice her home. In its vastness, she has found a place where she can forget her troubled past and feel at peace…

Until someone commits a murder in her jurisdiction and that peace is shattered. The murderer is one of five men scattered across the continent, and he has more reason to hide than just the slaying. Several ice samples were taken from the area around the body, and the depth of the drilling signifies something particular was removed. Enter Lily Sharpe, who wants to know what was so important that another man’s life had to be taken for it. But are either of the women prepared for the secrets and betrayals at the core of the situation?

Paperback, 128 pages

Published April 15th 2001 by Oni Press

ISBN   0966712714 (ISBN13: 9780966712711)

I am going to openly state that I think you should see the movie. First Kate Beckinsale is pretty cool and she does a great job of playing this role.

The book is all done in black and white pages. It helps enhance the the feeling of the complete cold and desolate continent that Antarctica is.  The storyline is pretty intense, Carrie Stetko is a strong female character that gets put through a lot of scary shit as the story progresses and with the added danger of being one of the only females in a isolated place with some very dangerous activity happening, she really does hold her own.

At 128 pages it took me awhile to get through, there is a lot of activity happening and quite a bit of detail and dialogue as well as the illustrations to carry the story along.  The storyline is one of the most dense and intense that I have come across in a Graphic Novel.



davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 





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