Friday, February 17, 2012

Review | Frank Miller's Bad Boy

"Maybe it’s a dream or maybe it’s a memory. I don’t know which. I don’t know anything. The air’s cold and it cuts into my lungs. It makes me want a cigarette."

Ever had a nightmare where you’re running with nowhere to hide and the only way out is to leap out of a window or off a cliff? Jason’s living that nightmare. Only in his case it could also be real. Bad Boy, a graphic novel written by Frank Miller with art by Simon Bisley is an intriguing shorter than short graphic novel that lasts all of 15 minutes and what a good 15 minutes it is.

Jason is a young boy. Not older than 8 years if we’re going by size. He’s trying to escape from Sacred Oaks, a prototype world free of drugs, war, meat and to Jason’s distress – cigarettes. The captors look like dangerous robots built out of scrap metal. The doctor looks like a naked Amazon – a centerfold, he calls her – who needs him to obey in order to make Sacred Oaks the perfect place. Who is he? He doesn’t know. How did he get there? He doesn’t know. Why are they so desperate to keep him confined? He’s going to find out.

I joined a library recently. It’s the best thing, I tell you. It’s called Leaping Windows (for Mumbai only) and it’s got a vast collection of graphic novels, comics and Manga that are delivered to your doorstep. I haven’t read too many of these in the past save for the odd Tinkle, Archie and that one time, Watchmen. But I do know that as an ardent fan of the written word, the pictures don’t go a long way if the story’s too short. I can already visualize fans of the art form spitting at their screens and noting my coordinates to come conk me over the head. But that’s just my opinion. Or maybe I’ve just been a bit unlucky and unaware to order the right stuff.  

Since I joined Leaping Windows, I’m two books in, I’ve had the misfortune of ordering titles that are 40 pages or less. That’s a whole lot of art work and a wonderfully illustrated story but a short read nonetheless. And when you’re done with one short story, you need to get to the next one.

Then there’s the story itself. Bad Boy would have been brilliant had it been a larger story. It has a promising start – (You’re not my mommy, bitch!)—but it leaves a lot of gaping holes along the way. Jason proclaims they want his mind but to me it seems like the Amazon doctor just wants his compliance. It’s not the same thing, really, is it? Then there’s the matter with Rachel which doesn’t get explained entirely. Why did she try to convince him to go back like she couldn’t do so herself?.... Hold on... *15 minutes later* All right. That explains that I guess.

I like Jason. He a version of Calvin that smokes, swears, hurts and has a cat named Hitler instead of a stuffed tiger. But Mr Miller – this story needs so much more. I implore you to start with answers to the questions already raised, and questions to the answers that came too easily.

Know of any graphic more novels I should read? Please feel free to recommend a title or two. As of now I've got Marvel's Kick Ass in queue.


  1. Uhmm, just curious, have you seen the graphical movie adaptation of the Miller's Sin City?

    1. Yes I have. It was quite intriguing wasn't it?

    2. Ah! So thou are not numb to graphic depictions which lack words waiting to be read.
      I love Sin City. I relish it the more I see it.



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