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Far Arden Hardcover – July 16, 2009

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this fanciful tale set in arctic Canada, disparate characters struggle to find a mythic paradise island, Far Arden. Despite far-fetched aspects like the evil, bureaucracy-controlled Royal Canadian Arctic Navy, a half-man/half–polar bear and a conniving university professor of psychology, the story becomes mundane through the intertwining character relations and attention to detail in constructing the world. The protagonist, a stoic, rugged arctic pirate, Army Shanks, searches for the island to reunite with his mentor, Simon Arctavis, but is hindered by old acquaintances and ill-fortune. Slowly, the reader becomes immersed in this alternate arctic world. Commonplace and strange are fused, as rants on the dangers of global warming transition into a battle with a polar bear. The thick crosshatched backgrounds and simple fluid characters further ground the story. As the entwined pasts of Army, his ex, her current husband, a college couple and an orphan bent on revenge for his father's murder are revealed, entwining pasts become clear and the full range of this engrossing story is revealed. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up—Known best for his prowess in illustration, Cannon has written a fun and exciting modern-day pirate tale. Army Shanks, a rugged sailor, is infatuated with locating Far Arden, a mythical haven in the Arctic, complete with lush fruit trees and flowers, waterfalls, and exotic women. His quest to find this elusive paradise is filled with twists and turns, trials and tribulations as he meets an odd assortment of seemingly unrelated characters, including an ex-lover, two college students, undercover "environmental cops," an orphan, a corrupt circus warden with his captive "man beast," and a ruthless professor who will stop at nothing to discover Far Arden. Cleverly weaving together his extraordinary cast of characters through past histories and present events, the author neatly ties everything up in a satisfying ending. The images in each panel skillfully match the tone of the story and beautifully support the characterization of individuals and events as they unfold. Cannon has proved himself to be a riveting storyteller with this fast-paced adventure that features polar-bear fights, kidnapping, conspiracy, misinterpretations, and double-crosses.—Lara McAllister, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions; First Edition edition (July 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603090363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603090360
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #469,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark McGinty on July 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I first started reading Kevin Cannon's graphic novel Far Arden while about halfway through another book. I'm usually pretty good at reading two books at once, alternating whimsically as my mood dictates. I could not do that with Far Arden. Ten pages in and I set it aside and finished the other book. I knew Far Arden was already a fascinating adventure story that I wanted to immerse myself in completely and without distraction.

The reader would benefit from knowing the story of how this book was produced: Cannon was challenged to draw one 24-hour comic (24 pages drawn and completed in 24 hours) each month for an entire year. The result if Far Arden, an epic adventure story set in the Canadian Arctic.

Enter the hero, Army Shanks. Imagine Indiana Jones reincarnated as a renegade Arctic pirate who looks like John Lennon but dresses like the guys from Whale Wars. It is Shanks' mission in life to discover the tropical utopia of Far Arden but before he gets there he must navigate through a delightful gang of eccentric characters that include a Russian businessman, a burly man in chains and a circus warden, a pair of nosey journalism students and a little Short Round who wears a fox pelt while searching for his father's killer. Sound original? You bet!

The story is great fun and it moves rather quickly. Every time I finished a chapter, I promised to read just one more and ended up pressing on because the story was just so damn interesting. Shanks doesn't put up with any BS and watching him fight, trick and luck his way through a series of amusing obstacles makes you root for him more and more.

The artwork is minimal yet striking which works to the story's advantage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alejandro Oyarzabal on February 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I couldn't put this book down. Kevin Cannon made an amazing book. I couldn't set it down (seriously -- I did not set it down until I finished it) and immediately after finishing it I wanted to move onto another book. Can't wait for the next story..
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Format: Hardcover
Far Arden is an island off the grid and missing from the world map and people are in a race to find it. Its mythical, its tropical and it is somewhere in the Arctic circle.

Army Shanks, ex Royal Canadian Arctic Navy man, has the gumption and the will to find Far Arden but many obstacles stand in his way. First he has to find his ship, help a orphan, fight a polar bear, (OK he doesn't fight the polar bear, someone else does), then he does battle with RCAN, meets a couple of weird college kids and so much more.

Far Arden is an adventure story, a graphic novel and 100 percent enjoyable and fun. I loved all the clever plot twists and turns and how all the characters connect with each other in the end. Far Arden is a page turning, karate kicking, stomach punching, thought provoking, kick ass graphic novel that will keep you guessing. There are plenty of surprises thrown in that will make you laugh and pull your heart strings.

Far Arden is skillfully drawn in black and white with intricate detail. Kevin is a well known cartoonist and cartographer and is artwork is drawn with heart and humor and will keep the reader coming back for more.

Oh, I just had an important thought here: Army Shanks kinda of reminds me of an older and wiser Scott Pilgrim. So Scott Pilgrim fans, this should be your next read.

Now I'm off to read the next installment of Army Shanks adventures and to see how he recovers from the ending of Far Arden. Crater XV here I come!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Kevin Cannon, Far Arden (Top Shelf, 2009)

For some reason, I was expecting Far Arden to be one of those hip-cynical, all-too-self-aware comics when I picked it up. So when I ended up with a hare-brained adventure story, to call it a pleasant surprise would be something of an understatement. It's kind of slight in the final analysis, but it's often humorous, the characters are a lot of fun to hang around with, and the story, however simple, is a compelling one that's powered many a quest narrative over the centuries (the search for Utopia, in this case in the guide of Far Arden, a tropical paradise hidden in the arctic). It's a fun book, even if it does get a tough heavy-handed at times. Graphic novel fans will want to pick this one up. *** ½
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