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Bad Island Paperback – August 1, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews



“TenNapel's colorful illustrations are filled with energy and life.”–School Library Journal, starred

“TenNapel is a terrific cartoonist and in fine form here.”–Booklist

“TenNapel is an accomplished creator of graphic novels for kids, and this is sure to appeal to all those who love his most famous character, Earthworm Jim.”–Publishers Weekly

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From the Inside Flap

When Reese is forced to go on a boating trip with his family, the last thing he expects is to be shipwrecked on an island—especially one teeming with weird plants and animals. But what starts out as simply a bad vacation turns into a terrible one, as the castaways must find a way to escape while dodging the island’s dangerous inhabitants. With few resources, and a mysterious entity on the hunt, each secret unlocked could save them . . . or spell their doom. One thing Reese knows for sure: This is one Bad Island.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: GRAPHIX; First Edition edition (August 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545314801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545314800
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm actually much older than this book's target audience. You might be wondering why I bought it then. Well, there are two reasons. The first is that I'm a fan of the author. The other reason is a bit more complicated.

If you've read the book synopsis, you're probably thinking this sounds an awful lot like the TV show, "Lost", and - to a degree - you're right. Both stories are about a group of castaways stranded on an island, both have the main narrative frequently inter-cut with flashbacks, and both contain unexplained phenomena that keep piling up. In fact, one or two of the phenomena in "Bad Island" have direct parallels in "Lost" (although TenNapel is good enough to put his own unique spin on them).

It goes beyond that though. Imagine if "Lost's" storyline had been 100 % planned out from the beginning and had actually answered all the questions it raised - that every little bizarre thing was given an explanation. If this sounds appealing to you, read on.

If I were a betting man, I'd wager that TenNapel found the basic premise of the show appealing, but was turned off by how it was actually handled and decided to vent this frustration by writing and drawing his own take on the concept. Granted, since this was his own take, this means a lot more monsters and a lot less humans...it's still a Doug TenNapel comic, after all.

If there is a sticking point (and sadly, there is), it's the characters; or rather, one set of characters. The story is actually two stories that intertwine at the very end: the main story and a subplot told in flashbacks. The characters from the subplot are very good, although they really don't take up much of the book. The characters from the main story, on the other hand, are a little on the...lacking side.
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Format: Paperback
It's enough to make you want to take up brain surgery. I read some comics for kids and I can hardly move through the recycled tropes and old overdone ideas cluttering up the pages. Then I read a book by Doug TenNapel. When the man's Ghostopolis came out last year I was delighted. Sure, we've all seen the idea of the afterlife as a city done before (May Bird, Billy Bones, etc.) but TenNapel's storytelling managed to incorporate this odd and unique internal logic that I'd never seen anywhere before. Now I've picked up his next Graphix GN Bad Island and while I wish I could just compare it to something I've seen before I cannot. What currently operates in the brain of this man baffles me. His books read like fever dreams that make sense (and if rumors about his next cardboard-related comic are to be believed he's not exactly going mainstream anytime soon). Sometime a kid wants a stand alone graphic novel that also happens to be "epic". And if it's epic you seek, epic you will find in this strange near-indescribable little piece.

Okay. Here comes the tough part of the review. The part where I try to summarize the plot. Bear with me now. Two planets. Two rebellious sons. In a distant universe a battle wages. Giant creatures have secured the freedom of a relatively tiny species that they allow to live on their very skin. The giants rely on these people to operate their battle armor and other internal mechanics, which is a good thing since the tiny people's previous hosts have returned to reclaim their slaves. The son of the king of the giants is determined to fight as well, but his efforts lead only to his capture at the hands of the enemy and banishment to a far away world.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
One of the interesting schisms in the comics industry these days is the battle of pacing. Up until the mid 90s mainstream comics tended to fall on the side of condensed storytelling, reveling in epic battles with what seemed twenty or thirty characters and at least three plot lines per 32-page issue. Though confusing and chaotic at first, the appeal of this storytelling style makes a lot of sense when you consider the serialized format of traditional comics publishing. After an issue or two under your belt you quickly start to sort out what's going on and, and before you know it you're hip deep in the continuity of the world presented. On the other hand, over the past 15 years the big two (Marvel and DC) have phased out the condensed style in lieu of a much more decompressed form of storytelling. Taking a cue from hour-long action and dramatic television pacing in shows like 24, Lost, and the overarching plot episodes of the X-Files, comic authors are stretching out the stories with a much slower-paced format, examining the minutia of character personalities and motivations, and leaving plenty of room to examine plot tributaries and freeing up the option to change the perceived outcome of the story if need be. Both extremes have their pluses and minuses.

I'm bringing this up because Dog Tennapel's work not only picks a side in this battle of pacing, it pushes the boundaries much further than I've seen in a long time. Tennapel's condensed storytelling in his new novel Bad Island makes the reading experience equally rich and frustrating as all hell. The first impression I got when reading through the comic was that everything was new and fresh. Character designs, plotlines, dialogue; it all seemed exciting and rife with interesting story opportunities.
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