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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Book is used in good condition. Cover shows use and shelf wear. Ex-library book with typical markings and labels. Text is clean of any markings, writing, or highlighting.
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Elmer Paperback – November 23, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Jake Gallo is an angry young man, frustrated at his lack of employment and easily provoked by perceived slights. It is not until we are several pages into the book that we discover that he is also a talking, thinking chicken. He is no anomaly; decades earlier, all of chickenkind suddenly gained intelligence and speech; by the 2000s they are legally human. Jake's father's illness and subsequent death lead Jake to read his father's account of the early days after the change; this in turn allows Alanguilan to show the reader the often horrific sequence of events that followed chickenkind's sudden elevation to sapience. Used to seeing chickens as food or worse, humans are not shown at their best as they react, often violently, to this sudden alteration of the natural order. The gorgeous b&w art, full of lush pen work and strong expressions, takes what should be a self-evidently ludicrous proposition and somehow imbues it with plausibility, drawing readers into a brutal, blood-soaked tale of a transformed species and the outrage and savagery of their former owners. A peculiar but engaging work that deserves attention. (Nov.)The Adventures of Unemployed ManErich Origen, Gan Golan, Ramona Fradon, Rick Veitch and Michael NetzerLittle, Brown, .99 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-0-316-09882-3A superhero-filled parable of the current economic crisis that is in turns informative, smart, funny and preachy. Origen and Golan's story follows a superhero formerly known as the Ultimatum, who had championed a misguided campaign to educate society's poor on how to best lift themselves up by their bootstraps. After he's fired from the job, he hits rock bottom and joins with other heroes who tried to make an honest living by following what they'd thought were the right rules only to be crushed and tossed aside by an unfair economic system. Together they fight an organization led by the uncaring Invisible Hand and filled with characters meant to represent everything from key economic officials of the past decade to current and former investment banks. They realize that in order to succeed they'll need coordinated efforts from far more than a small band of heroes. Though the entire message comes off as preaching to the choir, the superhero pastiche, drawn in a Silver Age comics style with nods to Jack Kirby by three highly individualistic artists, gets the point across in an enjoyable way. (Oct.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gorgeously drawn black-and-white artwork combines with outstanding storytelling in this modern-day fable of ethnic strife, identity, friendship, and family. The titular character has been a writer all his “human” life, keeping a secret diary that his son Jake discovers and reads after Elmer’s death. Along with his newly engaged sister and gay movie-star brother, Jake returns to his childhood home for Elmer’s last days, stays on for his funeral, and helps his newly widowed, delicate mother. Oh, and Jake and family are sentient, well-spoken chickens, a result of a never-explained but carefully depicted world event in 1979. Elmer’s old human friend, Farmer Ben, offers Jake insight on Elmer’s past—both pre- and postsentience—and advice as Jake works through his family’s victimization at the hands of Ben’s kind. Bloody world wars pitted chicken against man and led to a wave of antichicken prejudice and even attempts at genocide before the UN declared chickens an equal part of humanity. Ethical and moral issues touch on wide-angle politics but also keep close to familial events in Jake’s childhood (bullying, child-parent strife) and adulthood (inter-“ethnic” marriage). The fine-lined artwork depicts the differences between sentient and presentient chickens, while some full-page panels show the lush scenery and relative calm between action sequences. Set in Alanguilan’s Philippine homeland and marked by its culture, Elmer deserves a wide international readership (for teen collections, note brief female nudity and strong violence) and shows how the sequential-art format can challenge even such canonical predecessors as Animal Farm. --Francisca Goldsmith
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Product Details

  • Series: Elmer
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: SLG Publishing (November 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159362204X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593622046
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,420,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I remember reading an article wherein Michael Chabon said it was possible to create a genre story that possessed the beauty of a literary piece.

When it comes to graphic novels, Elmer is one of those possibilities. It's a well-conceived piece of speculative fiction that's also a family drama, as well as social commentary. In an alternate universe, chickens develop rational thought and the ability to talk. The story begins at a time when chickens and humans have reached a state of co-existence, though not everything is settled. This premise alone presents numerous storytelling options, but Alanguilan opts for the more resonant one--a story about family and friendship. Then there are a few odd but strangely believable situations thrown in. [Humans marrying chickens? Really?]

Plus, it's actually entertaining, unlike other serious graphic novels that leave zero breathing room. Alanguilan manages to pack it all in using less than 150 pages, without being self-indulgent or preachy. The pacing is smooth and the artwork, gorgeous. Having worked in professional comics [most of the major titles of Marvel and DC] for over a decade, Alanguilan knows his stuff.

I dare say that the academe should look at this Filipino gem. Elmer deserves a place in the Graphic Novels 101 syllabus. It has already won the French Prix Asie-ACBD Award for best Asian graphic novel, and has been nominated for an Eisner Award. It's that good.

UPDATE: Another award for Elmer, the Quai des Bulles - Ouest France, was given last October 2011. It bested a field of ten finalists.

[If you're curious, you can make a Google search for the online preview.]
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book tells the fictional story of Elmer, an ordinary chicken who becomes intelligent. It tells, in comic book format, what life is like for Elmer and his family and friends when an completely unexpected incident occurs. What would happen if all the chickens in the world became intelligent and could learn to talk to people?

The story follows Elmer and his family through the changes in society as mankind struggles to adapt. A bird they once ate can now speak and reason as people do. It's shocking in some parts, sentimental in others. The story develops in a realistic manner over several years. It may seem like science fiction or something that belongs in The Twilight Zone but it's interesting.

Despite being in comic book form, it's not meant for young children. Older children or teenagers might like it. Adults might like it too if they can accept the basic premise.

Unlike comic books, Elmer is published in black and white. There is no color version of this story. I enjoyed this very unusual story.
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Original and entertaining and glad I got it, but in the end, slightly disappointing. Beyond the initial cleverness of sentient chickens, there was nothing to make this particularly interesting (despite the chicken-masturbation scene... I can't believe I just typed that...). Even if it had just been done entirely as a colorful, lush, and rich graphic novel, rather than merely as an adult-themed black and white comic book with a firmer cover, it might have pushed it into the 5 star range. Coulda' been great, but as it is, 3.5 stars.
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This is such a smart graphic novel! It takes a very simple, very unbelievable premise - one day, mysteriously, chickens turn sentient - and develops it beautifully.

The drawings are beautiful, with detailed, slashing inks, using lots of parallel lines, that, at their best, are reminiscent of Bernie Wrightson's illustrations for Frankenstein. The drawings of humans are so-so, but it's really not the humans who matter. The chickens, and the world they live in - bookshelves, trees, fields, skies - are beautifully rendered in a way that does the important work of selling the unlikely premise as everyday reality.
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If you want a graphic novel that will make you think, make you cry, and keep you interested from cover to cover, this is the book for you. Through the use of chickens, Mr. Alanguilan draws attention to all manner of social issues and prejudices and he does so without coming across as ham-fisted. This is a wonderfully written book and I'd recommend it to anyone.
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Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this incredible graphic novel and I was blown away by it. It is a beautiful and heartbreaking work of art.

I picked it up at a used bookstore, having never heard of it, and knowing nothing about the story beyond the back of the book description. Neil Gaimen's promo didn't hurt.

I started reading it over lunch today and couldn't put it down until I finished. I was sitting in Skyline Chili with tears running down my cheeks by the end of it.

This is a very powerful allegory, right up there with Maus and Animal Farm in my opinion.

As I write this, my wife is reading it. She is not much for graphic novels, but she will read one if I highly recommend it. I can't wait to hear what she thinks of it.

The art was outstanding, but the writing was every bit as good.

Check this book out!
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The story is a classic struggle of man vs. man, with chickens. It is a worthwhile read, albeit somewhat formulaic. Despite the premise exploring the perils of race discrimination, the names and visage of some characters are outright stereotypes.

What makes this book stand out are the impressive details in every frame. It is a graphic novel that can carry the story forward even without text. Page after page of passionate illustrations will keep you going forward, and the supporting text is just right to bring you to tears.
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