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Return of the Dapper Men Hardcover – November 30, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Classic surreal fiction like Alice in Wonderland is difficult to copy because it effortlessly combines the imagination of a child with the mature artistry of an adult writer. This imaginative fantasy strives to achieve the same effect and is, for the most part, a success, thanks in no small part to Lee's magnificent illustrations. It is a tale of a world without time or progress, inhabited only by children who never grow up and robots. Together, a human boy named Ayden and a robot girl named Zoe work to fix the broken world and teach their close-minded peers the importance of change. Their helper in this task is a whimsical, dapper man, a sort of "Cat in the Hat" mercurial hero. It is a fun ensemble though the dialogue occasionally overdoes the exposition. While the theme, as it is presented, is an abstract one for younger readers, it works in an impressionistic way; the lush artwork is easy to get lost in, and the fantastical setting and atmosphere create a unique background for a timeless parable about time. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* This beguiling graphic novel joins the likes of Shaun Tan�s The Arrival (2007) and John Harris Dunning and Nikhil Singh�s Salem Brownstone (2010) as a book that is so immediately distinctive that it promises a unique reading experience�and more than delivers. In the dreamy land of Anorev, children, all under age 11, live underground among intricate gear-work mechanisms, while elegant robots live in abandoned houses aboveground: �Neither children nor machines knew which was work nor what was play, and neither seemed to be any fun or any use.� All are perpetually stuck in the same day, and time has, essentially, ceased to mean anything�until 314 Dapper Men rain from the sky and set in motion the impetus for change. The sometimes slippery-to-grasp story plays around with classic Peter Pan themes, obliquely delivering the message that childhood is not something to hold in limbo; it can only find meaning and value in moving forward, in growing and changing and looking to tomorrow as much as revering today. But where this book truly stands out is how well the story works in concert with Lee�s stunning artwork, which employs an art nouveau sheen. Arresting layouts give the book an ethereal, timeless quality and turn each page into a frameworthy work of art. A true dazzler that speaks on multiple levels for both child and adult readers and one that gets richer with each read. Grades 4-8. --Ian Chipman

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Product Details

  • Series: Return of the Dapper Men
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Archaia; 1st edition (November 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932386904
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932386905
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #794,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By DelusionalAngel VINE VOICE on February 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a big kid who prefers Young Adult books and comic books generally... As someone who still buys toys, for herself... etc. Well, it's not often that my mom pipes in to let me know I've made a made a mistake. No, not in making a purchase. Instead she wanted to let me know I had it sent to the wrong house. Mine. I clearly meant to send it to her house when I ordered this one. She took one look at the preview of this one and decided comics aren't all bad. Needless to say, she somehow magically does have it on the way to her door as well. I don't think she'll be disappointed.

This is definitely a book for kids of all ages. Whether it's comics you love. Or art. Or getting lost in a world that makes no sense. I happen to love all of these things, which caused a real dilemma. I'd read a panel but ooh now I have to exam the art closely and maybe re-read the panel after really looking at the art so closely. Yeah, it's that kind of a book. There are enough recaps of the story itself available, that I'll spare you that in my review.

I will say that it's also beautifully bound (hardcover is all that is available as I write this), reminiscent of an older style of book, and for a price I often see much lesser paperbacks sell for.

Definitely a must have if you love this medium or if you need that one comic to prove to someone that yes, there's even one for THEM, like my mom....
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Format: Hardcover
The art in this book is breathtakingly gorgeous! There are so many pages I wish I could frame and hang on my wall. The book is slightly larger than most graphic novels, which showcases the art nicely.

The story is great as well. I'm a fan of Jim McCann's work at Marvel, but I didn't know what to expect from an all ages book. This work is a bit of a steampunk fairytale. I loved the characters and the world. I will definitely be rereading this.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought two hardcover books in my last Amazon order. this one and a more adult-themed graphic novel called Asterios Polyp. They had one thing in common: both of them play with HOW a story is told through pictures.

Actually, come to think of it, they have something else in common: both have a lesson about destiny and the things you can, and cannot, control in life.

While Dapper Men's art looks a bit odd at first glance, as you begin to read the story, the doughy look of the people works better in context than at a glance. Over all, the artwork, which seems to be a mix of paint and pen and ink is as lovely as the story and characters are interesting and engaging.

After I read the book, I bought one for a teenage niece of mine. Even a stubborn teenager enjoyed the story and the beauty of the art.

Plus, it's a beautiful cloth HC piece of work with a ribbon bookmark -- something you don't see much of these days.
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Format: Hardcover
An epic fairy tale that's as vividly imaginative as it is wonderfully drawn, Return of the Dapper Men is a magical treat. Set in a world where children who never age past 11 coexist peacefully with robots, it's a bright, sprawling tale that seems to ramble far from where it started without ever feeling as though it has stumbled even a step out of its way.

The first thing you'll notice about the book are its awe-inspiring illustrations, which practically seem to jump off the page. The colors too are the star. They're wild and fierce, creating a 3D tone throughout. Or maybe it seems as though you're reading a wonderful animated movie that has magically come to life on the printed page. Either way, you know you're in for a stunning visual treat.

Jim McCann (author of Hawkeye and Mockingbird) imbues his tale with a lot of wonder. There are a multitude of nods to the imaginative world of a child's mind. But from there, he builds and expands in a host of unexpected ways. When a human boy and a robot girl team up to impart change to this bizarre world and to show how growing, aging, and more can be positive things, they bring about the return of 314 very well dressed men. And once the title of the book makes its appearance in the story, you've been hooked. You'll eagerly await the unfolding of the rest of this unique, utterly creative story.

-- John Hogan
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Format: Hardcover
Generally what I read is dark, gritty and realistic. So I thought, why not take a step back and read something a little more light and fun? When I saw the cover of Return of the Dapper Men I instantly knew it was something I would want to read. From the gorgeously illustrated characters, right down to the steampunk looking gears, I knew this would be something I would fall in love with.

As always, let's start with the illustrations. Wow. That is pretty much as accurate as I can describe them. They are stunning. Multiple colors pop off of every page, and the attention to minute details makes it so that you can't bear to look away from a single page, for fear you might miss something important. I'll honestly admit that I reread this three times. Once to pour over the stunning illustrations, once to read the story, and again to fully appreciate both together. It was definitely worth it. Janet Lee has created a world that evokes thoughts fairy tales long lost. I don't like to compare books, but the illustrations greatly reminded me of the original Alice in Wonderland illustrations. Gorgeous, completely perfect on every page for the story that they were telling. Although the story is amazing, it is the illustrations that really bring it to life.

As for the story, Return of The Dapper Men is fantasy and magic blended together and penned upon a page. In the world of Anorev (Verona spelled backwards for you anagram buffs out there), time has literally stopped. Somehow all that is left are children and robots. Each has no idea of their past, or their future, and they separate themselves into separate parts of the world. Zoe and Ayden are the only two characters who understand that the divide doesn't make sense.
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