BookBin2011: A Sickness in the Family

Our beautiful library’s graphic novel section just keeps getting better and better each time I visit. It’s a ploy, denizens. They know what to do to foil my desperate attempts to read only books from my own library. If only I was strong enough to resist the clarion call of all those beautiful books, just waiting to be mine, if only for a little while…

During this recent trip, I tried to limit myself solely to the graphic novel section. These are always faster reads, which means that I can quickly get back to whatever non-pictorial literature I was reading before the latest graphic divergence. Also, I’ve really enjoyed the graphic novel discoveries that I have made this year. There’s something so uninhibited about this particular medium of storytelling. Plus, there’s the doubled delight when you discover a brilliant story depicted by an incomparable artist (see Blacksad, which remains one of my favorite BookBin2011 reads).

I ended up leaving with five books from this section (and two from the nearby short story section, but we’ll get to the them when the time is right). First to be cracked open? Vertigo Crime’s A Sickness in the Family.

Written by crime novelist Denise Mina, this is the tightly wound tale of a family that moves at Mach-5 speed from the realm of marginally dysfunctional to irrefutably broken. Of course, being a crime comic, the end result of this damaging downgrade is death of diabolical proportions.

The Usher family finds their numbers dwindling a notch at a time after the father opts to purchase the downstairs apartment so he can increase the size of the family home. Of course, the downstairs came to him for a song after its previous tenants killed each other in a gruesome holiday-fueled domestic disturbance.

Is the ill will that’s now befalling the Ushers the remnants of a curse that haunts the land on which their home is built? Or is something far less spectral…and far more sinister that is causing the Fall of the House of Usher?

Ah. I was waiting this whole time to squeeze that one in. Edgar Allan Poe, FTW.

Artwork by Antonio Fuso is clean and concise, but not really much to write home about. Fuso’s done a lot of illustration for G.I. Joe comics. Let that be whatever you wish it to be.

Final Verdict: Interesting side trip of a read, but not a book that I feel I need to add to my library any time soon.