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Graphic Novel Review: Mouse Guard

Two days ago, Graphicly, an online resource that I have found incredibly neat, announced that they have undergone some changes. For those of you who aren't familiar with Graphicly, it's a service through which, as a reader, you can purchase and download graphic novels, comics, and other visually-based stories. Graphicly is also a place where authors and artists can upload their precious work and begin to distribute it digitally to a very large community. As far I can tell, the changes to Graphicly's services are not drastic - they are simply retiring their old set of applications for iPad, Android, etc. From here on out, if you own an eReader (Barnes & Noble Nook, Kindle, iPad), there will be a larger variety of products available to you, with optimized viewing. (If you downloaded a Graphicly app in the past, it will still work for you, and will always be able to view and read your purchases through that or through the Graphicly website.)

I know the whole digital comics thing is not for everyone, but I, for one, am a fan. Graphicly's optimized viewing is one of my favorite aspects of their services. For instance, last night I decided to check out for myself this improved experience Graphicly promised me through my Nook. I fired up the Nook (we should name her, by the way...), and searched, "Graphicly." I scrolled through till this caught my eye. Having been a huge Redwall nut as a kid, David Petersen's Mouse Guard looked like a promising choice.


Image credit: David Petersen
With Graphicly's optimized viewing, when I tap the page of a comic or graphic novel like Mouse Guard, it fills the screen (whether it be computer or Nook) with a single frame from that page. Another tap will focus on the next frame, and of course it presents the frames to you in order. To me, this is an exhilarating way to read comics and graphic novels, because it really isolates and highlights the beauty and color and action of each individual frame. It also emphasizes the sense of flow and movement from one frame to the next.

To a book like Mouse Guard, this feature is especially flattering. Mr. Petersen's images are enchanting and sweet, but at the same time never fail to convey the desperateness of the situation or the courage of our tiny protagonists in the Mouse Guard. I would actually heartily recommend this series if you would like to introduce a young person (say, age 8 and up) to the world of graphic novels. So far, I have only completed Series I: Fall 1152, but I can report that the first series, at least, is quite safe for young readers. There is violence, yes - snake-slaying and such - but nothing a young person who enjoys adventure stories couldn't handle.

Image credit: David Petersen
I can't say enough about the artwork, however, and that is one element of the Mouse Guard series of books that a reader of any age can enjoy.

To learn more about Mouse Guard, you can click here to visit its official website.
To view more of David Petersen's artwork, you can visit his personal website here.
To check out Mr. Petersen's blog, click here.
And to start your adventure into the world of the Mouse Guard, you can read it courtesy of Graphicly, here. The first issue is currently free!

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