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In the Pines: 5 Murder Ballads

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A collection of murder ballads ― some of which have been covered by modern masters like Nick Cave, Steve Earle, and Gillian Welch ― that have been adapted into ruthless graphic narratives.


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A collection of murder ballads ― some of which have been covered by modern masters like Nick Cave, Steve Earle, and Gillian Welch ― that have been adapted into ruthless graphic narratives.

30 review for In the Pines: 5 Murder Ballads

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    Start here, if you have a few minutes, with the actual murder ballads (linked to below), many of them American country and bluegrass, a couple of them traditional songs, of course. but this is a graphic novel honoring this tradition by Dutch musician and illustrator Erik Kriek, highlighting the fact that murder ballads have always been with us. The stories are good, the art well done, from a horror comics perspective, languorous and creepy and sexy and somewhat less narrative (more lyrical, poeti Start here, if you have a few minutes, with the actual murder ballads (linked to below), many of them American country and bluegrass, a couple of them traditional songs, of course. but this is a graphic novel honoring this tradition by Dutch musician and illustrator Erik Kriek, highlighting the fact that murder ballads have always been with us. The stories are good, the art well done, from a horror comics perspective, languorous and creepy and sexy and somewhat less narrative (more lyrical, poetic) than the originals. One review likes how the graphic novel comes with a cd by Kriek, but mine in the U.S. did not ☹ though here are some great versions: “The Long Black Veil,” is a 1959 country ballad, written by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin and originally recorded by Lefty Frizzell. Here it is sung by Mick Jagger with The Chieftains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F-4r... “Carolina in the Pines,” sung and written by Michael McMurphey in 1975. https://video.search.yahoo.com/search... Steve Earle’s “Taneytown,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpEn1... “Pretty Polly,” with Ralph Stanley and Linda Lovelace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XV7m... Kylie Mionoque and Nick Cave perform “Where the Wild RosesGrow”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chF24... Caleb Meyer, by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nugXk...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tristan

    Ever since 2012, which saw the publication of Erik Kriek's Het onzienbare en andere verhalen, a collection of adaptations of some of H.P. Lovecraft's tales, comics enthusiasts have been eagerly looking forward to new work by the Dutch cartoonist. Finally, it is here. Kriek's distinctive, highly evocative drawing style has always been perfectly suited to dark themed stories, so it shouldn't be a surprise that he truly comes into his own working in that darkest of American storytelling traditions, Ever since 2012, which saw the publication of Erik Kriek's Het onzienbare en andere verhalen, a collection of adaptations of some of H.P. Lovecraft's tales, comics enthusiasts have been eagerly looking forward to new work by the Dutch cartoonist. Finally, it is here. Kriek's distinctive, highly evocative drawing style has always been perfectly suited to dark themed stories, so it shouldn't be a surprise that he truly comes into his own working in that darkest of American storytelling traditions, the murder ballad. It's his best work to date, without question. Instead of merely illustrating well-known murder ballads like Pretty Polly and the Ship’s Carpenter, The Long Black Veil, Taneytown, Caleb Meyer and Where the Wild Roses Grow, Kriek has crafted his own idiosyncratic interpretations of them, and even altered or inserted plot elements, which in some cases raises the dramatic impact significantly. Further praise has to be given for his meticulous research into 19th/early 20th century America. Scenery, wardrobe, historical details, all these elements come together nicely. One nearly doubts if he truly is Dutch, and not American. Rare feat. To top it all off, this graphic novel comes with a CD, which offers covers of all 5 songs by the band The Blue Grass Boogieman with Erik Kriek himself on some vocals and guitar. As a bonus, In The Pines is also included. All in all, this is an exemplary release. Hopefully, Kriek will do another volume of murder ballads in the future, which contains that one. I'll be first in line when it hits my local comic shop.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Teal

    Clunk. Clever idea, ham-fisted execution. Just listen to the songs instead.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This was a neat little read. Artist and author Erik Kriek has taken five folks songs from the "murder ballad" genre and turned them into a series of sinister and sad vignette's of murder most foul. From a young woman dallying with a sinister escaped convict while her mother is away to a man who'd rather hang for a murder he didn't commit then ruin the reputation of his lover by using her as an alibi, there's a little something for every classic true crime lover. Kriek's style is very languorous a This was a neat little read. Artist and author Erik Kriek has taken five folks songs from the "murder ballad" genre and turned them into a series of sinister and sad vignette's of murder most foul. From a young woman dallying with a sinister escaped convict while her mother is away to a man who'd rather hang for a murder he didn't commit then ruin the reputation of his lover by using her as an alibi, there's a little something for every classic true crime lover. Kriek's style is very languorous and meandering. There's a lot of flow to everything like character's clothes or the horizon of the forests and endless countryside where most of the stories are set. His pallet is all greenish grey shadow and the faces of his characters are sort of flowing like a river all the time, everyone's got big lips and haunted eyes, characters drawn kissing or having sex seem almost to be melting into each other. There's a deep feeling of melancholy to every story even the ones where the bad guy gets his just desserts, which I suppose makes sense as we are talking about murder. But there's also a sort of magical, folk tale quality to each story that gives it just enough magic to keep things from being entirely depressing. I really enjoyed this. It was a quick read before bed but I found myself really getting lost in each panel and very intrigued to seek out the songs each story is based on. My own experience with murder ballads is more or less limited to "Tom Dooley" and I think I might just have to remedy that.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    I like the *idea* of taking "murder ballads" and turning them into illustrated short stories, but the unfortunate fact is that many of them, stripped of music and lyrics, aren't the most interesting or coherent stories. The art was nice, but I think the book would have been better served by a different style for each ballad, rather than all the same look. I like the *idea* of taking "murder ballads" and turning them into illustrated short stories, but the unfortunate fact is that many of them, stripped of music and lyrics, aren't the most interesting or coherent stories. The art was nice, but I think the book would have been better served by a different style for each ballad, rather than all the same look.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This review can also be found on my blog: https://graphicnovelty2.com/2020/01/1... I was sold on this graphic novel as soon as I read murder ballads in the title! I've long been a fan of narrative songs that tell a story, with Appalachian inspired murder ballads being particularly appealing to me. I have paired a mini-synopsis of each story with a rendition of the song it is based on. Often these songs have been covered by many artists, but I selected versions that were most well-known, or I just This review can also be found on my blog: https://graphicnovelty2.com/2020/01/1... I was sold on this graphic novel as soon as I read murder ballads in the title! I've long been a fan of narrative songs that tell a story, with Appalachian inspired murder ballads being particularly appealing to me. I have paired a mini-synopsis of each story with a rendition of the song it is based on. Often these songs have been covered by many artists, but I selected versions that were most well-known, or I just really liked the singer. Author and illustrator Erik Kriek is actually Danish, but took an American type of ballad, and turned it into a new type of art. He didn't just adapt the song straight into comic form, instead he interpreted the lyrics to tell a fresh story, sometimes to my liking and sometimes not. The art was in duotone, with a different color for each tale. Reminiscent of scratch art or wood reliefs, Kriek's black inks were evocative of Appalachian landscapes and times gone by. Pretty Polly and the Ship's Carpenter This song is the oldest of the bunch, as early versions were sung in the British Isles hundreds of years ago. In it, a woman is enticed by a sailor who promises he will marry her, but when she becomes pregnant because of their liaison and pushes for marriage, he instead kills her. He is racked by guilt and supposedly Polly's ghost haunts his ship, wanting revenge. I did not like one of the last panels because I don't see how Polly would ever forgive him. https://youtu.be/3XV7mxfIIr0 The Long Black Veil A man is having an affair with his best friend's wife, and one night while heading home after a rendezvous, is mistaken for the killer of a local man. Not willing to betray his lover, he is hanged for he had no alibi. This story has a neat twist, that I always guessed at, but is not explicitly said in the song. Johnny Cash is king, thus I shared one of his renditions, but Mick Jaggar did a good version of the song with The Chieftains. https://youtu.be/5pYA46dyKh4 Taneytown Made famous by singer Steve Earle, this story tells of a young black man who heads into Taneytown against his mother's advice. Upon arriving, he is set upon by a white mob and kills one of them in self-defense on his way back home. He later finds out an innocent man was accused of the crime and was hung. https://youtu.be/SpEn1lWBY7k Caleb Meyer When Nellie's husband is away, the hired man comes to terrorize her as she is left alone in a remote cabin. The most violent and graphic of all the dark stories. Although justice is served, there is an uncomfortable reveal at the end of the story, when you infer that Caleb left behind a reminder of that terrible night. https://youtu.be/nugXkgd_-84 Where The Wild Roses Grow Kriek took the most artistic license with this song written and sung by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue, and because I was already a huge fan of this moody ballad and video, I didn't enjoy this adaptation as much as the others. An escaped convict meets a young woman who helps him saw off his chains, and who is easily seduced by him. Despite this, he threatens to kill her if she doesn't hand over money that he assumes was hidden by her father who was known for robbing several banks. The conclusion was rather talky and clunky, and I didn't think it was a good match for this murder ballad. https://youtu.be/chF244LWWqg This book sent me on many music journeys, as I enjoyed listening to ballad after ballad, and reminding me of family vacations in the Appalachian region where my parents took my younger sister and I to music festivals and to watch clogging. So while this post became more an ode to music than to the book, it was a fun read and I'm glad I discovered it!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    Murder ballads have been a popular theme in American roots music. The songs tell stories about murders that are either fiction, or based on a true story. Erik Kriek selected five murder ballads and used them as inspiration for five comic stories. These five stories are collected in this graphic novel. Some stories work better than others, but the drawings are all excellent! Each story has a twist though, before the inevitable murder happens. This keeps each of them interesting from beginning till Murder ballads have been a popular theme in American roots music. The songs tell stories about murders that are either fiction, or based on a true story. Erik Kriek selected five murder ballads and used them as inspiration for five comic stories. These five stories are collected in this graphic novel. Some stories work better than others, but the drawings are all excellent! Each story has a twist though, before the inevitable murder happens. This keeps each of them interesting from beginning till end, even though you sometimes see what's coming from miles ahead. The stories are as much about the murders, as they are about the characters that committed them. Each for their own reasons. The stories are set against an early 1900's American background that enable Kriek to deal with subjects such as racism, public hangings, rape, shipping and bank robbery. As an added bonus each of the five songs that inspired the stories in the book are included on cd. Not the originals, but covers performed by the Bluegrass Boogiemen with Erik Kriek.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    These goofy tales are not so much adaptations of murder ballads as they are twisty crime stories in the style of the old EC Comics line that take their cues from the songs' lyrics but often dramatically add to and change the stories contained therein. And not for the better. I was hoping for something a little more true to the source material. These goofy tales are not so much adaptations of murder ballads as they are twisty crime stories in the style of the old EC Comics line that take their cues from the songs' lyrics but often dramatically add to and change the stories contained therein. And not for the better. I was hoping for something a little more true to the source material.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

    The artwork is so beautiful – Kriek's drawing style is lovely, and the use of a single colour in each story works so well. Although I did really enjoy this book, I was a little disappointed by the plots and the prose. As the stories are based on murder ballads, I'd hoped that a lyrical, rhythmic prose might be used. Of course the book is translated so I don't know how much that affected it, but I think the book would be so much stronger if repetition and allusion had been used in the prose, as i The artwork is so beautiful – Kriek's drawing style is lovely, and the use of a single colour in each story works so well. Although I did really enjoy this book, I was a little disappointed by the plots and the prose. As the stories are based on murder ballads, I'd hoped that a lyrical, rhythmic prose might be used. Of course the book is translated so I don't know how much that affected it, but I think the book would be so much stronger if repetition and allusion had been used in the prose, as in song lyrics. Still, it's a lovely book, and I wish it was twice the length.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    This has a lot going for it, with a cool concept, exciting stories and an interesting art style. IN THE PINES will rope in not just graphic novel fans, but those who enjoy legends, Americana, and classic folk tunes.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    Excellent graphic novel adaptation of five murder ballads from the Great American Songbook

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I came across this book while searching for titles related to murder ballads, since I am researching them for my 2019 Nanowrimo novel. I was a little surprised that this book even existed. I've been contemplating a creative project involving murder ballads for quite a few years, and at one point I had considering some kind of graphic novel. In any case, this is a collection of five graphic shorts based on murder ballads. As the end notes explain, some of these were traditional ballads, others ha I came across this book while searching for titles related to murder ballads, since I am researching them for my 2019 Nanowrimo novel. I was a little surprised that this book even existed. I've been contemplating a creative project involving murder ballads for quite a few years, and at one point I had considering some kind of graphic novel. In any case, this is a collection of five graphic shorts based on murder ballads. As the end notes explain, some of these were traditional ballads, others had more modern roots, and like me, the artist/author was inspired by the Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds "Murder Ballads" album. One of the stories included was based both on "The Willow Garden" (a traditional ballad) and Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue's song based on that ballad, "Where the Wild Roses Grow." My favorite of the stories was "Long Black Veil" which had the most traditional source, and was the most straightforward interpretation of the source material. The artwork throughout has the style of a woodcut and the coloring is limited to 3 or 4 colors, giving it an old-fashioned feel (and seriously, I had considered doing linoleum tile cuts when I was thinking about a murder ballad graphic novel, to give the feel of woodcuts, so this style really resonated with me). My only issue with the artwork was that it was difficult to differentiate between different characters and most especially in the story "Taneytown" it was hard to tell that the main characters were black (since the story is about racial relations, I can't decide if this was intentional or not). Given how little information I've been able to find about murder ballads in print, I'm glad this book exists to prove that I'm not the only person who finds them interesting!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Midnight Blue

    I wish the title ballad had been included in the book. I've always loved tragic ballads, not necessarily the murder ones exclusively, I also love the tragic and beautiful ones. Check out The River in the Pines as sung by Joan Baez, or Richard Cory as sung by Simon and Garfunkel or The Beatles. I love a good aching, melancholy story of a song; probably due to the Irish in my heritage...... I wish the title ballad had been included in the book. I've always loved tragic ballads, not necessarily the murder ones exclusively, I also love the tragic and beautiful ones. Check out The River in the Pines as sung by Joan Baez, or Richard Cory as sung by Simon and Garfunkel or The Beatles. I love a good aching, melancholy story of a song; probably due to the Irish in my heritage......

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Murder ballads given the graphic novel treatment! Reminding me a lot of the old EC comics (The Vault of Terror and Tales From the Crypt). The only thing that would have made this better would have been to include the lyrics of each song picked. But still, loved it!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Simple, striking, interesting read. http://www.theskinny.co.uk/books/book... Simple, striking, interesting read. http://www.theskinny.co.uk/books/book...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    3.5 Very ‘western’ feel to it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Imran Mahmud

    Small, but twisting murder stories.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Waldman

    I thought I had my first reading month all planned out, but this one snuck in as my first read of the year, and I'm not too mad about it! I've really been trying to read more graphic novels, particularly lesser known ones on interesting topics. I don't know TOO much about murder ballads, a fairly popular music genre, but I know that they tell interesting stories, and Kriek's work made me want to look them up! The stories were dark and that's what I liked most about them. What do you expect from a I thought I had my first reading month all planned out, but this one snuck in as my first read of the year, and I'm not too mad about it! I've really been trying to read more graphic novels, particularly lesser known ones on interesting topics. I don't know TOO much about murder ballads, a fairly popular music genre, but I know that they tell interesting stories, and Kriek's work made me want to look them up! The stories were dark and that's what I liked most about them. What do you expect from a book about murder ballads I suppose? The illustrations that accompanied each story were suitably coloured and drawn, and while I didn't LOVE them, I liked them a lot. My favourite stories were probably 'Where The Wild Roses Go' or 'The Long Black Veil' thanks to the dramatic twist endings. I've since had a listen to the songs themselves and realised some of these additions were down to Kriek himself, so that impressed me a lot. Some of them FELT short though, and that's because there wasn't a whole lot of dialogue in parts. Stories like this are always about mood and atmosphere of course, but I guess I would have liked to have seen a little more padding out. Still, I'm glad I read this. It has introduced me to a new genre of music and type of legend that I haven't looked too deeply into in the past.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    A compelling concept and fantastic art. The stories aren't particularly memorable, but as adaptations of folk songs they're nicely realized. A compelling concept and fantastic art. The stories aren't particularly memorable, but as adaptations of folk songs they're nicely realized.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stacia

    Splendid! I loved this so much. I listened to each ballad while reading, and it was so wonderful. I've fallen back in love with the murder ballad. The illustrations were fantastic, perfectly paced writing. Everything was soooooo great! Splendid! I loved this so much. I listened to each ballad while reading, and it was so wonderful. I've fallen back in love with the murder ballad. The illustrations were fantastic, perfectly paced writing. Everything was soooooo great!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sonic

    Excellent graphic renditions of five murder ballads. It inspired me to look up all the songs. I wish more people made books along these lines.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Willem van den Oever

    Get yourself a smoke and a bottle of whisky, and settle in with Erik Kriek’s “In the Pines”. Murder ballads are a lesser-known subgroup of the Americana music genre, a kind of song riddled with doom and death, always telling us about manslaughter (Either fictitious or based on real life), and ending with a (heavy-handed) moral plea for a closure: Don’t do it! Don’t give in to temptation or retaliate, because things will end badly for you! Examples of this genre are the Band’s “Long Black Veil” and Get yourself a smoke and a bottle of whisky, and settle in with Erik Kriek’s “In the Pines”. Murder ballads are a lesser-known subgroup of the Americana music genre, a kind of song riddled with doom and death, always telling us about manslaughter (Either fictitious or based on real life), and ending with a (heavy-handed) moral plea for a closure: Don’t do it! Don’t give in to temptation or retaliate, because things will end badly for you! Examples of this genre are the Band’s “Long Black Veil” and the far more popular duet of Nick Cave with Kylie Minogue, “Where the Wild Roses Grow”; but there are thousands of such songs, originating in Europe mid 1800’s, but gaining far more strength and meaning when infused with the Southern States’ landscape and culture. Though much like jazz or the blues, its roots are found elsewhere, but by now murder ballads have become inseparable from the United States. Dutch artist Erik Kriek, who has built up an impressive repertoire consisting of illustrations for international newspapers, children’s novels and interpretations of some of H.P. Lovecraft’s short stories, takes five of such murder ballads and turns them into short graphic novels with his collection “In the Pines”. What’s impressive, is how Kriek hasn’t just drawn pictures to each line of lyrics, but instead manages to expand and flesh out his choices into proper short stories with a beginning, middle and end, exploring beyond the ideas which were originally described in the song. It would have been obvious if every story simply took place against the background of 1920’s America; but instead “Pretty Polly” shows us the terror on a haunted ship and Steve Earle’s “Taneytown” transports the reader to the European battlegrounds of the First World War. “Where the Wild Roses Grow” still follows Cave’s lyrics, but is now about more than simple “all beauty must die”. These explorations not only make these stories exciting and surprising, but also show what a talented storyteller Kriek is. Furthermore, his artwork perfectly fits the subject matter, highly atmospheric while perfectly suited to the dark themes told. Each page looks crisp and clear, with a muted palette of just black, white and one distinctive color for each story – though Kriek’s art shows more resemblance to Mignola or Pontiac than Sin City’s Frank Miller. Completing the already gorgeously designed book itself, is a mini-album on which all five illustrated songs (plus bonus-track “In the Pines”) are re-interpreted by the Blue Grass Booogiemen featuring Erik Kriek himself on vocals. If the total package of book, art and CD hadn't turned out to be such a stunning project in the end, I might’ve dissed Kriek for showing off a bit too much. Now, I can't blame him one bit.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Leah Coffin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The title ballad does not appear in the novel. I liked the artwork, but some of the stories were hard to follow.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It has a raven on the cover, I had to pick it up. That's how it works. I had never heard of the musical sub genre of murder ballads, but with a wicked name like that, how could I resist? Each story was new to me, even though the afterword told me that some of these are common songs. The afterword gives context like that to the ballads I wish had been paired with each story instead of gathered at the end, but it was helpful nonetheless. I'm usually not a fan of monochrome illustrations, or black an It has a raven on the cover, I had to pick it up. That's how it works. I had never heard of the musical sub genre of murder ballads, but with a wicked name like that, how could I resist? Each story was new to me, even though the afterword told me that some of these are common songs. The afterword gives context like that to the ballads I wish had been paired with each story instead of gathered at the end, but it was helpful nonetheless. I'm usually not a fan of monochrome illustrations, or black and white with one color included (there must be a name for this too), but this writer/illustrator pulled it off. The first story had some confusing panels where I wasn't sure what was going on, but it just forced me to focus on the artwork and slow down. Speeding through graphic novels is a chronic problem I have anyway. Other reviewers mentioned their edition included a CD, sadly mine did not. I will have to search out the musicians and ballads mentioned. Overall a great little gem of a graphic novel, reminded me tangentially of Long Walk to Valhalla.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)

    I spent a summer years ago painting a set while having no control over the radio. Jon, the one in charge of said radio, loved his country songs, but old Americana on NPR songs, which I now realize are Murder Ballads thanks to this book. I'm sure everyone can get the gist of the genre when I say Johnny Cash's "Long Black Veil" is one. They're dark songs and Kriek basically is expanding and doing backstories to these classics with a fascinating result that is dark and gothic but at the same time s I spent a summer years ago painting a set while having no control over the radio. Jon, the one in charge of said radio, loved his country songs, but old Americana on NPR songs, which I now realize are Murder Ballads thanks to this book. I'm sure everyone can get the gist of the genre when I say Johnny Cash's "Long Black Veil" is one. They're dark songs and Kriek basically is expanding and doing backstories to these classics with a fascinating result that is dark and gothic but at the same time somehow redemptive. It reminded me a little of The Carter Family Songbook I read in the last year and made me actually desperately want a CD accompaniment. I sure hope that Kriek does more, his limited color palette and line work is fabulous, but unlike the suggestion in the afterward, no Jeffery Dahmer please, stick to the old songbook don't make new Murder Ballads please.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    The five stories in this volume are all taken from "murder ballads," songs about death by violence. Surprisingly, only two were traditional songs. The others were modern songs by Steve Earle, nick Cave and Gillian Welch, but the stories of all three fit the traditional format and style, and so convincingly that I didn't realize one of them was a modern tune at first. This is an excellent addition to the shelf of graphic versions of ballads, because most of them don't just take the words of the tu The five stories in this volume are all taken from "murder ballads," songs about death by violence. Surprisingly, only two were traditional songs. The others were modern songs by Steve Earle, nick Cave and Gillian Welch, but the stories of all three fit the traditional format and style, and so convincingly that I didn't realize one of them was a modern tune at first. This is an excellent addition to the shelf of graphic versions of ballads, because most of them don't just take the words of the tune. They tell the story itself in each case. In the two traditional tunes, the story isn't quite the same as in the song, but the changes are interesting ones that add to the tale. Overall, I recommend this for adults, especially ones with an interest in folk music and/or storytelling.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Theediscerning

    I thought, what with this book being based on narrative songs, we would have illustrated lyrics. but no - this takes songs as the basis of five short stories, and presents them very well, using just one colour each time. Murder victims follow the guilty out to sea, someone hangs because he daren't say where he was and who he was doing what to when the crime was committed, and fully innocent people come croppers as well, before we find Nick Cave and Kylie doctored somewhat into a story of nasty p I thought, what with this book being based on narrative songs, we would have illustrated lyrics. but no - this takes songs as the basis of five short stories, and presents them very well, using just one colour each time. Murder victims follow the guilty out to sea, someone hangs because he daren't say where he was and who he was doing what to when the crime was committed, and fully innocent people come croppers as well, before we find Nick Cave and Kylie doctored somewhat into a story of nasty people, contrasted nicely with the genteel landscape the artwork does so well. It was a real squint reading this on netgalley, but the book is most probably worth poring over in real life.

  28. 5 out of 5

    T.J.

    Comics that come with a playlist: The Byrds' "Pretty Polly" Johnny Cash's "Long Black Veil"* (the best song, Jagger with The Chieftains is worth a listen too) Steve Earle's "Tanelytown" Gillian Welsh's "Caleb Meyer" Nick Cave's "Where the Wild Roses Grow" Somebody done somebody wrong. Put it to a banjo. Pretty consistently good. (We're just missing Stagger Lee, the best murder ballad of all. I once read a comic about Stagger Lee by Timothy Lane printed in a St. Louis newspaper. It was fantastic, but I Comics that come with a playlist: The Byrds' "Pretty Polly" Johnny Cash's "Long Black Veil"* (the best song, Jagger with The Chieftains is worth a listen too) Steve Earle's "Tanelytown" Gillian Welsh's "Caleb Meyer" Nick Cave's "Where the Wild Roses Grow" Somebody done somebody wrong. Put it to a banjo. Pretty consistently good. (We're just missing Stagger Lee, the best murder ballad of all. I once read a comic about Stagger Lee by Timothy Lane printed in a St. Louis newspaper. It was fantastic, but I can't find it anywhere.)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I can honestly say that I have never read a graphic novel quite like this one! I thought that the concept (and execution) of taking five different murder ballads and adapting them into short stories was truly unique and refreshing. I wish there were more authors interested in doing things like this!!!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Judith Moore

    Full review and more up on my blog:https://chaininteraction.wordpress.co... This is a collection of murder ballads. That description alone called to the morbid human in me, I like something a little twisted, a little dark and you can’t get much weirder (without wandering completely into the realms of fantasy) than these murder ballads. These are stories in which people die and then generally there’s some kind of otherworldly element such as a haunting or similar. If you like a ghost story you’re Full review and more up on my blog:https://chaininteraction.wordpress.co... This is a collection of murder ballads. That description alone called to the morbid human in me, I like something a little twisted, a little dark and you can’t get much weirder (without wandering completely into the realms of fantasy) than these murder ballads. These are stories in which people die and then generally there’s some kind of otherworldly element such as a haunting or similar. If you like a ghost story you’re pretty much guaranteed to like these stories. I thought the illustrations were – for want of a better word – lovely. They definitely fit with the tone of the stories and they are certainly interesting to look at. This was the perfect medium in which to tell these stories. The thing that stopped me from liking these stories as much as I otherwise might have was the lack of women. I think out of all the stories there’s one (maybe two?) in which a woman is the strong character. More often than not they are simply either murdered or cheating on their husbands with their best friends. I think this is representative of the source material as opposed to this particular author/illustrator but there were a good number of stories that could have been edited/adapted to reflect a more balanced world. Maybe that’s straying too much from the core ideas of the book and these stories, I’m not sure, but personally that was what hindered my enjoyment. My rating: 3/5 stars I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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