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A History of Violence

A graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke about a man with a dark past.

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Some of the Best Illustrations with an Excellent Storyline

  • Nov 8, 2009
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A History of Violence is one of the most provocative graphic novels I have read recently. Vince Locke's illustrations are edgy, raw, and unrefined; which adds to the overall feel of the story. It is a gritty story and the hard black and white ink reinforces the chaos and unpredictability of the characters. Some of the shining moments are the large panels simply looking out over the town or a horizon with looming darkness spreading.

The storyline is perfectly articulated, starting with the murder of two people in the opening page. From this first page the reader can tell that all bets are off and anything goes. As the main characters (Tom McKenna) past comes out it becomes more and more obvious that the ending will only come after much bloodshed and violence. A History of Violence reads like an excellent crime book, with supplementary pictures that enhance the experience.

A History of Violence is one of those gems in the graphic novel medium that can almost be told without the commentary and text; the illustrations, while basic black and white, are that good.

The only drawback of A History of Violence is the fact that the story, while excellent, could have been even bigger and better. The resolution comes way too soon and with the capability to convey such an excellent chain of events through words and graphics it is almost squandered. I would have loved to have had twice as much story. Make no mistake, A History of Violence is not to be missed.

Good reading,

Plants and Books

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February 15, 2010
Loved the movie but I haven't read the GN yet. Thanks for the enticing review! Have you read Road to Perdition and "From Hell"?
February 16, 2010
If you liked the movie you will totally dig the graphic novel. It is an experience to say the least. I haven't read Road to Perdition (I am waiting for it from ILL). I started "From Hell" but could not get into it. I loved the detail but the illustrations were a little too rough, and the font/lettering was atrocious in my opinion. Although I'm sure the rough inking was intended for the time period portrayal, I just could not appreciate it (which is something I regret). It's one of those faults of mine that I wish I could change. I'm sure one of these days I will get back to it (at least I hope to).
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About this book


A History of Violence is a graphic novel written by John Wagner and illustrated by Vince Locke, originally published in 1997 by Paradox Press and later by Vertigo, both imprints of DC Comics.

It is also the source for the film of the same name directed by David Cronenberg, the first cinematic adaption of a work by John Wagner since 1995's Judge Dredd.

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Books, Crime, Comics & Graphic Novels, Violence, Noir, Vince Locke, John Wagner


ISBN-10: 1563893673
ISBN-13: 978-1563893674
Author: John Wagner, Vince Locke
Genre: Crime, Comics & Graphic Novels
Publisher: Vertigo, Paradox Press, DC Comics
Date Published: 1997
Format: Graphic novel
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