Review: Return of the Dapper Men OGN


Return of the Dapper Men is an Original Graphic Novel, from Archaia Entertainment. The story is written and co-created by Jim McCann, and illustrated and co-created by Janet Lee. The book is due to hit comic stores on November 17th, 2010.

Return of the Dapper Men, is set in the world of Anoreve, a world in between time, where children have played so long it’s almost become work, machines have worked so long they have begun to play and all the clocks have stopped at the same time. This is how this land has remained, until 314 dapper-looking gentlemen rain down from the sky and set off in different directions to start the world again. Now Ayden, the only boy to still ask questions; Zoe, the robot girl all other machines hold dear; and the Dapper Man known only as “41” must discover what happened that made time stop, understand what their true places are in this world, and learn what “tomorrow” really means. The sun is setting for the first time in memory, and once that happens, everything changes.


I don’t want to say that Return of the Dapper Men is a children’s story, because it’s far more than that, and I find the term to be slightly derogatory. Neither do I want to say that it’s an all-ages story,  because again, that term really doesn’t do the story justice.  What we have here is more of a contemporary fable, and like all great fables , it’s much more than it at first appears to be . Laying below the surface of  this charming tale of ageless children, purposeless robots, and divine gentlemen, is an important moral lesson - that only through working together can we achieve our goals.  The characters in the story start by living in separate communities, unruly children vs. fussy robots, who learn to overcome their differences, from the example set by one human boy and one robot girl who work together to achieve something that neither could do individually. It’s a tale of tolerance, teamwork, friendship, and most importantly, 314 rather dapper men!

The moral message of the story doesn’t dominate however, and one could comfortably read the story without even noticing it, which is what makes it so very good. The story of ‘Dapper Men’ is expertly crafted by Jim McCann, who most readers will probably know from his Marvel work.  This is, I believe, his first creator owned  project, and as such. it’s a rather splendid first outing! The story that he weaves here is one of wonder, adventure, excitement, and imagination. The tale is told through a combination of stunning visuals, smart dialogue, and almost poetic narration. Reading this story, I was filled with a sense of awe that comes from reading the stories of people like J.M. Barrie, Lewis Carroll, and L. Frank Baum. Big names, I know, but it really is that good!

I wish I knew enough about art to properly express what I think of Janet Lee’s artwork on Return of the Dapper Men. The first word that comes into my head as I flick back and forth through my PDF copy of the book is simply ‘perfection’. She has taken a unique approach to the art, for a comic story, and has created penciled and painted pieces of artwork, which she has then cut out, and decoupaged onto wood (don’t quote me on this) to create each page. The end product of this is a beautiful looking book with interesting page layouts, and an almost three dimensional look in places.  She’s done such a wonderful job on the book that it’s by far one of the prettiest looking graphic novels that I’ve seen in a long time.

Put together, Lee’s artwork and McCann’s writing attain that unique point at which they become inseparable, and you can’t imagine one existing without the other. That’s a pretty rare, and desirable quality for even the most tried and tested writer/artist partnerships, and this is only their first project together. I can’t wait to see what more they have in store.

The quality of this book doesn’t stop with the art and writing though, as Archaia have really put together a really beautiful product here, which would look great in any collection. It’s also got a terrific looking cover that was designed by the inimitable Todd Klein, and  some truly fantastic lettering, courtesy of Dave Lamphear.

If I haven’t made it clear yet, with my previous ramblings, I love this book! Heck, I’ve already read through my digital copy twice, and have a physical copy on pre-order. I recommend that you do the same right now - go and pre-order yourself a copy of this one, because it’s a hot contender to be this year’s top graphic novel, and you really don’t want to miss out. I was incredibly impressed with every single aspect of this book, and can’t think of one bad thing to say about it. Everyone involved should be proud, and it deserves to sell tons of copies!

Final Verdict: A charming and enchanting fable, brilliantly told, and wonderfully illustrated. One of the best stories I’ve read all year!

Related posts:

  1. Preview: Return of the Dapper Men OGN Hardcover
  2. Video: Return of the Dapper Men Trailer Debuts from Archaia
  3. Tim Gunn Writes the Forward to Return of the Dapper Men
  4. Archaia Unveils Final Cover to Return of the Dapper Men Original Graphic Novel
  5. Return of the Dapper Men to Feature an All-star Pin-up Gallery


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