I just realized that I don't have a new review up for the Skyscrapers of the Midwest collection (because, well, I don't feel like reviewing the collection when I already reviewed each individual issue, so nyah!), so I figured it'd be nice to share with you some other reviews from reviewers I like!
My pal, Tim Callahan, wrote a review for CBR (4 1/2 stars out of 5) here.
I especially liked this bit by Tim:
The unnamed protagonist of the story, clearly meant as an analogue for the author's own self as a child, is geeky and overweight, and Cotter quickly establishes his relationship to the world in the opening pages as he's picked last for the kickball game while playing with his toy robot. He's not even picked last, really. He's the last one not picked, and when the older boy says, "sorry, bud. Teams are even now. Uh. . . you can be captain next time," we know everything we need to know about this character and the culture he lives in. He knows he won't be captain next time, and so do we.
Tim is so right - it is really impressive how well Cotter gets across the protagonist's situation, all by appealing to the reader's emotions rather than going into extensive detail about the background of the character. Cotter gets it across in these small, emotional moments, as Tim notes.
The great Tom Spurgeon has a nice review on the series, which he has said in the past "Skyscrapers of the Midwest is one of the the best debut series this decade." Spurgeon gives Cotter some criticism, noting that the book is clearly that of an artist learning his craft as he goes, but for the most part, he likes how the characters interact, especially when, as he notes,
the emotional stakes are ratcheted up by one or the other for practically no reason.
I liked that part of the book, too - how realistic the reactions from these characters - where high drama can come about out of nowhere - an otherwise typical day can suddenly become drama-filled, just by a harsh word.
Finally, in a review for the Los Angeles Times, Laurel Maury notes the intriguing view Cotter has on Christian Fundementalism:
One of the beauties of this book is the way it mixes a humanist approach to childhood with Christian fundamentalism. When Kevin accepts Jesus as his savior and is submerged in a baptism, he meets his fears in the form of monsters resembling a discarded toy. "Lying to Christ!! Just doing it because his friends are," they bellow. Literary types often see conservative Christians as monolithic and single-minded, but how could they be? -- it's a view without breadth. Cotter's book is utterly gracious to all. It abandons reality in favor of truth, and the effect is cosmic.
Interesting take by Maury.
If anyone out there sees another interesting review, make sure to drop me a line! So far, Skyscrapers has been received very well from the blogosphere since its release two Wednesday ago, and I sure am happy to see it!
And just for fun, here is the picture of alive kittens Meredith got from Cotter at MoCCA!