Grease Monkey was one of those awesome books. It's a black-and-white science fiction graphic novel about a space station in a future where an awful lot of humans have been exterminated by aliens. Benevolent aliens came along and helpfully lifted gorillas up to the level of humans, so that the world wouldn't be too underpopulated to survive. Now, the gorillas and humans who populate the space station are in constant preparation, just in case the bad aliens come back. The book follows Robin Plotnik, a new cadet, as he assists Mac Gimbensky, the gorilla on the cover who happens to be the mechanic for the best squadron of fighter pilots on the station, the all-female Barbarians.
That's all just the set-up, though. What you get when you read this is the experience of living on that space station, with those people. It's not a sweeping space-military war epic. It's not a "how disturbing could I possibly make these aliens?" story, or an "in the future we all have weird sex every second of every day" story. It's not a "realistic" story wherein unlikeable people make stupid mistakes and just live with it. It's about real people having normal everyday problems, and TOTALLY COMING OUT ON TOP. It's awesome!
Like I said, it's not a sweeping epic. It's written in vignettes, for the most part, and that's where the day-in-the-life feel comes from. It's lots of days in their lives, and their lives are way funnier and more awesome than mine. It's a rich, complete story, it tries to make you think, and it's intense sometimes, but it's not trying to shock you or impress you with how trendy it is. You can read it in tiny little sips, one vignette at a time, and enjoy it, but it's the kind of book you just WANT to read, because when you're reading it, you're happy.
Since it's a graphic novel, a word on the art: Fantastic. Very clean and crisp and fun to look at, a pleasure to look at. There's no trouble telling which characters are which or what's going on in the panel, and a big spread will take your breath away. It really will.
You can read the ongoing sequel at the Grease Monkey site, as well as find all kinds of art, suggestions for further reading, and other cool stuff. I say once again: Awesome.
I've got loads of books to post about and plenty of spare time, so I'm hopefully back on a weekly schedule now. I hope y'all will bear with me as I get back into the swing of things.