Paint the Toon Red (Animætropolis Book 1) Review

Review By Aaron B.

 Being a fan of classic cartoons, such as Looney Tunes and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I knew I wanted to read this. From the cover alone, I was very interested. To best describe this is an ‘R-version of Cool World’ (but MUCH better written and a much more interesting plot.) I won’t ruin the plot too much, but in a nutshell it’s about a human character, named Tyler in a world of cartoons-what follows is a story including violence, dark themes (think maybe a gritty action movie or a noir tale)

I tend to bounce from subject to subject during a review, but I do have ADHD so I guess it’s the nature of the beast sort to speak! What I enjoyed the most here from a writer’s perspective besides the characters themselves (Snappy- the old timey alligator {crocodile maybe?} being maybe my favorite) was the descriptions of the cartoon characters. Of course, in a movie, it’s blatantly obvious who the animated characters are-you don’t question who’s who, but in a novel-everything is up to the writer to convey how characters walk, talk, interact with the environment etc. I was skeptical as to how this would work, I couldn’t imagine writing a cartoon character-so many details and so many actions would have to be done. Imagine WRITING a Wille E. Coyote short? It would be tough in my opinion.

However, A.J. Mayall does a fantastic job describing these odd characters. How their eyes would literally pop out of their heads from shock or how silly some of them behave (much like a Looney Tunes short) As a writer, I’d shy away from writing cartoons, but I’m glad another author took up the challenge, and I feel like this is a story I would have written-I’m glad someone else did, takes more pressure off of me I suppose!

For me, the plot kept getting better and better. I’ll admit I was skeptical over some plot points (turning humans into cartoons specifically) I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this concept, but I really did-it made for amazing character development. The other thing I thought I’d get tired of is the romance between Tyler and his boyfriend, romance is not my thing typically. Again, I was proven wrong. I liked the two couples, they made for kind and enticing characters.

I also loved what Tyler gets himself into, I loved who the bad guys ended up being and there were some extremely unique ideas. What would people do if they could turn others into cartoons? What would a sicko do with that kind of power? It gets depraved quickly.

Speaking of depraved and an R-rating, I am not kidding. Some of the plot even took ME off guard with how graphic the violence, torture and sex were-but I welcomed it (hell I wrote a book about a dragon and knight falling in love, so I have no room to talk!)

The last few chapters totally switched genres, which I really enjoyed. It flowed well. More of an action-thriller type deal, I won’t ruin what Tyler decides to do with his cartoon body, but it’s really, really cool. I was a huge fan of the ending.

The writing was also very good, never did I feel it long, again I have ADHD so for a book to hold my attention isn’t always a given.

I really liked everything in this story, it’s what Cool World should have been-I hope something like this (or heck this same story) gets turned into either a movie or a series. I think something like this would really grab people. For R-rated cartoon content you can’t do better.    

Rhode Island Comic Con 2019

This was a very fun con, I gotta say my Brooklyn cosplay sucked. It was uncomfortable and I just was not confident in it. BUT-that hardly matters! I saw an amazing cosplay of Venom (my Marvel boyfriend! LOL) I got to see Rocket, my favorite super hero- and I met my Star Wars hero, Admiral Ackbar (Tim Rose) We talked for about 7 min (on account that he couldn’t get his pen to work and I got extra time to chat! LOL) He was truly kind and we talked a lot about the costume itself and how awful I felt that Ackbar died so suddenly in “The Last Jedi” So it was an awesome con! 🙂

Michelle (Horror Short Film)

On a cold rainy day, a grieving mother picks up a hitchhiker, a tale of revenge and horror follows. Inspired by such films as “Misery” and “Hard Candy”.

This movie came about by mixing two of my favorite horror set pieces. Revenge and abduction. I wanted to make something more simple after “Good Boy” which took a few months to make-so I went for a more character-centered film with minimal sets and less gore (don’t worry, there is tons of blood to be had here though!) Filming in new locations is a huge plus for me, I love exploring new possibilities.

This movie wouldn’t have come to life without Cab (she has helped me film numerous movies and this is her first time on camera and acting)

The Nightingale

A gut wrenching experience full of bleakness, sadness and vengeance-and most of all realism. Not a typical tale of revenge-but an effective one. Incredible acting, writing and direction. This is not a revenge thriller-but a revenge drama. Really, drama is first. This is a character movie, we’re watching characters make decisions and seeing how they play out.

Aisling Franciosi is perfect in this movie as the main character. I bought every single line she delivered, my heart broke for Clare numerous times. I also loved Baykali Ganambarr as Billy. To call this simply ‘a tale of revenge’ is accurate-yes it is as brutal as everyone says. I wanted to look away a few times. It’s not horror movie blood and gore stuff, it’s real and raw. Like you’re watching real people get hurt. That’s what made this tough. It wasn’t hollywood-ish. Unlike most revenge movies, it did not glamorize the vengeance aspect, which was a breath of fresh air. This is as close to real life revenge as I ever want to see-because it’s messy and sad and horrific-but as I said, realistic.

So yes, if you can’t handle depressing and very, very dark scenes-don’t watch this. The images will stick with me for a long time and I consider myself quite adapt to violent films. However, I think my favorite aspect of this movie was the development of Clare and Billy. Being that this takes place in Colonial times, black people were treated as objects (an aspect this movie doesn’t shy away from at all. Yes, we have a real and raw tale of revenge and also the sad fact of slavery and racism thrown in our faces)

The way these two get to know each other and trust each other was enthralling. The way Billy helps Clare through these desperate times was also quite well done. Really the friendship between these two is the light in the darkness. We have scenes of horror, and also scenes of genuine kindness. As the director says, “this film is about a need for love, compassion and kindness in dark times.” I can totally see it. A movie that shows incredible bleakness also shows the need for more love and compassion in society-and that is perfect. What other revenge film does that? None that I know of.

I promise not to spoil anything, I see no reason to call this a perfect movie. There is nothing I would change. I will not forget my first time seeing this masterpiece-and I will re-watch it for sure.

This is my favorite film of 2019 so far.