Rise of the Ogre

Not since Spinal Tap has a band created as thorough and fictional a history as the Gorillaz have in Rise of the Ogre. The book is an interesting venture into the tangible world for the "world's most successful virtual band." Part graphic novel, part scrap book, Rise provides in-depth background info on all of the four members of Gorillaz (Murdoc, 2D, Noodle and Russel). Each has a unique story that includes explaining a lifelong fascination with zombies, arriving to the band via a FedEx crate and gaining hip-hop powers after getting caught in a drive-by shooting.

Filled with drawings and actual photos from video shoots and concerts, the images in the book are just as vital to the telling of the band's history as the stories. Rise is mostly oriented toward fans of Gorillaz but is weird enough to be appreciated by anyone, since it reads like a meandering journey through the minds of talented but deranged cartoons. With cameos from Dennis Hopper, Ike Turner and De La Soul, the book's style is just like the band's music: It usually doesn't make much sense but it's damn satisfying. 3 stars