The Good Neighbors, Book 1: Kin - Holly Black, Ted Naifeh
In terms of originality, Holly Black's story of an American teenager discovering that she's half-faerie and being drawn into the in-fighting of a strange, ruthless and supernatural underworld straight out of European folklore seems like something that's probably been done before, at least in some form. Where Black really succeeds, I think, is in taking those parts of old fairy tales that modern children are typically denied, and instead drawing them out in a way that reflects more modern teenage concerns. Her characters feel real and they have real problems, in the real world. And if that real world, as Black relates it - with substantial help from Ted Naifeh's sumptuous artwork - happens to feature magic and people with horns, well, is that much stranger than the real world we average mortals experience?
Although Holly Black is perhaps better known, especially after the movie adaptation of Spiderwick Chronicles, I actually only picked up this book because of how much I enjoyed Ted Naifeh's Polly and the Pirates. Naifeh's on fine form here, producing a highly-detailed style that manages to feel more real than real, somehow, especially when it's depicting the impossible. But Black is impressive as well, taking to this new medium effortlessly, more than happy to let the pictures do their own talking.
I've always been fond of works of any kind that can convincingly marry the everyday with the imaginative and extraordinary, and The Good Neighbors pulls this off nicely. Book 1 is maybe a little short, and after the completion of this small arc of the story, I'm actually not all that sure where it's going to go next, but I definitely think I'll be reading Book 2 to find out.