cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (tea weevil)
Graphic novels:

Various: Graphic Classics: Adventure Classics.

Various: Project Romantica: An Anthology Dedicated to Love and Love Stuff
(Not to be confused with Junjo Romantica, although I keep mixing the titles up in my head. It's an anthology of more-or-less romance-themed shorts by a variety of cartoonists 'scuse me, artists (in my head, "cartoonist" is a good thing, but someone's bound to get tetchy). Nothing blew me away, but I particularly liked the pieces by Scott Morse, Rian Hughes, and Alberto Ruiz for their moody, stunning art--I really love Hughes' retro style thing, I've got to keep an eye out for work by him--and Debbie Huey's and Joel Priddy's for the clever, cartoony humor. It's a strong anthology, without a single bad piece. Plus, it has an entry from Mizuno Junko, her usual bizarre-but-compelling fare).

Jason: The Left Bank Gang
(Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald (and Zelda) as struggling cartoonists who decide to rob a gambling den in 1920's Paris. As per Jason's usual style, everybody is an animal of some kind. You cannot dream up crack this good on your own).

Busiek, Kurt, author, David Wenzel, artist: The Wizard's Tale
(cute, but for the love of god, if text is meant to be functional and not decorative, don't use those fucking fancy fonts! This took me much longer to read than it should have because of the shmancey, hard-to-read decorative font; I almost gave up entirely).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Graphic novels:

Stassen, Jean-Philippe: Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda
(this is the most depressing thing I have read this week).

Various: Graphic Classics: Gothic Classics
(I've already read Northanger Abbey, and was familiar with "Carmilla" from having heard a version of the radio play based on the story--it follows it very closely, except for having a little looser of an ending, I think--so the highlight of this for me was The Mysteries of Udolpho. It's a ridiculously overblown story, but knowing the highlights adds a bit to the experience of Northanger Abbey, which references Ann Radcliffe's work and makes a little bit of fun of it.

I don't really know how "At the Gate" fits into the Gothic tradition--maybe my sense of the term is too narrow?--but I liked it. Doggie souls camped out at the gates of heaven waiting for the souls of their masters and mistresses in life, so they can go in together--not because they aren't allowed in alone, but because heaven isn't heaven to a dog without the beloved human companion? Yes, I teared up).


Manga:

Oda Eiichiro: One Piece vols. 3-4
(the awesome thing about manga like this is that it takes me about ten minutes to read a volume. And when I say, "read," I mean, "flip rapidly through the pages and read any words that are bolded and enlarged, which is the only part of the dialogue necessary to follow the action.").
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Graphic novels:

Avi, author, Brian Floca, artist: City of Light, City of Dark
(so very, very excellent. I amused myself by trying to translate the bits of Spanish dialogue without looking at the English captions for them. I didn't do very well, but I appear to have remembered more of my high school Spanish than I realized.

YA plot structure is so recognizable! I think I would have identified it as being a YA book even if I hadn't seen Avi's name on the cover).


Sabatini, Rafael, author, Various: Graphic Classis: Rafael Sabatini
(I haven't read any Sabatini before--don't look at me like that; I wasn't an English major--and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked his style. Very fun stuff).


Bell, Gabrielle: Lucky
(or, when slice-of-life gets whiney.

Sorry, that's not fair. I did really like it, but I constantly wanted to shout at the boyfriend, "Just pick an apartment and stay in it! I'm tired of reading about the author helping you move and you deciding to stop checks you wrote to innocent tenants who thought they'd found a roommate, you jerk." Maybe it's a New York real estate thing, where you have to move fast and put down a deposit on an apartment you want to rent ASAP lest you lose it, but I really disapprove of writing checks in bad faith, particularly when it's done habitually).


Manga:

Hirano Kohta: Hellsing vol. 3
(Doing wonders for the image of the Catholic church, those side stories are).

Watase Yuu: Absolute Boyfriend vol. 4
(I can no longer remember whether I read volume 3. I might have. I dunno.

This is not gonna go down in history as my favorite Watase manga, but man, I always dig her style. I'd rather be reading Ceres, it's just never at the library when I'm there).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Graphic novels:

Various: Graphic Classics: Jack London
(I don't know if these adaptations are sub-par or if I just don't like Jack London that much, but I'm finding these stories unsatisfactory, especially the endings. It feels like the stories just...stop.

I thought I liked Jack London, but maybe I don't any more, because I've gotten much pickier more sophisticated as a reader since I was a kid.

Or maybe the adaptations are just bad).


Fies, Brian: Mom's Cancer
(can a work be heartbreaking when the ending is as happy as a story about enduring cancer can be? I read most of this with tears standing in my eyes. I'm trying to figure out how to describe it without sounding like an idiot, and I guess the thing is--I recognize so much of this.

I had quite a lot written out about the sense of recognition, but it turned out too personal. Sorry.

Anyway. This deserves its Eisner. How heartbreaking this is, and--I'm glad for Fies and his mother and sisters that they found whatever pleasures and peace they did while his mother was alive).


Manga:

Matsumoto Taiyo: Black and White aka Tenkkonkincreet vols. 1-3/all
(The library had the old flipped volumes, so that's what I read. Flipped, unflipped, what the shit, I don't care! That's something artists care about because they can see the flaws in their own work when it's flipped. The rest of us don't care and we generally do not notice--but it's cheaper not to flip, so please let us pretend this about artistic integrity, not money.* Because when we talk about "experiencing the manga the way the artist intended it," we conveniently forget that the artist, assuming that the artist is also the author (and if not...fuck the author!), also expected intended the reader not only to speak and read Japanese, but also to be Japanese with a shared cultural experience and centuries of mutual history, and that whether or not you flip the art, translation from one language to another, no matter how tone-deaf and literal, cannot replicate the experience of reading the text in the original language! It never can! That's what translation means! Translation isn't photocopying! Compromise is inherent to the concept! Suck it up.

*The Blade of the Immortal-style compromise of cutting up and rearranging panels to read in a different direction so as not to tick off the manga-ka doesn't make me want to growl or bite things because every time I've seen it discussed, the publisher or translator has acknowledged the need for compromise in translation. Really, I'm easy. I feel the same way about Tezuka works being flipped because Tezuka knew I normally read from left to right. I'm flexible! Just don't lie to me or condescend to me about why. There is no right way to eat a Reese's, and there is no right way to read manga.

Ahem. I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. There was more plot than I expected. There wasn't much plot, but I'd been led to believe there would be none, and some is infinitely more than zero).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Graphic novels/comics:

Leiber, Fritz, author, Howard Chaykin, adaptation, Mike Mignola, artist: Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
(it starts pretty well, and then all the women get eaten by rats, and I'm not sure what the point is of continuing when this is the kind of story where men are dashing and women get eaten by rats. I imagine this criticism applies just as well to the original text, but that doesn't mean I'm cutting the comic a break for it.

By the way, Mignola's depiction of Vlana is so hot I'd consider going bi for her.

And I did finish the book. But I'm still upset about the rats).


Whedon, Joss, author, and an artist whose name I didn't remember to write down at the library, sorry, but it's really good art and he's got the resemblances down cold: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home
(wow, I really enjoyed that. I'd already read like half of it in snippets on scans_daily, but that did not detract from my enjoyment of the book as a whole. I wish to read more.

I disapprove strongly of a lot of the places BTVS went in its later seasons, but time has a way of dimming the dislike, and the comic has lots of Xander and Dawn and only the eentsiest bit of Spike. I wonder if the Firefly comics will ever be this good?).


Various: Graphic Classics: H.G. Wells
(I'm sure it goes without saying by this point, but I sure love me some Graphic Classics! They are sometimes a bit uneven, but always an enjoyable read, and frequently contain Rick Geary art, and as you know, Rick Geary is cooler than pancakes.

This book unfortunately has no Rick Geary, but H.G. Wells is at least as cool as pancakes on his own).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Graphic novels:

Geary, Rick: A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Saga of the Bloody Benders
(Little House on the Prairie meets...shit, I don't know, Procrustes, or any horror film where the murderer is not a possessed doll).

Various: Rosebud Graphic Classics: Arthur Conan Doyle
(ACD is the sort of classic author you were happier not knowing anything about, because he was kind of a gullible twit who makes you want to slap him silly, and who stubbornly championed the veracity of obvious frauds).

Crane, Walter S.: Sheba Volume 1: The Sands of Seth
(I was prepared to roll my eyes until they fell out of my head, but Crane knows his mythological pantheons. It's pretty cute. What noise does a mummified cat make when she's thumping across the sands of Egypt? Ba-dong! I gotta get more of this).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Heyer, Georgette: Footsteps in the Dark
(English. Mystery. Witty! Georgette Heyer. This one reads a bit like a Nancy Drew or a Hardy Boys novel for adults, and I think I mean that in a good way).


Graphic novels:

Spiegelman, Art: Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began
(Spiegelman really knows his way around a visual metaphor).

Various: Graphic Classics: Mark Twain
(it's good and it's fun, and Rick Geary always rocks my socks, but the main thing I get from this book is a renewed desire to read Twain as prose. Also, I felt that some of these adaptations were a little short on illustration. As I can read Twain's prose whenever I want to, I felt a bit cheated on that score).

Geary, Rick: A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Mystery of Mary Rogers
(Geary does not fail to rock my socks with this.

I am unsatisfied over not having an answer to the mystery, but unsolved mysteries are par for the course here--it's not a fault of Geary's presentation of the material. It just so happens that I hadn't heard of this mystery before reading the book, so I had no existing sense of the mythology that sprang up around Mary Rogers' murder. I did already know some of mythologies of Lizzie Borden and of Jack the Ripper when I read Geary's books on them, so I was already anticipating those non-resolutions.

I really don't know why I can enjoy graphic novel true crime stories when the prose kind generally leave me loathing every part of the process. I think maybe because the kinds of true crime stories that make it into contemporary comics tend to be historical, and often the stuff of legend? To me, writing stories based on enduring cultural lore does not feel so sickeningly dehumanizing as what crowds the true crime shelves in bookstores...some of the motivation is the same (we thrill to the gruesome details of the crime, the intense emotion, the extremes of personality), but it's a little more...I don't know...processed. Passed off to history, with the families no longer around to be injured. Like fiction, there's no longer anything really at stake, and no one to be hurt. It's why historical fiction doesn't bug me when RPF does.

And a great deal of the appeal specifically of these Geary works is that the murders ARE unsolved and can almost certainly never BE solved, making them a sort of intellectual exercise, like mental chewing gum).


Manga:

Mashima Hiro: Fairy Tail vol. 2.

Kanari Yozaburo, author, Sato Fumiya, artist: The Kindaichi Case Files: Treasure Isle
(called it. Sort of).

Nakazawa Keiji: Barefoot Gen vols. 1-2
(the introduction is by Art Spiegelman. You know, it's hard to say which of these WWII-related works is more depressing, Maus or this.

I strongly recommend this manga to anyone feeling dissatisfied with works like Grave of the Fireflies or Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms for not discussing Japanese culpability in WWII. The author's father was anti-war, and the manga is a fictionalized version of the author's own life--by pure chance, he survived the atomic blast at Hiroshima, lost most of his family at that time, and struggled to survive afterwards--and his father's (and presumably the family's as a whole) anti-war stance is laid out loud and clear, as are the dire social consequences of not supporting the war (among other unpleasant things, not being able to borrow food from neighbors when your pregnant wife and five children are slowly starving to death). The manga also firmly acknowledges Japanese racism and mistreatment of Korean and Chinese laborers; this is discussed in the context of the family's friendship with a Korean neighbor, who repays their open support and friendship with food he can barely spare.

Reading this is like a reading a weird hybrid of The Drifting Classroom and something by Tezuka: unrelenting horror and death in a blasted landscape, as written by a humanist who over and over and over again calls for peace and human friendship, infused with childlike optimism, energy, and the moral depth and clarity that only a wise adult can really possess. It's humanism from someone who has literally seen with his own eyes absolutely the worst that people can do to each other, and who still believes that we can be better than that, and who can show you both.

Highly recommended, but expect it to hurt).


Taniguchi Tomo: Aquarium
(I am slowly working my way through all the works reviewed in the shoujo issue of The Comics Journal!).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
This everything I can remember reading since...oh, March or maybe a little before? Probably no earlier than February. I jogged my memory by looking at my bookshelves; if it was from a library, or elsewhere borrowed, I may have forgotten about it. I borrow more novels/prose/nonfiction than I buy, so this list is a little slanted towards comics and graphic novels, which I buy more often, because less of what I want to read is available from the library in a regular and timely fashion.

It's also slanted towards comics and graphic novels because I read a lot more of them.

School-related/academic reading: uncounted multitudes.
Poetry: like you care.

Novels/prose books:

Kipling, Rudyard: Kim (reread), The Jungle Book.

Eddings, David & Leigh: The Belgariad, The Mallorean (rereads).

Stephenson, Neal The Diamond Age, Zodiac.

Can't remember the author: Keturah and Lord Death.

Alexander, Llyod: The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio.



Comic strip collections/comic book collections/graphic novels:

Various: The Big Book of Hoaxes.

Eisner, Will: The Spirit Archives vol 1, The Building.

Ishida Tatsuya: Sinfest, Sinfest: Life is My Bitch (all the Sinfest is technically a reread, since I read the strip online).

Warren, Adam: Empowered vol. 3 (damn! just...damn. Adam Warren's obscenely talented. I am interested in his ideas, and would like to subscribe to his newsletter).

Buja's Diary.

Geary, Rick: I cannot remember their damn names, but the Jack the Ripper book, and the Lizzie Borden book. Which reminds me,

Graphic Classics: the O Henry, the Lovecraft, and the Stoker.

Moore, Alan and Rick Veitch, Swamp Thing (whatever that first Moore volume is titled).



Manga. This is where it gets long. )


And yes, this is typical.

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