31 July 2004

More Fey

Page 11. Firsts this time: it was going to be the first page that I added flat grey tones with PhotoShop, but I forgot, and then I liked the outliney look, and left it that way (I may go back and see if I like greys better); I was going to say first page with no actual characters, but actually quite a few pages have just background beings in. Oh well. Oh, here's one: first page with no page number. I have to go fix that now . . .

Edit: I added the missing page number. Not sure how I missed it. Having a forgetful sort of day, I guess.

29 July 2004

What Kind of Elitist are You?

Some of those questions had more than one good answer. (Actually, most of the questions had at least two good answers.)
You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every
book ever published. You are a fountain of
endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and
never fail to impress at a party.
What people love: You can answer almost any
question people ask, and have thus been
nicknamed Jeeves.
What people hate: You constantly correct their
grammar and insult their paperbacks.

What Kind of Elitist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

27 July 2004

Laughter with Tears

This Neil Gaiman blog post made me laugh so hard I couldn't see for the tears; scroll down to the bit that begins:
This one puzzled me when it came in. Short, to the point, but a little opaque.

Can i have a short summary of each chapter please?, I need it because it is for my journal I will thank you so much.

And don't try to eat or drink at the same time.

23 July 2004

Fey: page 10

Here it is.

And More Sequential Art

More, more, more. I think I am so determined to read every comic I can lay my hands on (the "mainsteam" superhero books mostly aside) because I've been working so much on my own comic. I need to absorb as many influences, good and bad, as I can. Or something.
  1. Parasyte volume 4 by Hitosi Iwaaki. Still strange in a good way, still character driven. I think I won't bother to comment on this title any more, except to add it to the list, unless something chages.
  2. Parasyte volume 5 by Hitosi Iwaaki.
  3. Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware. I've started to request the "classics" and well-spoken-of North American books from the library. As many as they actually have, anyway. Jimmy Corrigan is a strange book. It's a story about smothering parents, and not-very-nice parents, and the lack of parents, told through an ordinary (almost loserish) guy named Jimmy. The art is very simple (sometimes deceptively so), and suits the story. The colours are almost flat, but work very well and give the impression of jewel-like panels (sort of). Overall, it's kind of a depressing book (and long). By the end, all the bits and pieces come together to make a story that is difficult to articulate (hence my lack of coherence in this blurb). It's quite depressing in places, but ends with a bit of hope (and a redhead). I don't think I'll ever make something like this book myself, but it's a great read (and not over so quickly as a lot of other books--it's substantial, I mean).

Need . . . more . . . comics . . . (er, is my addiction showing?)

22 July 2004


Look at this photo of Neil Gaiman's son. Doesn't he look like a beautiful anime hero? Every time I look at NG's blog, I have to restrain myself from running to get a pencil and paper.

21 July 2004

Yet More Non-Fiction

Hey, one of these is actually not a library book! I got it ages ago at the last Times Colonist (that's the Victoria newspaper) book sale.
  1. Heavenly Errors by Neil F. Comins. This is the other astronomy book I mentioned when I blogged about Bad Astronomy. Of the two, I liked Heavenly Errors best, though they cover different aspects of the topic of astronomical mistakes. Bad Astronomy has more of the thing things we think are true but aren't and, while Heavenly Errors has some of that (plus some more technical ones not covered in BA), it's more about why people believe things that aren't true--how we come to believe them, and why we sometimes have difficulty changing those beliefs even when we learn they're wrong. Interesting stuff, and a good continuation of my pseudoscience reading.
  2. The Alphabet Effect by Robert K. Logan. The main premise of this book is that science developed in the west and not the east (despite the superior technology of eastern countries like China) because it took the kind of thinking associated with monotheism, codified law and an alphabet to produce scientific thought. I'd be interested to see what a more recent scholoar would say about this (the book was published in the mid-80s, I think; I haven't got it to hand right now). The arguments are interesting, though the book itself is rather dry.
  3. The Werewolf: In Legend, Fact, and Art by Basil Copper. I have to say, I found this book really disappointing, and I almost took it back to the library after the first chapter. The author seems to know nothing about folklore (nothing about folklore scholarship, anyway--he said something about fairy tales being nice little stories for children! How Victorian). And he seems to know almost nothing about structuring a book-length work. There were a lot of places where he said he couldn't go into detail due to lack of space, but then he'd go on about some irrelevant thing in the most wordy manner. Anyway, I am kind of glad I persevered, as the chapters on literature and movies were a bit better, and gave me lots of intriguing-sounding books to look for. Not something I'd recommend, really, especially if you already know a little about lycanthropy.

I also read a skinny little book called The Spirit of the Chinese Character, which was very cool. It only has a small number of characters, but it showed the way they were made--both the order of strokes to draw them, and the other characters each was made up of and how the meanings combined to produce the meaning of the whole. Very interesting, and a topic I will explore further.

DIY Dragons

Or rather, DIM, since I did it myself. That is, I put up the new shelves I bought at Jysk (after staining and Varathaning, of course). I had to abandon my original plan of putting them up above my dresser, as it turns out that wall (the one where the two halves of the duplex join) is made of something resembling cement (it could be cement, for all I know). I got two holes deep enough to put anchors in, so I kept trying with the others, but no luck. No I have a whole bunch of shallow holes to fill and paint over (here's hoping there's enough paint left in the bottom of the can). So the shelves are up on the opposite wall, above one of my bookcases. As soon as I can find a long, skinny screwdriver to get a few hard-to-get-at screws the rest of the way in, I'll fill them shelves with dragons and other fantastic beasts.

More Fiction

Unlike graphic novels, I haven't read so much prose fiction lately. I'm not sure why, really. Maybe because I've been trying to finish up all the non-fiction I got at the library so I can return it.
  1. City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende. This is a really lovely YA novel by a writer known for her adult fiction. I've read her Eva Luna and Portrait in Sepia, and I have Tales of Eva Luna on the shelf waiting to be read, so I knew I'd like it. There were a few things that bugged me, though. I don't know if it was the translation or the original, but there were an awful lot of really bad cliché phrases (I suspect the translator was trying to find English equivalents for colloquialisms that wouldn't have worked in direct translation). There were also quite a few places with small, but unnecessary and jarring repetitions. Despite the little flaws, though, this is a marvelous book, full of that kind of magic that isn't blatant fantasy but seems perfectly natural at the time of reading. I noticed that the sequel is out, so I'll be watching for it at the library (and used/discount book stores).
  2. The Unknown Shore by Patrick O'Brien. This is the guy who wrote the book(s) that the movie Master and Commander (which I never did get to the theatre to see) was based on. I'd seen O'Brien's fiction mentioned on both Language Log and Languagehat, so I expected a writer who loves language. I also expected a difficult read, full of obscure terms and antiquated grammar. I got the first, but not the second, which made me very happy. This book isn't in the Aubrey/Maturin series (as Master and Commander is). The blurb on the back suggested it would be a good place to start with O'Brien's writing, as it's an earlier book, and a good sampler if one isn't sure about getting stuck into such a long series. I think the blurb was probably right. I really enjoyed this, and I'll probably start looking for the first Aubrey/Maturin book.

I have a couple more from the library, after which I think I'll read some from my own shelves. I've got some great stuff I haven't touched becaase I needed to finish my library books first.

18 July 2004

Tube Watching

I watched the first 5 episodes of Wolf's Rain last night. Wow. That's about all I can say. It's a post-apocalyptic, wolf-myth-filled story that explores all sorts of interesting things like friendship, loyalty, destiny and the like . . . Just wow. Oh yeah, it's anime.

17 July 2004

More Sequential Art Books

This is a mix of things I got while at Free Comic Book Day, the library, and shopping in Nanaimo yesterday (mainly to buy shelves to hold the mythic/folkloric beastie toys/stuffies collection, but there was a Chapter's gift card involved (Sue's) and Jysk happens to be in the same mall as Curious Comics' Nanaimo store).

  1. Lone Wolf and Cub volume 1 by Kazuo Koike. I've only been meaning to read this series for ages and ages. Years, anyway. It's a well-known and well-spoken-of series, praised for its accurate depiction of Edo Japan (and now I have a cunning plan for getting my nephew to read comics--he's really into feudal Japan). It's basically a series of connected short stories about an ex-samurai (who chose to become an assiasin for hire rather than commit seppuku so he'd have a chance to avenge his clan) who travels about the countryside with his infant son. The art is really lovely, with more in common with brushwork than big-eyed manga. If that makes any sense. I mean, it's still recongnizable as manga. Er . . . now I'm getting my ideas all tangled. It's good. If you're interested in Japan or history, read it.
  2. Parasyte volume 2 by Hitosi Iwaaki. This horror series just keeps getting weirder. But good weird, I think. I don't know that I'll go out and buy these books, but I will keep getting them from the library.
  3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Origin by Christopher Golden and someone I can't recall, based on a script by Joss Whedon. I picked this up at the library on a whim. I love the tv series, but I've never bothered to read the comics or novels. I don't go in much for tie-in stuff, generally (I did read a bunch of Babylon 5 novels, but of the nine I read, only two were really worth the time and only one of those was really good). Anyway, it was fun. It was kind of like the writers took the script from the BtVS movie (which didn't have Sarah Michelle Geller in it) and rewrote parts to better fit the tv continuity, and then the artists drew the tv Buffy. I wish they'd made Merrick look like Donald Sutherland, though (I didn't really care that Lothos didn't look like Rutger Hauer, though that would've been okay, too). There was probably some legal reason they couldn't.
  4. Parasyte volume 3 by Hitosi Iwaaki. I keep expecting this series to degenerate into gratuitous violence and gore, and it keeps pleasantly surprinsing me by remaining character-driven. Don't know why I have that expectation, but I'm glad it's not been fulfilled.
  5. Magic Knight Rayearth volume 3 by CLAMP. This is volume 3 and I haven't read volumes 1 or 2. I grabbed it at the library, because I figured I'd never see it on the shelf again if I didn't. I think I would like this series better if I hadn't read the last book first. It seemed way too rushed, but if I'd read it from the beginning, it may have built up in such a way that the rushing was natural. I don't know. I've requested volume 1, but I think I'm number 5 or so on the list.
  6. Shirahime-Syo by CLAMP. Now this book, on the other hand, is really lovely. I rather wish I'd found the hardcover, though. I think more of the hardcover (maybe even all of it?) was in colour. In the paperback, only the first few pages were in lovely watercolour. Not that the b&w is bad; it's still gorgeous art. It's not as girly-manga as most of CLAMP's other work, which suits the stories--a series of shorts arranged around the image of snow. It's sad and beautiful and haunting. Very nice stuff.
  7. Skinwalkers by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir. I've been meaning to read this since last year's Free Comic Book Day, when I got the first issue as a freebie. So when I (well, Sue, actually) found the tpb collection in the half-off bin at Curious Comics, I had to grab it. When I read the first issue, though I liked it a lot, I thought it was very nearly a Tony Hillerman rip-off in comics form. But the more I read of the full book, the less Hillerman-like it became. And the better I liked it. The great story, though, is rather hampered by the so-so pencils and the really not very good finishes. The pencils were scanned and then shading rendered on a computer, which can work very well. In this case, though, it just made the art dark and muddy and rather hard to look at for very long. And the lettering wasn't great either. The good thing about the art is that each character looked like a real person, and continued to look like the same person through th book. And the Navaho protaginist looked like a Navaho woman.

Phew. I have read quite a few graphic novels lately. I guess reaching 50 won't be so hard after all. I discovered that Chapters now has a graphic novel section, with lots of manga, but the selection wasn't all that impressive at the Nanaimo store. I'd planned to pick up a few more books there, but all I ended up getting was a book on leprechauns for my fairy book collection--and it came from the sale shelf (not just the bargain shelf, but the closing-out super cheap shelf).

16 July 2004

Comics: Fey page 9

It's Friday once again, and once again I've managed to get the next page of Fey up: part 1, page 9.

15 July 2004

Ripped Off

So I'm writing this article on plagiarism. I just happen to pop over to Technorati to see if anyone's linking to CW for Teens. And I find something interesting: I've been plagiarized. Yup, that's one of my CW for Teens articles, word for word. I might never have found it if the person hadn't left the links intact. At least it gives me a personal example to use in my article.

14 July 2004

Out of Place

I've never felt connected to any one place. We moved around a lot when I was a kid (Dad was in the Navy), and then I moved around a fair bit when I went to University. I never really minded moving--I liked going someplace new, finding new cool shops and new magical forests--but I also kind of envied those people who had always had a place they were "from." (I wrote a whole essay about what happens when someone askes me "Where are you from?"). In Newfoundland, the place you're from--where you were born--is the place you "belong to." "Buddy belongs to Carbonear," someone might say. I've never felt I belonged to anywhere in particular. In the aforementioned essay, I concluded that Victoria was "home by default" because it's where I was born, and if you add up all the disconnected years, it's where I lived abut half my life.

But last night I had an epiphany (had a few of those lately; I'll blog on others later). I realized that, even though it's where I was born, my earliest memories are not of Victoria.

Nope. My earliest memories (aside from one that may not be a real memory where all I remember is an ugly patterned carpet that I was hanging upside over as someone shook me by the legs so I'd spit up the lifesaver I was choking on--now there's an ironically named candy) are of Nova Scotia. Halifax, to be precise. I have no idea what our house or even my bedroom in Victoria looked like. What I first remember is Halifax in snow and making snow structures by packing snow into my lunchbox (I think I inherited it from my sister, since I didn't go to school yet). Another memory is a friend and I dipping our mittens into the buckets that hung on the maple trees behind her house and sucking the sap off. I have no memories of Victoria until I was 9 and we moved back (having been to Virginia Beach, VA and Toronto in the meantime).

I wonder if I go to Halifax (which I hope to do, keeping fingers and toes crossed that I can get accepted at NSCAD), if I'd feel any connection?

12 July 2004

The Edge Chronicles

This looks like a very cool new series of kids'/YA books: The Edge Chronicles. I'll have to look for them. (Link via The Mumpsimus.)

11 July 2004

More of that 50 Non-fiction Books

Well, that was quick. Usually it takes me longer to read non-fiction.
  1. Longitude by Dava Sobel. The subtitle of this book is "The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time" (which should probably be italicized rather than quotation-marked, but who cares?). It's a long title for a small book (175 pages, not including sources and index). While not quite as engaging as, say The Neptune File, this was a well-written and interesting history of science book. Plus, clocks are cool.

I'm already halfway through the next book, too. After that, it'll probably be several volumes of fiction. But maybe not.

Library Defacer Strikes ME!

Er . . . yeah. My sister's had the bad luck to get at least one book with "corrections" in it nearly every time she goes to the library (maybe I'm exaggerating; read about it here and here). Now her evil nemesis has stuck one of my books. The gall! I could almost forgive this person underlining the word "North" and writing "Mid" in the margin. Saying northern Africa is in the North Atlantic was an error, after all. But then they later underlined "road" and noted "sea" in the margin. The reference in the book was to a "road test" of a marine chronometer. Obviously, they weren't really going to test the chronometer on a road; they were going to test it on a ship. At sea. Obviously. But it was a metaphor for crying out loud! (And a cliché, just like the end of my sentence was.) Don't people know about metaphors any more? Eh.

10 July 2004

Not New, Re-Released

So what I thought was new Rumiko Takahashi manga is actually a re-release: Mermaid Forest. I thought the title sounded familiar. Still something I very much want to read, though.

New Non-Fiction

Guess I might as well update the non-fiction list, while I'm updating everything else.
  1. Bad Astronomy by Philip Plait. Do you know why the sky is blue, or what causes the seasons? Are you sure you know? Plait tackles misconceptions about astronomy that are "known" by all sorts of people. I had correct or vaguely correct ideas about most of them, I'm happy to say, but there were one or two I thought I knew but didn't. This is a fun book with chapters on the supposed moon landing hoax and those companies that allegedly sell stars for you to name as you like, as well as on more basic topics like why the sky is blue, what causes the seasons or the phases of the moon, and why stars twinkle and planets don't (or do they?). I've got another book out on a similar topic, but it looks like it covers somewhat different things. The universe is a fascinating place, I tell you.

I really need to get out of the habit of only posting on weekends, and then posting a huge number of things all at once. I really should spread them out more through the week. I really should . . .

New Fiction

I'm not going to explain yet why I was reading two hefty fantasy books at the same time. I'll wait till I finish the second one (which I actually started first), as it's more relevant.
  1. Rats and Gargoyles by Mary Gentle. I've been curious about Gentle's fiction since I first read an essay she wrote called "Gargoyles, Architecture and Devices, Or: Why write science fiction as if it wasn't?" (very much recommended reading). Rats and Gargoyles is a dense book that's not for the faint of heart. If you're sick of elves and dragons and barbarians in northern wastes, then you might want to check this out. Heat, five directions, giant sentient rats, a College of Crime and alchemical architecture . . . that's what you'll find, among other things. The writing is rich and somewhat dense, but I didn't find that it impeded my reading at all (some very lush writing, like Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Umberto Eco, slows me right down, though I love it just the same). And this book (nearly 500 pages long) has got to have the longest climax--the best-sustained suspense--in any book I've ever read. I was sure things were coming to a head when I was barely more that halfway through. I will be looking for more of Gentle's work.
  2. The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler). And now for something completely different . . . I still haven't managed to snag my own copy of this book, volume 10 (of a projected 13, I believe) of A Series of Unfortunate Events (should one italicize series titles, I wonder? I'll have to look that up), so when it finally turned up at the library, I grabbed it. I love these books. On the surface they're somewhat silly kids' stories, but Handler packs in a lot of stuff that kids won't get, but adults will (kind of reminds me of some The Simpsons episodes I've seen). Anyway, the story progresses. The characters seem to be slowly drawing closer to some answers, but those unfortunate events keep happening. The more of these books I read, the more I am convinced that Mr Handler, alias Snicket, is Up To Something.

So that brings me up to date on fiction. Phew. Next up I've got another YA, and then some non-genre fiction. Or maybe it's genre, but it's about "real life" whatever that means. I have three of them lined up in my stack from the library. Onward . . .

New Sequential Art Books

I think this minor revival of an old interest in manga and anime has now definitely become a minor obsession with manga and anime. I think one of the reasons I find it so attractive is that, unlike western comics (and western animated movies/tv, for the most part), manga/anime is available in a huge variety of genres. Any topic you can think of is almost certain to appear in manga or anime. To be fair, the "alternative" stream in western comics (for those who don't know, in comics "mainstream" equals superheroes) has a lot of different genres and topics, from autobiography to westerns to fantasy to sf to detective fiction. In the east, though, those genres aren't "alternative." Anyway, on to my reading of the past week or so.
  1. InuYasha volume 3 by Rumiko Takahashi. The more I read of this series and the more I watch the anime, the more taken I am with it. Great characterization, great art, great fantasy concepts, lots of myth and folklore. It's just cool. I've begun to notice slight differences (mostly plot-related) between the manga and the anime, but rather than being annoying, they're kind of interesting. They make me think about plot and how stories work differently in different media. This series has also made me look into Takahashi's other work. I'm 10 of 14 on the list at the library for volume 1 of Ranma 1/2 and I think 4 of 4 for volume 1 of Maison Ikkoku. And I'm kicking myself for not picking up the first colume of her new series (I think it's new anyway) when I was at Curious Comics for Free Comic Book Day (more on FCBD in a later post). I assumed the other stores would have it, but none did. Sigh.
  2. xxxHolic by CLAMP. It sounds x-rated, but isn't. I suspect that maybe "xxx" means something different in Japan than it does in North America. Anyway, CLAMP is an all-girl team of manga artists, who created many of the really big series like Cardcaptor Sakura (which I'm watching on YTV in it's anime incarnation as Cardcaptors). xxxHolic is about a boy who sees spirits and, in an effort to get rid of them, ends up working as an indentured servant to a woman who grants people's wishes. The main story kind of works as a frame for short stories, but it's more than just a frame. I'd read that this series was not as original or wonderful as one would hope, but I was completely enchanted. The art is beautiful and the stories enganging (if not always profound). It's published by DelRey (one of the 4 series they're launching their new manga line with), so it's a little more expensive than other manga, but still way cheap compared to North American comics (I should mention, to be fair, that many western books are in colour, while most manga is b&w). Anyway, I'll definitely be getting further volumes of this, and I'll also pick up the other CLAMP series DelRey's publishing. And look for some of their other work, too (time to head back to the library, I guess, though I was only there yesterday).
  3. Neon Genesis Evangelion volume 3 by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. Big robots aren't really my thing, though I did adore both The Transformers and Robotech. It's a good thing, then, that this series is really more about the main character and his outlook on life (rather bleak) than about giant robot combat (it does have some of that, though). I just got this book from the libary yesterday and read it last night. This morning I went to the library web site and requested volume 3. It looks like it's a 4-part series.

You'd think the library would take a hint and get more manga (and more copies of what they've got). The books just don't say on the shelves, and some of them have really long request lists. But libraries are never rich, I guess. I shouldn't complain--at least they have some manga.

50 Non-Fiction Books

And here's the list of non-fiction. Interesting to look at the patterns of my reading over the year-so-far. You can sort of see what things are fascinating me right now.
  1. Skeptics and True Believers by Chet Raymo
  2. Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer
  3. Eccentric Lives, Peculiar Notions by John Michel
  4. The Ancient Engineers by L. Sprague deCamp
  5. The New Aquarium Handbook by Ines Scheurmann
  6. Bettas by Robert J. Goldstein
  7. Galileo's Finger by Peter Atkins
  8. Under the Black Flag by David Cordingly
  9. Are Universes Thicker Than Blackberries? by Martin Gardner
  10. Generation S.L.U.T. by Marty Beckerman
  11. The Queen's Conjurer by Benjamin Wolley
  12. Voodoo Science by Robert Park
  13. The Search for the Giant Squid by Richard Ellis
  14. On Writing by Stephen King
  15. Shadows in the Sea by Thomas B. Allen
  16. A History of Pirates by Nigel Cawthorne
  17. How We Believe by Michael Shermer
  18. How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen
  19. Monsters by John Michael Greer
  20. West Coast Fossils by R. Ludvigsen and G. Beard
  21. Dinosaurs, Spitfires and Sea Dragons by Christopher McGowan
  22. The Flamingo's Smile by Stephen Jay Gould
  23. Second Act by Barbara Barrie
  24. The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan
  25. How to Create Action, Fantasy and Adventure Comics by Tom Alvarez
  26. Animal Bone Archaeology by Brian Hesse and Paula Wapnish
  27. Science Fiction Comics: The Illustrated History by Mike Benton
  28. Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life by Stephen Jay Gould
  29. Murder One: A Writer's Guide to Homicide by Mauro V. Corvasce and Joseph R. Paglino
  30. The Rat: A Perverse Miscellany (compiled) by Barbara Hodgson
  31. Seals and Sea-Lions of the World by Nigel Bonner
  32. The Neptune File by Tom Standage
  33. Phantom Islands of the Atlantic by Donald S. Johnson

Depending on how much I keep reading, I might end up dividing the fiction into YA and adult books and the non-fiction into . . . maybe science, history and misc?

50 Fiction Books

Since I seem to be reading a ridiculous amount this year (and, despite a few lags, show no signs of reducing my consumption), I've finally divided the list into 50 Fiction Books and 50 Non-Fiction Books. Plus the 50 Sequential Art Books, of course. So here's the fiction (except the ones new to the list, which'll be in a separate post).
  1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume 2 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  2. Timeline by Michael Crichton
  3. The Stone Circle by Gary Goshgarian
  4. Contact by Carl Sagan
  5. The Guizer by Alan Garner
  6. Lucinda's Secret by Holly Black. (Spiderwick Chronicles Book 3) Illos by Tony diTerlizzi.
  7. Shades of Dracula by Bram Stoker (ed. Peter Haining)
  8. The Dark Place by Aaron Elkins
  9. Old Bones by Aaron Elkins
  10. Skeleton Dance by Aaron Elkins
  11. Murder in the Queen's Armes by Aaron Elkins
  12. Briar Rose by Robert Coover
  13. The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde
  14. Icy Clutches by Aaron Elkins
  15. Child of Faerie, Child of Earth by Josepha Sherman
  16. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  17. The Death of an Ardent Bibliophile by Bartholomew Gill
  18. Thirteenth Night by Alan Gordon
  19. The Gathering Dark by Christopher Golden
  20. I Was a Rat by Philip Pullman
  21. The Mermaid's Three Wisdoms by Jane Yolen
  22. Hob and the Goblins by William Mayne
  23. Elfsong by Ann Turner
  24. Jester Leaps In by Alan Gordon
  25. A Glancing Light by Aaron Elkins

Now I've got to get back to my League of Extraordinary Gentlemen reading. Just a few more libary books to go, though . . .

New Fey

Page 8 is now up. This time I think I made the text boxes too big. Sigh. Almost makes me want to go back to hand-lettering. But not quite.

This is one of my favourite pages, despite the somewhat wonky wagon, the somewhat improbable boat, and the somewhat dubious arch of the bridge. (Maybe no one would notice these things if I didn't point them out. I did fix them a little from the original drawings, but not as much as I should have.) That winged girly fairy in the middle will become part of the webpage layout, eventually. Only better, and probably in colour (secretly, I've been thinking t-shirts, too).

09 July 2004

Anal, I

I used to explain to people that I was only so organized because I was overcompensating for being disorganized. The only way for me to avoid complete and utter diarray, I'd say, was to be super-organized. Actually, I'm not really super-organized. And anyway, I was wrong.

Last weekend, we went to my aunt's new house to celebrate various birthdays, retirements and movings. The younger kids (nephew, niece, and cousin's offspring) had a bunch of toys out, and I got interested in the little plastic dinousaurs (complete with little plastic cavemen). After a few minutes my cousin and my sister began to laugh at me. I'd scooped up all the dinosaurs onto the lid of a plastic container, and had sorted them by type (and colour too, I think). "I just wanted to see how many different kinds there were," I protested. But looking at the neat array of dinosaur species in my lap, I had to admit I'm maybe a little anal. (And I also remembered the time I was eating M&Ms during a break in class once, not so long ago. The prof and several classmates made comment on the fact that I'd sorted them all by colour and had arranged them in long lines--each line a colour--on the desk. Arranged, that is, according to the spectrum of visible light. Somebody said something about indications of mental state . . . )

02 July 2004

22/50 Sequential Art Books and More

I finally decided to stop waiting for manga and other graphic novels to be in at the library, and to request them instead. That's probably a good thing, as I checked to see where I am for Ranma 1/2 and I'm number 14 on the list. That's 13 other people before me who want to read this book. I may have to wait a while for it.

  1. The New Adventures of Abraham Lincoln by Scott McCloud. I came across this by accident and, since I like McCloud's non-fiction, I decided to give it a try. The illustration is all done on a computer--I can't remember the date, but it's fairly early for this kind of work. It means that the graphics are a bit odd. There are flat comic characters running around in 3-D cg backgrounds. Some of those backgrounds are photographic or nearly so, while others look like something from an old (or low-budget) adventure game. It's an interesting artifact in terms of the use of computers in comics. As for the story, it's really good! I don't think I can really describe it without giving too much away, but it's funny and very pointed. It would not be inappropriate reading for today's political climate in the US. I've definitely got to find more of McCloud's work (back to the library web page for me . . .).
  2. Parasyte volume 1 by Hitusi Iwaaki. I got this one because it was one of the few series our library branch actually seemed to have on the shelves. It turned out to be an interesting (and rather bizarre) horror comic. It's got some gore--some pretty graphic gore--but not a lot, really, and the story focuses more on how the main character copes than on the gross stuff. I've already got volume 2 on my request list at the library.
  3. Neon Genesis Evangelion volume 1 by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. Another one I got just because the library had it. I've heard of Neon Genesis Evangelion, of course, but never felt moved to seek it out. It's pretty good, though. Giant robots and all, but the characters are the focus. According to one of the blurbs, this manga is kind of a re-imagining of the anime--not so much a different story as the same story from a somewhat different perspective. I haven't seen the anime, though, so I can't comment. I've requested volume 2 from the library; I hope the focus stays on the characters. If it does, I'll keep reading until the library runs out of volumes.

So, no new InuYasha yet, or any of the other titles I mentioned last time. But tomorrow's Free Comic Book Day! No doubt I'll buy a few books while I'm in the shops getting my free ones. We're going down to Victoria, where there are 5 comic shops (3 of them in the same downtown block). We might not get to all of them (it's almost certain we'll skip the Hillside store of Curious Comics), but we'll see what damage we can do. And if we aren't all cranky and unsocial by the time we get back up to Duncan, we'll hit the local store, too. Woo hoo! many, many comics! Many comics free!

Well Past 50 Books

I have a strange assortment of books from the library right now. Then again, I own a strange assortment of books.

  1. Jester Leaps In by Alan Gordon. This is the sequel to Thirteenth Night, which I blogged earlier. Jester Leaps In is the one I was browsing while waiting for Sue, which got me hooked. There are at least two more in this very literate medieval mystery series. I will be reading them.
  2. Phantom Islands of the Atlantic by Donald S. Johnson. One of my favourite things to do at the library is to wander the stacks randomly, pulling interesting-looking books, or books with curious titles, off the shelf from time to time. This book is the result of one such ramble. It's part folklore, part history of exploration. And it has cool maps. (And it made me decide to change the title of Vinland Stories again, to Frisland Stories--but more on that in a future post.) Rowena would like this book, I think.
  3. A Glancing Light by Aaron Elkins. This is the author who created Gideon Oliver, the physical anthropologist who kept getting mixed up in murder investigations. Those books were extremely addictive. From the way I devoured Glancing Light, it looks like the books about Chris Norgren, art historian and specialist on Renaissance and Baroque paintings, are also going to be addictive.

That's it for fiction. I'm plowing through two very dense but good fantasies right now (details on why two at once when I get to them in the list). Oh, and I also read an edition of In Fairyland--this is a children's book which originally had paintings by Richard "Dicky" Doyle (Sir Arthur Conan's uncle--I've blogged about him before) coupled with dubious poetry by William Allingham (and originally called In Fairy Land, possibly with a hyphen). Anyway, not too long after it was published, Andrew Land decided to write a children's story to go with the pictures (Allingham's poetry didn't; it was just fairy-related), and re-publish it. So he did. Like most Victorian children's literature the story, "Princess Nobody," is condecendingly written and far too precious. At heart, it's a nice literary fairy tale, but Lang felt it necessary to explain what was going on in the pictures (and sometimes the connection between text and art was pretty thin). Good picture books should have the words and pictures work together, both adding to the story without either having to directly reference the other. But I digress. The pictures were lovely, though very, very Victorian. The text was not up to Lang's capabilities.

New Page of Fey

Yup, it's up: page 7. Which means I've really, truly switched to posting new pages on Friday. Now I just have to get a few weeks ahead. I've had it pretty easy with Part 1--essentially, I'm redrawing stuff I'd already done to put in wider gutters, do the lettering on the computer, and fix the worst cringe-inducing panels. With Part 2, I'll be drawing from scratch (I do have thumbnails for most of Part 2, but still . . .). Yikes!