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).

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