12 August 2004

(a lot of) Sequential Art Reading

My graphic novel reading, on the other hand, has not slowed down at all. Woo hoo! Bring it on! More manga! More comics! More sequential art! ('kay, I need to make a trip to the comic shop.)
  1. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes. A well-depicted story of teenage life, basically. Actually, the characters reminded me quite a lot of people I knew (and maybe myself, a little, if I'd been bolder). Solid art, solid story, though neither really blew me away (I think that's getting harder to do). Oh yeah, and it got made into a movie (which I have not seen).
  2. Neon Genesis Evangelion volume 3 by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. I have the sneaking suspicion that this series is more than four volumes, and the library only has the first four. Grrr.
  3. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind volume 1 by Hayao Miyazaki. Holy crap! This is another one of those books I've been meaning to read for ages. And wow! There is good reason this is a well-loved classic. It's a gorgeous story with gorgeous art (both to be expected, I suppose, from the person who brought the world Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and My Neighbour Totoro (among other wonderful animated films). I already know this will be one of those books I'll treasure and re-read regularly (like a pilgimage, only without the long journey, deprivation and climbing mountains on one's knees). Erm. Anyway, it's fantasy at heart, I think, though it has a post-apocalyptic setting and science fiction elements. There are strong mythic undercurrents, too. It's been printed in sepia-coloured ink, rather than black, which really suits the feel of the book, and the publishers left in the Japanese sound effects--instead of translating them on the page, there's a glossary at the back. It makes for somewhat awkward reading, but it works really well visually (a lot of manga use sound effects that are as effective visually as the are "aurally"). Anyway, this is an absolute must read. So say I. Yup.
  4. Maison Ikkoku volume 1 by Rumiko Takahashi. Before she created the delightful InuYasha, Takahashi did a bunch of other stuff, including this story of the inhabitants of a boarding house. There's a lot of slapstick and other silly humour, but it's balanced with more serious relationship elements, making it a satisfying read. The art is a little cruder that Takahashi's more recent stuff, but still competent and occasionally very very good.
  5. Legend of Chun Hyang by CLAMP. More CLAMP! It seems like every time I do a run-down of my latest graphic novel reading, there's at least one title by CLAMP. Anyway, this is a fun re-write of a Chinese legend about a woman and her true love. CLAMP's version has lots of kick-ass martial arts and magic thrown in for a delicious blend of myth and make-believe. Plus, it's got a dragon. A really beautiful dragon.
  6. Parasyte volume 6 by Hitosi Iwaaki.
  7. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. This was the book everyone (including non-comics people) was talking about . . . last year? The year before? Anyway, it created quite a stir, being the autobiographical story of a teenager growing up in Iran. The art is simple and elegant, and the characters are well-depicted. Lots of people compared this to Maus (inevitable given the subject matter). I have to admit that I was reminded of Maus, too. Both the art and the writing of the two books created a similar emotional response for me. Both books are excellent examples of the things comics can do with non-fiction and biography/autobiography. Read this if you're interested in world politics, even if you don't like comics.
  8. Palestine by Joe Sacco. More comics for the politically conscious (which I'm not, really, or not as much as I should be, but if I keep reading books like this maybe I soon will be). This one's also autobiographical, and is about Sacco's trip to the Gaza strip. The art is quite cartoony, but also very detailed, and really captured the character of the different people. Definitely something for those people who think comics must be kids' stories about overmuscled men in spandex to read (what a ghastly sentence!). And it's even got an introduction by Edward Said.
  9. xxxHolic volume 2 by CLAMP. More CLAMP! Ghost stories! Beautiful art! Yay!
  10. Lone Wolf & Cub volume 2 by Kazuo Koike. I like the way this series is structured as short stories. I do hope an underlying narrative thread will emerge, though. I think I may have detected one, but I'll have to read more volumes (and there are a lot more to go).
  11. Electric Girl volume 2 by Michael Brennan. Here's another case of reading volume 2 before volume 1. I'd have requested volume 1, but the library doesn't actually seem to own a copy. Luckily, this book is lots of short pieces, not necessarily in chronological order, so I didn't feel too adrift by starting partway through. I expect there may have been more depth to the stories if I had begun at the beginning, but oh well. This is the kind of book I'd give my niece to read (after enjoying a whole lot myself) (except I forgot to ask her if she wanted to read it before I took it back to the library). It's about a girl with some kind of electical powers and her meddling gremlin friend who only she can see. She gets into and out of trouble, saves a few lives and such. Nice, simple art and nice, simple stories make for a nice, enjoyable read. (Yes, I said "nice" way too many times. It's a character flaw.)
  12. Neon Genesis Evangelion volume 4 by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. Well, I've read all the volumes the libary has, and the story shows no signs of having finished. In fact, a new character was introduced (wait, no, TWO new characters were introduced). I may actually have to track down my own copies of the rest of this series so I can find out what happens. eBay, here I come (eek! that can be dangerous).
  13. Parasyte volume 7 by Hitosi Iwaaki. I think someone else is requesting these from the library just before I do. Interesting . . .

Not exactly comics, but I recently watched the first five episodes of Witch Hunter Robin (anime, my other addiction). It didn't affect me as strongly as Wolf's Rain did, but it was still a really good story that seems to be hinting and deeper and darker things to come. Time to go search out volume two with the next five episodes . . .

Edit: Just noticed I reached exactly 50. So now lets see how many I can read by the end of the year (anyone wanna place bets?).

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