31 December 2004

Fey New Year

Page 25 (aka part 2, page 3) is up. Happy New Year! (Almost.)

Not very many words this time (two, actually). Just a big splash page. With nudity (artfully covered). If you're homophobic, you don't want to look at this page. Then again, if you're homophobic, what are you doing reading my comic in the first place? Or even associating with me? Go away.

I'm now two weeks behind on drawing this comic. My eight-week lead has shrunk to six, and may shrink even more before the weekend is over. But I may have come up with a way to catch up by the end of next weekend. Maybe. It's not that I have to be eight weeks ahead, it's just that if I am, I don't have to worry about getting behind for real. So I have to try to get some drawing in today. Though I'm also itching to get back to work on White Foxes (after a veeerrry long break), and the Friesland Stories (formerly known as the Vinland Stories, formerly known as the Cobbleshore Stories). And then there's Three Sisters. I haven't felt this anxious about not working on fiction in a while. I'm even thinking of postponing applying (or even not applying at all!) to NSCAD so I can get more writing out of the way first.

Missed One

At Value Village I also got a copy of Tom Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

30 December 2004

Major Book Score(s)

This past week or two has been really good for book acquisition. First, Sue and I dropped in at the local Salvation Army to look for cheap stuffies for the dogs, and I picked up three books (actually, I got more, but only three were for me):
  • Wolf's Brother, a novel by Megan Lindholm. It's the sequel to The Reindeer People which I think I read ages ago.
  • Dinosaur Lives, non-fiction by John R. Horner and Edwin Hobb. I'm on a bit of a dinosaur thing lately. This one had a green price tag, which turned out to mean it was 50% off. Woo hoo!
  • Into Print: Guides to the Writing Life. Something to review for work.

Then came Christmas. This year was big on dvds, and not so good for books, but I did get some tasty ones:
  • The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket. Selena gave me this one, which was the one book of the series I was missing. Yay!
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events blank book. This one was also from Selena. Since I don't have a daily-calendar-type journal this year, I think I'll use this to record what I read each day and make notes on things to read in the future.
  • Dragonology, Dugald A. Steer (ed). This is a really cool "if dragons were real" type book, with things in envelopes, skin "samples" and other neat stuff. It was from Sue.
  • Gypsies and Fairies: Evidence for a Theory by Robert Dawson. Also from Sue, this is a slight monograph hypothesizing that many fairy sightings were really Gypsies. It looks like the fellow has tried to use statistics in some way, which is a little dubious, given the type of data, but I'll wait till I've read it to say anything else. There should be some interesting information in it, though.

I also got some Bolen Books gift certificates, which I shall come to in a moment.

Then, Mum and Gramma and Sue and I ventured up to Nanaimo, to hit Value Village. It's been a while since the four of us made the trek. There is a dollar store in the same mall, so we went there first, and--lo and behold--there were books. Dollar store books are usually not worth even looking at, but this store appeared to have acquired some remainders from somewhere. There were many tempting ones, but I settled on four:
  • Pure Dead Magic by Debi Gliori, a YA novel billed as "Harry Potter meets Lemony Snicket in a high-tech setting." I'm a little dubious about that, but it sounds like fun, anyway.
  • The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter. Carter's The Bloody Chamber is one of my desert island books, so I had to have this one.
  • The Double Helix by James D. Watson. "A personal account of the discovery of the structure of DNA." How cool. I am such a geek.
  • Dragon Hunter by Charles Gallenkamp. This one's an account of Roy Chapman Andrews' fossil-hunting expeditions in the Gobi Desert. Dinosaurs are cool. Have I mentioned that?

Then it was on to Value Village. It was Tuesday, so it was seniors' discount day. Mum's over 60 now, so we get her to buy our stuff so we can have 30% off. I found quite a few things (all books, though):
  • The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I've read the Sherlock Holmes canon; time for Proffesor Challenger.
  • Masterpieces of Horror, edited by Rosamund Morris. This is an anthology of short fiction by the likes of the aforementioned Doyle, Ambrose Bierce, Poe, Dunsany, and various others. Should be good, spooky reading.
  • The Eerie Book. Another anthology of short fiction and excerpts from similar authors as the above.
  • Chocolat by Joanne Harris. I saw the movie and quite liked it, so I figure the book is probably worth a read. Since books are usually better than their movies, I expect I'll like this, too.
  • The Land of the Rising Yen by George Mikes. This one is about the less written-of aspects of Japanese culture (or at least it sounds like it from the back cover blurb). If nothing else, it should help me get more of the background stuff in manga and anime.
  • The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim. This is a classic on the functions of folklore, both lauded and criticized. It's probably about time I read it.
  • Evolution: The History of an Idea (revised edition) by Peter J. Bowler. Evolution is one of those things we should probably all understand a little better than we do. This was published in 1989, so it won't have any recent stuff, but it should still be good.
  • Dinosaur Safari Guide: Tracking North America's Prehistoric Past by Vincenzo Costa. More dinosaurs! This one's a guide to sites and exhibits on this continent.
  • Jacques Cousteau by Lesley A. DuTemple. This one has the logos of both A&E and Biography on the cover. Jacques Cousteau was my hero for a long time when I was a kid. I was going to be a marine biologist, and I used to watch Cousteau's tv specials all the time. I still have the few volumes of his book series that I collected back then.

Phew! And I'm not done yet. After Value Village, we decided to have lunch and then make a quick trip to the nearby Salvation Army. They used to have really cheap books--like "fill a grocery bag for two bucks" cheap. They're not so cheap now--$1 for paperbacks and $2 for hardcovers--but still reasonable. And "paperback" means anything in soft covers, so even huge paperbacks are only $1. There wasn't a big selection, but I scored some writing books:
  • Three Genres: The Writing of Poetry, Fiction, and Drama by Stephen Minot. I used to have a copy of this, but gave it to an ex-boyfriend (and almost immediately regretted doing so). I'm pleased to have a copy again.
  • Eudora Welty: One Writer's Beginnings
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I keep hearing good things about this one.
  • The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach. I noticed this one because the title is the same as Robin Skelton's excellent out-of-print how-to-write-poetry book. Not the same book, but it looks like it should be good.
  • Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Not a writing book, obviously, but a good thing to have a copy of.

Now back to those Bolen Books gift certificates. I got one from Dad and one from Jay and the kids, which added to up to a nice fat amount. Alas that books are so expensive new. Anyway, we drove down to Victoria today and wandered around Bolen Books, trying to decide what to buy. It was really, really hard. As usual, I had to put several things back, and still went over my gift certificate total. Here's what I finally settled on:
  • Sunshine by Robin McKinley. She's one of my all-time favourite writers, and has been for a very long time. The only book of hers I'm missing now is Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits, which she wrote with Peter Dickinson.
  • Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black. I was actually looking for the last two Spiderwick Chronicles books, but decided to get this one instead, to leave more money for other books. It looks tasty, though. Very.
  • Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle volume 1, by CLAMP. Bolens has a small manga section now. Not really much in it that I needed, but they did have the first three volumes of this series. Selena got it, too. (My world-domination-by-manga-and-anime plan proceeds . . .)
  • The Pirate Queen: In Search of Grace O'Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea by Barbara Sjoholm. I've said it before: pirates are cool. Especially women pirates.
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing: 2004 edited by Steven Pinker. There were sooo many interesting science books, this seemed like a good way to get a taste of many writers. Plus, I read a good review of it in Skeptical Inquirer.

There were many good books I had to leave behind, including those two Spiderwick books I mentioned (and I didn't even look that closely at the YA section, because I knew I'd find too many). I almost got a book on James Watt and the invention of the steam engine. There were a couple of books on the prehistory of Britain that I almost got, plus a whole lot of fiction (and all those great science books). I didn't even look in most of the sections. It's always so hard to choose just a few books, but I'm happy with what I did choose. And added to my thrift shop bonanza, I'm very book happy this holiday.

29 December 2004

More Reading

In which I make it to the 50 novels mark and beyond, and discover just how much manga I've crammed into my brain lately.


Fiction:


  1. The Bloody Red Baron by Kim Newman. This is the sequel to Anno-Dracula, and is basically more of the same: a solid steampunk vampire novel that continues from the question "What if van Helsing et al hadn't killed Dracula? This time, the focus is on World War I, in which Dracula has made himself a major figure. There are other characters from the previous book, but the main character is new, and the plot focuses on his determination to take out Manfred von Richthofen (aka The Red Baron). I think this book is somewhat better written than its predecessor. It was a fun read, anyway.
  2. Threshold by Caitlín R. Kiernan. Once upon a time, I had a gift
    certificate to Bolen Books, and wandered about in the store trying to decide what to buy. In the end, it came down to a tossup between Threshold and China Miéville's Perdido Street Station. For whatever reason, I decided to go with Perdido. I think I thought the store would have fewer copies, and that Threshold would still be there the next time I went in (why I thought this, I have no idea). Anyway, next time I was there, there were plenty of copies of Perdido on the shelf, and not a single one of Threshold. Sigh. I finally got a copy on eBay. And now I've read it. And it was really, really good. The writing was amazing--a nice combination of literary and readable (actually, I think good literature should always be readable, but not everyone seems to agree). The story was dark and spooky and . . . addictive, perhaps. You know, the old "I couldn't put it down." I think I am in love with this writing, and intend to find more of Kiernan's work at the soonest opportunity. The funny thing is, I've read her comics work, and I read her blog nearly every day, but it's taken me this long to read her fiction. Perhaps there is some malfunction in my brain?
  3. The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket. Here's another book that's more of the same, only better. Snicket's books keep getting longer, but they are also fuller. Richer? Anyway, it saddens me to think that many adults will miss out on this series because they don't read kids' fiction, and that even many of those who do will likely give up after the first couple of volume because the series comes across as quite repetitive at first. On the other hand, it fills me with glee to think I've read something secret. (Well, okay, it's a hugely popular series, so I'm really only deluding myself, but what the hell.)

I'm rather pleased that Threshold is number 50. It seems appropriate that a book that had such an effect on me (even to the point of making me feel more positive about my own writing and making me want to get back at it more seriously) should occupy this prominent position. I made it to 50, and 50 is Threshold (or whatever).


Sequential Art:


I made it to blogging this before it got too out of hand, so the list won't be quite as monumental as usual. I think I do need to get some more Western comics back into my diet. You know, to balance things out.


  1. Lone Wolf and Cub: Cloud Dragon, Wind Tiger (volume 7) by Kazue Koike and Goseki Kojima.
  2. Ranma 1/2 volume 2 by Rumiko Takahashi.
  3. Ranma 1/2 volume 3 by Rumiko Takahashi.
  4. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind volume 4 by Hayao Miyazaki. Woo hoo! The comic shops (two different ones) kept not having this volume in, and then when I was supposed to be doing some last-minute holiday shopping, I found it. Yay!
  5. Prétear volume 1 by Kaori Naruse. I wasn't expecting much of this book--it's just too pretty and pink--but I found myself liking it quite a lot. And anyway, a book that uses fairytale motifs can't be all bad, can it? This is a Snow White retelling (well, sort of), though it reads more like Cinderella at first, with a stepmother and mean stepsisters. But there are seven dwarfs, except they're not dwarfs, they're pretty boy knights of various ages. I will be looking for volume two (I do kind of wish the author hadn't made the Snow White connection explicit by putting it in the subtitle, though--I like to figure these things out for myself).
  6. Kwaïdan by Jung and Jee-Yun. I picked this up on a whim when it was one sale, because it has such a gorgeous cover. Well, the gorgeous art continues throughout, in full colour, no less (manga is usually black and white, sometimes with a few colour pages at the beginning). The story was a haunting ghost story and love story, with love spanning ages, etc, etc. There's some cool fight action, too, and some really creepy child ghosts. The only real complaint I had was that the nice thick stock that the pages were printed on--while it looked great--made the pages hard to turn (yeah, pout pout). It's nice, sometimes, to have graphic novel that stands alone and isn't part of an endless series.
  7. Stone volume 1 by Hiromoto-Sin-Ichi. Here's another one I wasn't expecting much from. The art really isn't very good--there's some nice background stuff like buildings and machinery, but the people are mostly pretty amateurish. The story sounded like fairly standard fare. But when I read it, I was much more involved than I thought I would be. I still wouldn't call it great, but it's probably worth another look--at least if I can get the next volume cheap or borrow it.

I probably won't read any more fiction until the new year (I'll start with Perdido Street Station, which I still haven't read). I have a couple of non-fiction library books to get out of the way, and then some non-fiction things-to-review. Yup.

25 December 2004

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

And I'm the only one stirring. Darwin is flaked out on the floor, playing dog-rug, and Bast is a small, fuzzy ball on the couch. Even Usagi Inu-Yasha (that is, Inu-Yasha the Rabbit) is asleep on top of his nest box.

Between episodes of Blue Seed, an anime we rented in our last batch of movies, I'm getting a head start on the various holiday food I'm responsible for, and finishing up decorating the presents for Selena and Ryan ('Lena's is a little more complicated, involving scavenger hunt-ish clues). I am now getting close to being two pages behind where I want to be on Fey (which still leaves me six pages ahead of the current page, fortunately--or it would if PhotoShop would work like it's supposed to and not freeze so often).

Now back to cooking rice and decorating.

24 December 2004

New Fey for Christmas

Or Christmas Eve, anyway. Here's page 24 (part 2, page 2).

20 December 2004

Movie Watching

At long last last, after months of saying "We should rent videos more often," Sue and I went to Rogers and rented a whole pile of DVDs. With Selena and I both there, we ended up with quite a few anime discs. Last night's movie was Hero. I really wanted to see it in the theatre, but somehow it never happened (one problem was, I think, that none of the nearby theatres showed it--or at least not for long enough that I was able to organize myself and go see it). Hero has to be one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen. The visuals are absolutely stunning. The story is good, too, of course, and the martial arts are very cool, but it's the visuals that will stick. This is one I'm going to have to own my own copy of (erg, that was an awkward sentence). If you've not seen it yet, do. It's amazing. Just don't expect a happy ending.

19 December 2004

A Domain of My Own

I finally got around to registering my own domain (Sue found a good place for cheap webspace like a month ago). It's just parked right now, as I try to come up with a design for the main page, but www.whiteravenarts.com is all mine! I'll be transferring all my old stuff over from Geocities and doing a big redesign and edit.

Books! (Recent Reading)

Er . . . I know I said I'd returned to my usual breakneck pace of reading, but actually, I don't seem to have. Quite. Anyway, here are the things I've read recently-ish.

Fiction:

  1. Science Fiction by Gaslight edited by Sam Moskowitz. The lengthy subtitle of this book is "A History and Anthology of Science Fiction in the Popular Magazines, 1891-1911," which landed it in the non-fiction section of the library. It really only has a longish essay on the history of SF in the magazines, and the bulk of the book is anthology. Anyone at all interested in SF history ought to have a look at this. All but three of the authors (Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and William Hope Hodgson) were people I'd never heard of, who presumably dissapeared into the ranks of the unknown. Some of the stories were quite good, though (the Wells was the best), and even the ones that weren't had a definite retro appeal. It was a lot of fun to read this book. Here's a line from one of the humour stories ("An Experiment in Gyro-Hat" by Ellis Parker Butler):
    When a shoe is on, it is full of foot, and when a glove is on, it is full of hand; but a top hat is not, and never can be, full of head . . .
    It made me laugh.
  2. In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches. I picked this up because I'm a sucker for fiction about books, even though such fiction is often disappointing. I almost didn't read past the first chapter. The writing was very, very good, but the character in that chapter so turned me off I didn't really want to read about him anymore. But, the writing really was good, so I made myself try reading some more. Thankfully, the character from the first chapter wasn't the main character. And it turned out to be a really wonderful book, even though I'm a little dubious about novels in which the author names the main character after themself. I don't know why, really. I guess I don't really see the point.


Non-Fiction:

  1. Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay. Wow, what a fascinating book! Part travel narrative, part historic scavenger hunt, and very well written. Colour really is an interesting thing. This book focusses mostly on dyes and paints, where they came from, and how artists obtained and prepared them through history. But it's also about the author's travels around the world and the people and places she encountered while searching for those paints and dyes. This is one I'll want to read again.

Plus, I also read a book called Japanese Comickers, but I'm not including it on the list because it didn't have all that much text--just lots of gorgeous pictures and some how-to info on the processes of each artist (though in most cases, not enough info to actually try it for yourself, unless you're already familiar with the techniques and software).

Sequential Art:

  1. Lone Wolf and Cub: Black Wind (volume 5) by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima.
  2. Ragnarök volume 7 by Myung-Jin Lee.
  3. Ragnarök volume 8 by Myung-Jin Lee.
  4. Ragnarök volume 9 by Myung-Jin Lee.
  5. Between the Sheets by Erica Sakurazawa. This is sort of the manga equivalent of a literary short story. It's about two women--best friends--and their love lives. One of the friends falls in love with (or becomes obsessed with) the other. The art has a sketchy feel that suits the story. I don't think this book worked quite as well as it could have, but it was generally well-handled, and enough to make me look for more from Ms Sakurazawa. Also, it's a nice change from all the fantasy manga I've been reading lately.
  6. Ragnarök volume 10 by Myung-Jin Lee. So, this was the last of the volumes of this that I got in my cheap eBay lot, and I still can't decide if I'll keep reading. I probably won't pay full price--it just wasn't that good--but if I find another batch on eBay, I may pick it up. The art's pretty nice (and I like the switch to less-revealing but still very cool costumes). I'm not sure it really needed three volumes (that's volumes, not chapters) to get through one battle, but maybe I just wasn't as into the characters as I was meant to be.
  7. InuYasha volume 19 by Rumiko Takahashi. I don't know when volume 20 is due out, but I want it now. I'm totally, completely hooked.
  8. Lone Wolf and Cub: Lanterns for the Dead (volume 6) by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima.
  9. Trigun volume 1 by Yasuhiro Nightow. Old west meets the space age, and lots of tongue-in-cheek to go along with the action. The main character, Vash the Stampede, is a pacifist gunslinger who won't actually kill anyone, but always seems to end up making a big mess. Which is never his fault. I put off reading this because it's so hugely popular (see my blurb about Hellsing, somewhere back there, for more about this), but I'm glad I did get to it. It's not exactly a serious piece of fiction, but it's fun and stylish, and I'll be hunting up volume 2.
  10. Priest volume 1 by Min-Woo Hyung. I'm not really sure what made me bid on this (and on volume 8) on eBay. It looked kind of cool, I guess. Anyway, I really like it. It reminds me of Hellsing, except with undead minions of evil instead of vampires (oh, wait . . . ) and with a possessed priest instead of a super-vampire working for the good guys. Plus, it's set in the old west. The art is really gorgeous (if you can call blood and gore and ugly demon-things gorgeous) and stylish. The story has enough mystery to keep the reader engrossed. I'll be looking for volume 2 for sure.
  11. Maison Ikkoku: The Hounds of War (volume 12) by Rumiko Takahashi. I think the end is drawing near. The was less slapstick and more seriousness, but all the charm. The library better have the next volume or I shall be very, very cross.
  12. Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom (volume 3) by Ted Naifeh. A new Courtney Crumrin book is a cause for celebration around here. Naifeh does marvelous drawings and he writes really well, too. This is an all-ages book that really does have something for all ages (and all genders, too). Probably, if I had to pick one series I wish I'd created myself it would be this one (it even wins out over Sandman, another bigtime huge fave of mine). Go look at Naifeh's website. Be amazed. Read Courtney Crumrin.

Phew! Now it's on to more Lone Wolf, and some vampire steampunk fiction.

17 December 2004

Fey Friday

So it's Friday again, and that means another page of Fey. The "Fleeing Arcadia" short finished up last week, so it's back to the main storyline ("Drawing Borders"). Here's the latest, page 23 (that's page 1 of part 2, for those of you who notice these things). I'm still not as caught up as I should be--I have finished drawing everything up to last Friday's work, but still have six pages to PhotoShop (they're scanned, but need to be pieced back together and have text added). Plus, I have the part two cover to colour and assemble. I sort of forgot about it. And I have the page I was meant to draw today to do. And I just got back from Victoria and am very weary. It might just have to wait until tomorrow.

12 December 2004

I'm Late, I'm Late

The final page of Fey: "Fleeing Arcadia" is now up: page 8, a day late due to unexpected busyness. It shall not happen again. Next week, it's back to "Drawing Borders" with the first page of part 2.

07 December 2004

Recent Sequential Art Reading

As usual lately, there is a lot of manga (and some manwha) in my comics reading. I think it's partly due to the fact that manga is just cheaper--often half the price per volume, and with a higher page count. It also seems more readily available cheap on eBay (which is mostly where I get the stuff I can't get at the library).

  1. Blade of the Immortal: Blood of a Thousand (volume 1) by Hiroaki Samura. Samurai action! Sometimes cool swordplay and ancient world settings just aren't enough. This one, though, also has gorgeous art, interesting characters and involving plots. There's plenty of violence and swordplay, but they seem to exist mostly to serve the story, rather than the story being the thin excuse for action (as seems to be the case in a lot of martial arts comics I've read).
  2. xxxHolic volume 3 by CLAMP. I've decided that "xxxHolic" means "alcoholic," with reference to the "xxx" cartoonists used to put on a jug to show it was full of moonshine. Okay, that's probably not it at all, but I don't know what the title means (only that it's not xxx as in pornographic), and one of the principal characters does drink an awful lot (it's commented upon by the main character on several occasions). Anyway, more CLAMP enchantment. I'll be reading this series for as long as it stays good.
  3. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing volume 1 by Hajime Yodate and Yoshiyuki Tomino, art by Koichi Tokita. See this post.
  4. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing volume 2 by Hajime Yodate and Yoshiyuki Tomino, art by Koichi Tokita.
  5. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing volume 3 by Hajime Yodate and Yoshiyuki Tomino, art by Koichi Tokita.
  6. Rising Stars of Manga by various. When I first flipped through this volume, the art looked pretty uneven in quality, but I thought I'd give it a try anyway. Reading it, though, I discovered that, for the most part, the art styles fit very well with the individual stories, and I was pleasantly surprised that the stories were quite good. Most of them fell a little short of professional quality, but not by much. Over all, this was a very enjoyable anthology. I probably won't buy it, or any of the later ones, but I will look for them at the library. The only really disappointing thing is that the Rising Stars of Manga contest is only open to US residents (though Tokyopop does take regular submissions from elsewhere).
  7. Wish volume 1 by CLAMP. It's getting harder and harder to say anything new about CLAMP books. Not that they're all the same--this team of artists comes up with some pretty cool ideas. I guess it's just that a CLAMP book is so recognizable as their work. And they all seem to have some combination of cute and beautiful in the art, and funny and romantic in the stories. And they mostly are able to transcend whatever you'd expect cute + beautiful + funny + romantic to equal, resulting in stories of depth about interesting characters (the only possible exception to this that I've encountered so far is CLAMP School Detectives, which was okay, but didn't really capture me the way their other books have--then again, I've only read two of the three volumes).
  8. Vögelein: Clockwork Faerie by Jane Irwin. Hey look, it's not manga! This is a lovely folklore meets clockwork story about a little clockwork fairy whose latest protector has died. She can't quite go off on her own, since she needs someone to wind her up every day, so she sets out to find a new protector. Along the way, she meets a real fairy. The fully-painted artwork is mostly very nice (there's the odd bit of strange anatomy and the like), though I wondered if it was originally painted in colour--the greyscale repro is okay, but sometimes looks dark and murky. The story is absolutely enchanting, and I love a tale that works in words from other languages (in this case German, and maybe a bit of Romany, but I can't remember and I'm too lazy to go look). This book was originally printed as a 5-issue mini-series, so I think this is the whole story. But even if there's to be no more Vögelein, I'll still be watching to see what else Ms Irwin does.
  9. Rumic Theater: One or Double by Rumiko Takahashi. Rumiko Takahashi is kind of like CLAMP, in a way, except there's only one of her. What I mean is that a bunch of ingredients that one wouldn't normally expect to amount to much (in Ms Takahashi's case, that's usually situational humour and long-drawn-out romance) result in a really good read. This book is a collection of short stories, all very similar in feel, but all very enjoyable. I think I will read anything Ms Takahashi writes or draws.
  10. The Ice King of Oz by Eric Shanower. This is some of the earlier (1980s, I think) work by the man who brought us Age of Bronze (a brilliant graphic novel retelling of the seige of Troy and the events leading up to it). As you probably guessed, it continues L. Frank Baum's Oz stories. This is the third Oz book that Shanower did, and the only one I've read. I was never a huge fan of Oz, proabably because I just never picked them up, but I do have fond memories of the movie, and there was one of the books I really, really liked (I can't remember which, now). I've always meant to go back and read them all in order, but haven't got to it yet (anyone have a set of Oz books they don't want anymore?). But anyway. This is a very short, but beautifully drawn and written story where Dorothy et al venture to the land of the Ice King to rescue Ozma. I especially liked Shanower's new character Flicker. If you love Oz, you really should check these books out. This one, at least, stays true to Baum's Oz (or what I remember of it, anyway).
  11. Ragnarök volume 1 by Myung-Jin Lee. It's kind of odd to see very Norse fragments of myth mixed with very Asian martial arts comic elements, but I think it works. This book has a lot of the huge sprawling imaginary world epic fantasy feel to it, which often doesn't work so well with me, but it also does have something that's kept me reading--at least for now. Perhaps it's the cool characters (though there's maybe a little too much of the boy's manga "fan service" (ie. big, scantily clad, gravity-defying boobs) for my taste), or maybe it's just fascination with the combination of Norse myth and kung fu. Anyway, I'll keep reading for now.
  12. Maison Ikkoku: Learning Curves (volume 9) by Rumiko Takahashi.
  13. Ragnarök volume 2 by Myung-Jin Lee.
  14. Lone Wolf and Cub: The Bell Warden (volume 4) by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojime.
  15. Ragnarök volume 3 by Myung-Jin Lee.
  16. Hellsing volume 1 by Kohta Hirano. I think I avoided reading this because it's super-popular and I was afraid that might mean it was mindless, violent action (those sorts of books seem to do very well). I've avoided Trigun for the same reason. Well, it does have lots of violence, but I really enjoyed this book. Cool characters, neatly plotted story, stylish art. That's why it's popular, I guess. Silly me. Now I'll have to sample Trigun, too. Volume one's already on the pile.
  17. Usagi Yojimbo volume 1 by Stan Sakai. Samurai bunny! Actually, this is more-or-less a serious samurai story where the characters happen to be anthropomorphic animals (except one bad guy, oddly enough). Somehow, the furry characters work. Perhaps they inject just enough humour to keep the seriousness from getting too heavy. I don't know, but I really liked this book (it's one I've been meaning to read for eons). As I write this somewhat belatedly, I've already signed out volume 2 from the library (and read it) and have requested--I think--volume 5 (they don't have very many of the volumes, alas).
  18. Ragnarök volume 4 by Myung-Jin Lee.
  19. Maison Ikkoku: Student Affairs volume 11 by Rumiko Takahashi. I hate having to skip volumes in a series. Stupid library. Fortunately with this series, missing a volume doesn't affect the overall story too much. It's still annoying, though.
  20. Usagi Yojimbo volume 2 by Stan Sakai.
  21. Kazan volume 1 by Gaku Miyao. I really wasn't expecting much from this book. I mean, a paid a whole dollar for it (plus shipping) from Dollar Manga, and some of the reproduction of the art is quite lousy (like there're jaggedy pages, where they did a poor job of scanning/resizing the art). The art itself is fairly average, with the odd quite good page. To my surprise, though, after a slightly confusing start, the story became quite engaging and many-layered. From this volume, anyway, it looks like the action serves the story, and not the other way around, which is good. And there's an intriguing mystery. It seems I'll have to go back to Dollar Manga to see if they have any more volumes.
  22. Ragnarök volume 5 by Myung-Jin Lee.
  23. Ragnarök volume 6 by Myung-Jin Lee.

And that pretty much brings me up to date on my latest reading. Funny how I wasn't sure I'd make it to 50 volumes of graphic novels/comics this year. Where I might fall behind now is fiction. Guess I'd better go read those novels I got from the libary. They'll want them back soon.

Blargh

I really, really hate being sick. This cold hit me really hard the first day (which was Thursday, I think), though I'm starting to feel a little better now. I actually woke up in the middle of the night breathing through my nose! I think the thing I hate most about having a cold is being forced to breathe through my mouth. It's unnatural. Anyway, my lip skin is all flaking off now (ick), but today is the first day I didn't crawl bacn into bed after taking the dogs out. I'll probably have a nap at some point, though.

03 December 2004

It's Up!

Fey: Fleeing Arcadia, page 7