Sunday, December 30, 2012

"EDEN" Volume 1 by Hiroki Endo

First off, I'll say that I find this art style interesting. The characters are not drawn as stark and gaunt as the typical manga I've read and the edges seem more rounded out. I like it. Eden, is a post-apocalyptic story about two young survivors of a plague that has wiped out the majority of the human race. The two main characters Enoah & Hannah appear immune to turning into human statues with liquefied insides. The story ends up being about the offspring of Enoah and Hannah who's name is Elijah. He roams around with a robot called Cherubim which his father got up and running in his own youth. Things get rocky when Elijah runs into a nomadic group travelling with a cybernetic pre-pubescent girl who happens to actually be 41.

I really like how all the flashback scenes are done in black background pages. It makes it really easy to tell the flashbacks from the present. I like easy. I'm kind of thick in the head. Luckily I have the second volume so I can start right back into the story any time I feel so inclined. Dunno what I'll read next though..

"Miss Don't Touch Me" Volume 2

By Hubert & Kerascoet

Well, we already know how much I love the French art in the first Volume. This one is done by the exact same team. So lets skip right to the story-

In Volume 2, Blanche is still living in the Pompadour Brothel as the main attraction, a virgin dominatrix. However, she immediately tries to get out of the lifestyle only to receive a large bill from the Brothel of over priced soap and utilities that's she's used since her stay. At any rate, it's all too much for her to ever be able leave. Hope seeps in as she has a new customer with a big pocket book that courts her and asks for her hand in marriage. At the Brothel, Blanche isn't getting along with any of her co-workers and ends up drugged and framed by some of the less moral girls she works with. To add to it, her alcoholic mother drops in and starts a mooching process while bringing her new man Hank along for the ride. It's around this time, her beloved Antoinne goes missing. Blanche attempts to recover him dressing in mens garb she attempts to break him free of his meddling mothers bonds. I won't spoil the ending as it's particularly awesome.

I really love all the gender bending this book has to offer. From cross dressing to crazy people that think lobotomy can fix homosexuality, there's a lot of things going on  in every direction. I really wish there was a volume 3 but sadly this seems to be where the story ends. Poor Blanche.

Friday, December 28, 2012

"Who is Jake Ellis?"

Written by Nathan Edmonston
Art by Tonci Zonjic

Great, more female characters used for sex and ending up as an innocent by-standard. Oh wait, no.. they weren't innocent because they had sex and that's why they died... right ? right?? Gah.. misogyny or another espionage story, I fail to see the difference any more. Female characters are life-less, characters-less and serve only as plot devices. Maybe I spend too much time focussing on the ways women get portrayed poorly in comics/books/movies, and maybe I should try and highlight more often, where women are portrayed well.. but I suppose I feel as though I shouldn't have to give applause to something I believe should be the norm anyway. But positive re-enforcement.. yeah I get it. I should do that.

Okay, my own inner-moral concious aside, this is story about arguing with oneself... I mean, if you were a former CIA agent that got kidnapped and had your brain torn open and played with and then discovered an imaginary friend who told you how to escape said facility. CLICHE?!?! well let me just repeat a little bit of scripting from the book :

Jon- what are you saying? do you know what happened? did you know-- about Jake?
Dr.- How or why it happened, no, we don't know. But we've been observing you, trying to understand the rather extraordinary case.
Jon- Observing me?
Dr.- You, from afar, Mr. Ellis...from up close.
Jon- Up--? What do you mean?
Dr.- ...But of course, when you went and got youself noticed in Barcelona, we were compelled to try and bring you in ourselves. Before the parent company found you.

Jesus, you mean the door that meant nothing four frames ago, the door that hadn't been in the frame the entire time they were drawing this comic!??! WTF? This door just appeared out of nowhere to solve some poorly written plot issue. Come on, making a door/room appear out of nowhere is not cool.... not cool at all.. where's the lead up? where's the suspense of what hiding behind door # WHATEVER?!!?!?

So who is Jack Ellis?? SPOILER! it's some fucking dude who was part of the same experiment that Jon was involved in except Jack is trapper in Jon's subconscious. wooo... like no one every could have guessed that... sigh.. that's the first volume. I'm not reading the rest. FUCK THAT SHIT. I'M BORED.

"Prophet" Issue 21

Story by Brandon Graham
Art by Simon Roy
Published by IMAGE comics

Oh Brandon Graham, even when your writing a story and not drawing it yourself, you've still gotta include VAGINA MONSTERS. So this is the first issue of Prophet I've ever read. I got issues 21-27 from my friend Matthew and I should have started reading them a while ago but I got lost in several other books... as you can tell.

The art? Well, it's not really the type of thing I fall in love with, clearly...but it's not bad. You can totally tell it's Brandon Graham writing it since he likes to make careful lists of things and have the artist point it all out.. plus this is a post-apocalyptic story. It's completely in colour which is nice, I actually really like the colouring done by Richard Ballerman.

This issue starts with John Prophet waking up from cryogenic sleep to an Earth unlike anything he's use to. It's full of mutated animals who've formed new species by bonding with a symbiotic life form that is yet to be explained. John has a mission and has to find a message from someone he doesn't know. That's the vagina monster. The alien ends up removing an organ from John to propagate it's own species. Why? Hell I dunno... keep reading it lazy!

"Seven Sons"

By Alexander Grecian & Riley Rossmo
Published by AIT Planet Lar

Some of my favourite stories start out in book stores. The story begins with an old man recanting the "true" story of seven identical brothers from China. They escaped the Manchu Dynasty's tyranny and went to America to become gold prospectors.  Of course Xenophobia takes hold when what was meant as a heroic attempt to save a few drowning children, ends in tragedy. The entire story is tragic, or is it?? There's a cute little surprise at the end.

The art is a sort of a sketchy-graffiti, the kind of art that gets me going. Entirely in black and white. Beautiful. This graphic novel was originally released as singles and collected now in one small trade paper. It's not printed on expensive paper (indie comics) and it's not super flashy when you see it on a shelf. The fact that is caught my eye was because the artwork on the cover is hopelessly up my alley. It's a quick read and the artwork is really what counts here. I would post some panels but I couldn't find any online.. not even a wiki site. Big Surprise!

"Phonogram : Rue Britannia"

Story by Kieron Gillen 
Art & Lettering by Jamie McKelvie
Published by IMAGE Comics

My first impression of the main character in Phonogram is that I've met this prick before. He's the embodiment of all I hated about being involved in a music scene. He's full of himself, spends too much time trying to act intelligent by throwing around little sarcastic quips about whatever band is playing. He's the guy who offers to buy you a drink and then insults your taste in music. He's the guy who spends way too much time looking for a t-shirt that might make him look like he has musical taste. Worst of all, he's the one who can't see a woman as a woman, they are all goddesses, ghosts, ex's or potential new cock holes. David Kohl is a fucking prick.

The book begins by allowing David to take us to a few underground clubs. The type I use to frequent. He walks around letting us know who all the "posers" are, only he doesn't call them posers, he has a bunch of other descriptive words that are probably just lost on me because this is takes place in Britain. David fancies himself a Phonomancer. Some pretentious name for the power he draws from Brit-pop....yeah... Anyway, he's on a mission to find out what happened to Rue Britannia, a woman credited with giving David his identity who appears to be dead. David goes on a little adventure... at one point someone burns a 7" put out by LUSH and I get really mad.

Through false indie prophets claiming to be necromancers and agoraphobic old punks hiding from technology, David swims through memories to find out what happened to Britannia. It's not a bad book. I'm not saying that, obviously, if I can hate a characters this much, the author has achieved some level of success. I like the concepts in the book, mostly the truth that some people fall in love with a music scene and have a crisis when that scene changes and all the people around them disappear or change OR JUST GET OLD. You've seen the old scenesters before, they are the grey haired old men (usually men) who dress like the current scenesters dresses, but the grey hair and saggy skin throws you off. These people use to get looked up to cause you just knew they saw some really good shows... and they must have a killer record collection..

The truth this book yells at me, is that when your music scene disappears your identity can be lost with it... if your as stupid as David Kohl to let your identity be wrapped up in your local tiny music scene. I've seen it happen... to shallow, insecure men who don't recognize themselves when their local scene is stripped away and their band breaks up.

One more thing- Ash was never one of my favourite bands, "Girl from Mars" usually pissed me off although you can catch me singing to it when some DJ is getting all nostalgic.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

PLUTO Volume 5

Still making my way through PLUTO and loving every bit of it. We are getting closer to explaining who and what PLUTO is. Some sort of perfected robot with the concious personalities of 60 billion people. If that's not fucked enough for you, this robot seems to be an apparition of some sort. Yeah, it's pretty confusing and none of the characters seem to understand it any better than I do. I'm really excited to see what happens. I love the nefarious teddy bear who seems to be the mastermind behind everything. The larger picture is beginning to be clearer. SIGH and I have to wait another week before the Library gets Volume 6 back in. Dang.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire

Jeff Lemire's latest graphic novel takes place in our neck of the woods, Nova Scotia. The book is drawn completely in black & white, based on an experience of an emotionally disturbed underwater welding named Jack who goes home to Tigg's Bay for work to support his unborn baby.

As the story goes, Jack has a baby on the way and is rarely there for his pregnant wife Suse. He wants to be, but after a submerged accident resulting in probable oxygen deprivation, he begins to relive the experiences of his childhood and confront the haunting details of his father's death. His father, being a hopeless alcoholic who although loves his son, fails to be there for him.

The book echoes all the alcohol riddled back-story of any fisherman's children. A family torn apart by alcohol and dangerous work, leading to an adulthood haunted by one's history, breaking up a family that hasn't even started yet. This all hits uncomfortably close to home. Say what you want about Jeff Lemire, (seriously, say what you want) he got Nova Scotia right in this book.

At least it all has a happy ending, like a Christmas Carol inspired bender, the man learns to cherish the present and future instead of being bitter and lonely in his past. Read it, you'll probably cry if you grew up in Nova Scotia.

PLUTO Volume 4 Urasawa X Tezuka

This book just keeps getting more sad. Oh god! SPOILERS!

So Atom gets killed, only I suspect he actually is alive. Patiently waiting for him to save the day in the last volume. Meanwhile Geistch gets assigned to being body guard to the man looking to kill him. Through their conversations, Geistch learns about the secret fascist group looking to kill all robots. 
This book also introduces Atom's creator who they implicate in creating the perfect robot who is NOT Atom. Presumably he created this PLUTO. 

I can't wait to find out how it all ends. I am about to read Volume 5 ! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Spike: A Dark Place Part 4

Well, I can't say I'm loving this run. It's a little silly and not full of the typical Joss Whedon jokes I've come to love over the years and that's because it's written by someone else. SIGH. He's too busy to write the scripting now. Saddness.

Now that the storyline has progressed a little more, I can tell you that Spike has met a succubus who posed a proposition: Be with me and I'll make you great, together you and I rule the world. Spike declines, he has a soul anyway and would rather fly around space with giant mechanical space bugs. SIGH. Well that's all well and good for Spike but bait for criticism for people like me. In the end, Spike follows her to Earth as she looks for jewel shards to open up a new Hellmouth on Easter Island.   SIGH SIGH. I'm thinking, Jewel Shard?!??! INUYASHA??

Well, at least I get to look at quasi artistic drawings of Spike right? The artwork leaves a lot to be desired and I don't think they should ever draw Spike in clothes ever again. That being said, that'll never happen.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

30 Days of Night issue #5

Gah. I picked this out of the free bin at Strange Adventures when I decided to stop in while record shopping. I've never read any of the original 30 Days Of Night. I saw the awful movie. I knew about the new series but never bothered to look into it and now that I have read this, I doubt I will ever bother reading it again. I was kind of intrigued by some the art that looked as though it had been done with markers then scanned into photoshop. This is the problem with a lot of IDW stuff I have read lately. It always seems to photoshopped that it makes me sad. It just doesn't have the warmth I've come to love about so many of my favourite works. Although I like the style of Davide Ferno (also worked on Scapled) I don't really like this whole blurry, airbrushed, thing... I dunno.. it's not the sort of art that turns me on.

As for the scripting, I really disliked the cop banter. Who the hell says "double crap"? Cop banter almost always bores the shit out of me but this is painfully dry. BORING. Anyway, I'm sure there are lots of people out there that enjoy this sort of thing, but not me.

I know this is sort irrelevant but I really don't like the paper this comic is printed on.. seems like all the IDW comics I've bought are printed on this heavy, glossy paper and I don't like it. Not really important... just an observation and one more thing for me to complain about.

Multiple Warheads Issue 2 by Brandon Graham

I love this comic. I LOVE IT. It's basically full of terrible puns and I love a terrible pun!I love that the artist drew Nic's penis'. Yeah, he has two penis' because he's a werewolf.

The back of the comic always has the story continued on it which I appreciate. The comic is also completely devoid of advertising, thank you Image Comics.

At the end there is a cute menu that Nic and Sex look over for a nice hotel, post-apocalyptic meal. I especially like the Poop Steak selection. Description:

"Fine Foods passed through the digestive tract of a happy Girk. After 7 ask nice and we'll serve you the Girk, flitzed, creamed or passed through another Girk."

Luckily, I have the third issue so I'll be getting to read that today. Happy Christmas Amy.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

"Pluto Volume 3" by Urasawa Tezuka

This volume focused heavily on Uran and Atom. Additionally, we find more out about GEistch`s mysterious missing memory. A new character is introduced while mourning his dead criminal sibling. His brother, it seems was shot by a policeman, a specific policebot with a special weapon that Geistch just so happens to have built into him. Our new character becomes a member of an underground fascist group of human who believe all robots should be killed. A futuristic KKK, they even look like the KKK. It`s members are disgruntled former factory workers impoverished by the common practise of robots in the workplace.

I borrowed the next two volumes from the Library and super psyched to read them this weekend.

"Uzumaki Volume 2" by Junji Ito

OH JUNJI... YOU MAKE IT SO HARD... hard to sleep! This one creeped me out pretty good. With people turning into giant snails (I hate snails-freakshow!) and babies that want to be stitched back into their mother wombs... I had some very odd dreams.

So of course he'd fantastic. I really don't have much to other than that.. I really should reconsider reading this stuff before I go to bed.

Friday, December 21, 2012

"The Hollows" by Sam Keith and Chris Ryall

Yeay for new Sam Keith comic books! This was really exciting for me. Mr. Keith took on a really new look in this one. It's still recognizably Sam Keith but with this interesting sketchy feel (he always has a sketchy feel). He uses way less colour in this book which I think works really well with the whole post-apocalyptic world. I also enjoy the fact that the story takes place in Japan and it seems Keith tried to take on a little bit of oriental water colour, at least that seems to be the inspiration to me. He mostly is using colour pencils however! But Keith is a mixed media artist. There's a lot going on in his work.

The story peaks my interest although it's not written by Sam Keith. The title is referencing these soul sucking, radiated zombies left roaming the lands. I take it there was some nuclear war? Most of the humans have taken to live up high in these cities built into what they call "Super Trees".

SPOILER ALERT : there are jet-packs! I am almost completely certain that any story can be improved by the use of jet-packs. I mean, The Fett had a jet-pack. 

So I'm really, really looking forward to the release of issue 2. So far, this is very much my kind of read!

Hellblazer: Highwater by Brian Azzarello

The first 4 issue story arc in this Volume of Hellblazer has John Constantine battling nazi's. SIGH... sigh...sigh... I'm tired of nazi's honestly. But this was the end of the 90's and battling nazi's was kinda in every story somewhere. The story isn't that bad, but I don't care for the whole gangsta angle. I never have really. I can say right now that I do NOT like the way Azzarello writes. He's sexist and he's stupid. Seriously, making nazi's look bad isn't hard and he didn't try hard enough. 

The second story arc was about a burned body found at a bdsm club. Okay so that sounds interesting right? NO! The story is told through the eyes of witnesses that a police detective interviews. They recant some BS about how John Constantine like's to be tortured and as the females tell the story, the detective sexually harasses them and they apparently like it?? WTF. Also, they paint homosexuality really badly in the story. WHAT THE HELL??? GOD! I was told it was a shitty volume, but I expected terrible art and lame conversation. The conversation is LAME but what I take issue with is the complete lack of females characters being anything but vapid whores. Seriously, Azzarello has John picking up prostitutes and treating them like shit.  Even the female detective acts like a depraved sex kitten. The whole thing just gave me a really bad taste in my mouth. 
SIGH.. don't read it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Town Without Streets" by Junji Ito

This is a longer manga. The story starts off following a particular paranoid girl named Saiko who at first comments on some odd dreams she is having about a classmate. He was whispering in her ear at night to trick her into falling in lover with him. He ends up dead however! The girl then believes her family is peeping on her (peep holes all through her walls) and attempts to run away from home to stay with an Aunt at a neighbouring town. Before she leaves for her Aunt's home, she is booted from several friends' homes because they hated the lack of privacy due to their imposing friend. On her journey to the town she find that the buses no longer run there. She arrives at the town via a kindly and suspicious taxi driver only to find that the entrance to the town is sadly blocked by a bizarre series of homes. A pedestrian wearing a mask takes her through the building and explains that the building mysteriously began to appear last February and were popping up over night, built right over the streets and connecting all the homes together. The in-between buildings become the homes of mysterious squatters all wearing bizzarre masks of various taughnting expressions. Chaos reigns as strangers must pass through the homes of other strangers so they can travel through-out the town. It is explained that the people wear masks in an attempt to preserve some privacy while travelling through the homes of others.
As some of the original habitants of the city attempt to lock themselves into their homes, they cause a blockade that is met with violence. Violators of the unspoken passers-by laws are bound and imprisoned. The girl attempts to help people as she travels through the odd buildings. Saiko is warned that "The Strange Ones" inhabit the area of town her aunt lives in and they urge her to wear a mask and be careful. The Strange Ones were said not to look human and had cause much crime and stabbings.
Finally, arriving at her Aunt's house she is thrilled to find her home until of course she sees her. The Aunt stands in the doorway in her underwear with near jovial senility. She explains her appearance is the reaction to the lack of privacy in the town. Peep holes all through her home and that she went nearly mad trying to conceal herself. She shed everything, even her clothes and came to conclusion that she felt better without trying to hide. She was "shedding her skin". I won't give away the ending cause it's pretty great.
It's these stories of paranoia and madness that Junji writes that make me feel as though I'm watching a Roman Polanski flick. He did a series of movies now better known as "the apartment films" (Rosemarry's Baby, The Tennant & Repulsion) I've always loved those movies which are very much about  paranoia, and loss of privacy. In each of the films, the main characters become obsessed with the idea that their privacy and anonymity is being infringed on by their neighbours. They really are amazing films and incredibly creepy.  After reading this 70 page manga, I kept feeling like I was watching The Tennant. If you haven't seen any of Roman Polanski's films, watch them! His older films have English subtitles. DON'T GET THE DUB!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fushigi Yugi :The Mysterious Play by Yu Watase

So, when I first started reading this I thought "wow, this reads like it was written by a teenage girl" and then the authors notes started showing up in the ledger and I thought "oh, wow.. it is written by a teenage girl". This really isn't the story for me.. why the hell did I even want to read it?

I suppose the most annoying part of this book was that the main character appears to have ADHD and can't hold a normal conversation with anyone. The dialogue is all over the place making it somewhat difficult for me to follow. There is almost no flow to it at all. I felt like I HAD ADHD. So, after reading the notes from the author, I'm left thinking "wow, the author writes like that because that is the way she ACTUALLY awful". Dreadfully sad. Also, I don't know if it's the translation, but there constantly seems to be something missing from the dialogue... actual content? I want to blame the translation but after reading the notes from the author in the ledgers, I can't be certain. Actually, at one point I started just getting really mad at the long meandering notes and started skipping them.

So all in all, will I continue reading Fushigi Yugi?? Um... I have volume 2 and I'm looking at it with painful disdain.

PLUTO Volume 2

Wow... fuck... wow!! I wanted to cry through most of this volume. The first one left off with our main character meeting Atom (astro boy) for the first time. They have amazing conversations together, and swap memory sticks. Atom gets everything including Geistchs' awful dreams. I don't want to spoil anything.. this leads to only spoilers. I just want to say, I love how HUMAN Atom is drawn. With wispy hair and big doll eyes, plump cheeks. He doesn't look like a robot at all. The emotions drawn into his face are amazing. The scripting... fuck .... so awesome. I finished it and I want the 3rd volume but I have to wait till the library gets it back in. SADDNESS.

Anyway, I apparently curse too much on these blog entries. I will try to correct that.. wait.. NO I WON'T!! Cause that's the way I roll. SUCK IT UP PRINCESS!

Anyway, what I said about the androids in the first volume is still true. The androids, sorry, ROBOTS in this volume are seriously totally emotional. Gesicht becomes astounded by Atom's emotional display and remarks that the boy-robots AI is far superior to his own. Your left wondering "is it? is it really?? or do all robots have the capacity to feel emotion?"

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sweet Tooth: Endangered Species-Volume 4

Well this volume breaks the rule of "Show, don't tell" in comics.. Similar to how Woody Allen breaks the rule in film. 'Voice overs bad'. Well it's sort of a rule in comics as well... minimal narration. The first issue of the fourth story arc, is narrated like a children's picture book. It's not bad and to a certain extent I appreciate anyone who breaks things... THROW THAT GLASS! But honestly, I find it mostly annoying when people do this in graphic novels. As someone who read a lot of novels... I like my graphic novels to be mainly composed of dialogue. Neil Gaiman likes narration, but he keeps it to a lovely subtlety. Mostly, narration is reserved to flash-back panels.

I like how the art style changes in the flash-back panels. They were drawn by guest artists Nate Powell, Emi Lenx and Matt Kindt. You can spot one of Lemire's covers across a crowded comic book store (not that its very hard, I mean, comic book stores tend to be pretty small establishments). So it's interesting that there is actually other peoples art work in there...

Let's move on to the story, I really love the story. This volume delves into the reaches of the big picture. One of the doctors from the militia ends up leaving with the rag-tag group of hybrid children and men & women. He reads Gus's fathers "bible" and believe he is now the chosen prophet who must make certain that Gus reaches Alaska. This must be integral as the "bible" suggests that Jeppard is some sort of demon sent to destroy humanity's last hope -Gus. Where the story goes, I can only guess... but it does have some bad decisions made in a post-apocalyptic earth, not unlike The Walking Dead where survival depends on the ability to adapt to ones surroundings and become a nomad.  (this isn't totally true in the latest issues of the walking dead, but I still think they are on a burning path and should leave the stupid commune they've created.. this is an entirely different post) So in the end, a decision is made, to stay or leave a supposed, safe location.

I am really excited to read Volume 5. End and point... was there a point to this? No I'm just throwing my thoughts around :) As usual.

Just got back from the Library!

....and look at the awesome I picked up! I ordered via the online Halifax Regional Library Web-portal. AWESOME. I've always wanted to read Fushigi Yugi but can never find them and don't feel like actually buying the damn things since the series is so long it would cost a fortune.

Second Volume of Pluto that I'm psyched about, fourth volume of Sweet Tooth, and two volumes of Hellblazer that I've never read. The Library has a lot of Hellblazer at various locations and there is quite a bit I have not read so YEAY!! This will help me through the demise of my favourite Vertigo title.

Trout-a-verse: Maxx Commissions and Death's Wall.

Trout-a-verse: Maxx Commissions and Death's Wall.: Because I'm still swimming my way out of comic pages before the Holiday hits... here's a few extra commissions you may missed, or I for...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

PLUTO by Naoki Urasawa

I just started reading Pluto which has been recommended to me by many people, which I sort of wanted to ignore because… murder mysteries bore me. I am not joking…I really don’t like reading murder mysteries for the most part. (That is of course aside from Law & Order but I believe that is mostly due to Kathryn & I's drinking game. Don't worry I'll post the rules... they are extensive however) I had several people assure me that it’s no ordinary murder mystery and actually is a carefully crafted, emotional story. So FINE! I AM READING IT! And………….. I am actually liking it.
“Pluto” is based on a story arc taken from Astro Boy called “The Greatest Robot on Earth”.  The story begins with the un-timely death of a much loved, philanthropic robot. Our main character Gesicht is a newer model robot detective who begins to unravel the mystery of a serial murder case.  I really like Gesicht (His name is German for ‘face’ by the way). The robots in Pluto, like the robots in Astro Boy are more than just emotionless figures. They are complicated with lives and feelings. It’s pretty neat, much like Philip K. Dick’s Androids really, well except they live much longer.
I really loved the story about the blind music composer and his new butler that happens to be an ex-war robot. It was really touching and I felt really sad at the end of that part of the story. I don't want to give much away. I really like how the manga is drawn. I find a wide range of emotions come across in the still actions of the frames, more-so than a lot of manga I have read in the past. It's a little cartoon-ey yet holds some form of sophistication that sneaks up on you. The story quickly becomes very dramatic and I wouldn't have expected it at all by reading some of the reviews online. It really didn't sound like something I would enjoy. I really do like it though and I am going to read the rest of the series. Got it on order at the Library ! I'll let you know. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick

Well I finished this 2 weeks ago? I did not write anything about it and it maybe I should have. I actually would love to re-visit some of the novels I have read this year, but I’ll get there. This is the first novel I read by Philip K. Dick. I had read a few short stories online and I have known about the existence of this novel since I was a teenager. For whatever reason, I never read it until recently. It’s a short book. I got a copy at The Book Mark on Spring Garden for 8 bucks, the mass market edition that says “Blade Runner” on it. Most people know that this novel was the basis for Ridley Scott’s hit movie.. yeah the one with the 80’s rape. Anyway… moving on…
The book and movie are very different. That’s all I am going to say about that.
I like the relationships between the characters in the book. They all seem so complicated and full of history. Even the mysterious androids, whom had only been in existence for a small matter of years, seemed so full of history (possibly due to the implant of false memories). I liked Racheal Rosen, the android daughter of the patriarch of the famous Rosen Family of android builders. I was really sad with the ending however. I am so mad that she killed the Goat. Really I AM! I feel like the Mr. Dick wanted to portray that androids feel but lack experience and that their empathy was built on selfishness, much like a child... scorned lover? Anyway, I'm probably wrong... I've never been very good at feeling exactly what the author is trying to say. I think I'm one of those people who just reads what she wants to see ?? Or rather what I want to read. 
Either way, I really enjoyed the book and I think everyone should read it. I love how un-empathetic the human characters are to each other, showing a the ultimate difference between humans and androids - androids actually care about other androids...not just other forms of life that they deem acceptable. If anything, it parallels the pathetic nature of so many people full of prejudice. But maybe that was one of the points of the book?? Maybe I'm just too daft to completely get it.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

"Sweet Tooth" by Jeff Lemire - Volume 1

Got my Library card activated, watch out! Ever see a girl get really reclusive and stay in her room reading comics and ignoring everybody?? Well your about's not pretty.

So I read the first issue of Sweet Tooth at Steve Reno's off of Spring Garden Rd and had to go back for the next two volumes which the Library had. I'll have to order the rest. They were checked out.

So what I read on Wikipedia about the comic doesn't really describe it in an accurate way. At least it's bland enough to be a summary on wikipedia but here's my summary:

On post apocalyptic Earth, most of humanity is dying of a plague while new born babies are being born as hybrid human-animals; all kinds of different species of animals and no, from what I can tell, women have not been participating in bestiality. It's some sort of survival of the human race, cell mutation. We've seen this before.

The story follows a hybrid boy-deer who claims to be 9. He grew up in the woods with his father and the bible (notice how I didn't capitalize bible?) He was told to never leave the woods because hunters would get him. His dead father was right. There are hunters looking for hybrids to sell for their own survival in this desperate part of the world. Gus, affectionately known as "Sweet Tooth" by the first dude that comes along to sell him, (Jeppard) begins his adventure through the lie that he is going to go to a safe place for hybrids. Jeppard sells him off to a group of "scientists" and that's how the first volume ends.

Now, how do I feel about the book thus far? I actually really liked it. Enough to return it right away and grab the next two volumes available. I had seen the singles kicking around the comic book stores for the past couple years but neglected them. I always liked the cover art but passed over it for other things... being cheap and all. I really do like the artwork. Its gaunt, ugly characters accurately reflects what post apocalyptic Earth should look like. I get that desperate feeling that minimalism always makes me feel. (I should read less minimalistic comics... on second thought no. I am a minimalistic artist and I love art that is of the same vein.)

The story itself was enough to keep me going back and probably just because I wanted to see awful experiments happen to Gus, cause I'm sadistic? Or something?? The script left me wanting more, but the characters seem mostly ignorant and yokel-like so I guess that fits. I'm going to read the next two volumes. I have to. I'll let you know if I actually want to read more when I'm done.

Friday, December 7, 2012

"Glyceride" by Junji Ito

It’s a great feeling to be turned onto a new artist or writer. Your world gets a little bigger which always makes me feel the warm fuzzies. I just hate feeling like I’m isolated and in a tiny little place all the time. I have to constantly see and experience new things or I shut down. That aside, a friend of mine got me to read the short manga by Junji Ito called “The Enigma of Amigara Fault”. I loved it. So I decided to look for everything by this writer who is well known in the world of horror manga, specifically for body-horror. Body-horror or body-gore, is something I am big on and WHY?! I DUNNO! I find it terrifying and Ito’s drawings are intensely rattling. I like being rattled. It's a similar feeling I got when I read "Zero Girl" by Sam Keith for the first time.
Glyceride is a story about a girl recanting her experience living in her fathers house above their BBQ restaurant. The home was full of grease as a result of the cooking. It follows the chaos created by the grease that claims the sanity of the male characters in the house. The main character slowly being driven mad as well yet seems to be the only one aware of the fact that the grease is at the root of the problem. It’s pretty damn gross and I love it.
The stories I have read by Ito all seem to echo this strange hopelessness of seeing those all around you, succumb to a plague of insanity that is represented by some strange enigma. In this case the catalyst is grease. In "Uzumaki", the catalyst is a town wrought with spirals. In “The Enigma of Amigara Fault” it’s these strange human shapes holes in the face of a mountain. His stories are so eerie and foreboding. Never a happy ending as far as I can tell but I like that. Life isn’t full of happy endings, in fact it seems to lack endings all together which Ito apparently understands. I feel as though his stories could keep going on forever if the subject matter failed to become old and tired.
As a treat, here's some of his scanned works online you can enjoy:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Beasts of Burden: Neighbourhood Watch" by Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson

Wow.. didn't see this one coming. The ending.. totally intense. From what I can gather from the first issue, this comic is a collection of short stories that can be read out of order which I kinda like.

Let's break this down, I love the artwork done by Jill Thompson. It's very water-colour pretty. Like a story book from my childhood.. or all story books from my childhood?? I love everything including the font that the script uses. Let me post a few picks below. 

The story follows a bunch of dogs & cats around. Little snatches of animal life. Sounds boring right? You couldn't be more wrong. The first story has our heroes chasing a goblin. The second story is about a basilisk and an explanation for animal lawn ornaments and the third story contains ghost sheep! Burned alive, ghost sheep no shit. That's the eerie one at the end. 

I really want to read more of this. Now the first comic I read about dogs and cats was WE3. I was put off by a story about animals... I mean really?? But it was fantastic and so is this. 

Where did I pick this up? Um... for 80 cents at Strange Adventures in Dartmouth. Worth it? Totally. I would actually like to own a hardcover version of this so I can give it to the children I'll never have, meaning, I just want it for me. Speaking of which, at first, I thought this was deff a children's comic but that's no longer a truth. By today's overly censored kid's entertainment standards, it would be unacceptable. I would still let my non-existent kids read it... but I grew up in the 80's and 90's where kids were allowed to see violence in cartoons... instead of the jibberish they claim is so educational that now haunts CBC and PBS on Saturday morning. I grew up watching The Amazing Spiderman and The X-men... kids today get Caihou is they are lucky. Okay, The Littliest Princess is adorable but it's a diamond among lumps of shit. Why do I know so much about childrens TV?? STOP BEING SO NOSEY!

All in all, I'm really impressed with this comic and I wasn't expecting it to offer anything but pretty pictures. Content is seriously there. Maybe I don't sleep enough..

The Walking Dead issue 104

Just finished reading the issue 104 of The Walking Dead. I've been reading this for about??? 3 years?? When did it start? I can't even remember.I love the graphic novel.. I hate the tv series. In fact, I haven't watched past the first season which was a total disappointment. I cannot for the life of me, understand why they changed the whole thing...even if you use the "adapted for tv" excuse, it's still stupid. First off, comics are basically story boards, story boards with script. It's mostly just dialogue. So here we have perfect blocking and dialogue... ITS A STORY BOARD. The Walking Dead has an amazing script (I'm talking about the graphic novel) and a great storyline. Why would we change it ? Why did they add in a new storyline? Why did they change the characters? WHY? I can't answer that question. It's unfathomable for me and I even know that writer Kirkman helped develop the TV series. I'm still confused.

So spoilers??? Um, fucking Carl just tried to take out the leader Negan who runs this gang that strong-arms the supplies from other settlements. I'm pretty sure they take some women on the side with that. Women are objects again in zombie post-apocalyptic Earth... not like we aren't still objects on current reality Earth but I'm told we have some rights that the law chooses to acknowledge from time to time..but I digress..

I love The Walking Dead... fucking love it. Why can't the series be better??

"Y The Last Man" by Brian K. Vaughan and a bunch of other people....

What can I say about "Y The Last Man" ? Uh how about "Amy! Why the fuck have you not read this comic before now??!!" It's fantastic, witty and precise! What the hell is wrong with you? This story has been recommended to me sooo many times and I kept passing over it for other reading material. WHY?!?!?!? Okay, I'm over it. I picked up the first volume trade paper the other day at a second hand store for 8 bucks. 8 bucks bloody fucking well spent. I NEED the other volumes now. MUST READ! Why you ask?!?

"Y The Last Man" is chalk full of feminist power and feminism gone horribly awry with extremists. The Amazons, as the sexist group in the book calls themselves, is full of religious zealots who believe that men died all over the planet because god wanted it that way. Some people could run with this part of the plot and say that the author intends to paint feminism in black. I don't believe this to be true. I feel as though the very strong female characters in the novel that are not trying to kill the last man in the world, supports the very clear message that in every basket, you got some fucked up, crappy apples. In any extreme situation, you get some freaked out people who cling to religion. When all the men die on the planet, that happens.

I feel like I have to highlight the awesome lead female role that is played by agent 355. She manages to find the new President of the United States, which is a female really far down on the totem pole, (making the point that men still run the fucking country to this day) and brings her to the sadly decaying White House to commandeer her position. Agent 355 is a great character and as she states, she is African American and that just because all the men are gone, doesn't mean racism has evaporated. Her scripting is  intelligent, witty and full of purpose. I LOVE THIS CHARACTER.

The story goes like this: All the men die because some women had the "audacity" to clone her nephew and give birth to him. Or at least she thinks it's her fault. Kinda like stating that if women can asexually reproduce, whats the point of the Y chromosome ? It's not saying that really but yeah. Anyway, one man remains and he's desperately in love with a gal whos backpacking around Australia. He proposed to her via the phone and didn't hear the answer. He believes the answer is yes and I know that it simply is a NO. Tell that to him. So when all the men die, all the male animals died too except dude and his monkey named Ampersand. That is essentially the plot with a whole lot of other developing side stories including the last man's sister who's name is unfortunately Hero. Yorick and Hero were named after Shakespearian characters... how sad.

If all that wasn't enough to peak your interest, please consider all the relevant politics of modern day North America that gets conversed. Pro-life nut jobs and fundies in abundance.

I can't say enough good about this book. Read it or die, cause that's how I roll!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Spike : A Dark Place 1 to 3

I picked these up recently. I was going to wait for the trade but oh well! I realized how far behind I am in Buffy. I got kinda.. annoyed with the whole story a while ago but I keep collecting the comics hoping I'll fall in love with it again.. I'm just gonna suck it up and breeze through a bunch of them this week. 

Since I am so behind, I realize that Buffy battled some space demons at some point?(wtf Joss?) This run picks up where that story line ended. So in this story Spike has been travelling around with some giant space ants who have adopted him as their supreme leader. One of the Ants is named Sebastian.. yeah.. Anywho, they kind of remind me of the brood from the X-men.. except they are not travelling in a giant whale. Sadly..
They run into trouble with the reptilian space demons who got stuck out on some random distant planet because of Buffy and decide to grab that ship Spike is relaxing on with the ants.
Sidenote: Do you know about the Reptilian Conspiracy!? There is a HUGE following of people who think that certain governing bodies are actually not human but members of a reptilian race originally from space who are controlling the world. They have some really hysterical theories linking them to the pyramids.. and the freemasons... Ugh.sigh.
I'm not really a fan of spacemen being mixed into my Buffy story lines. (I liked Fray but thats more futuristic)They've done it before I know. Remember the Qweller episode? Yeah, meteor demon! Anyway, I kinda like the supernatural without the space, but what can ya do? I loved Event Horizon.  

I really do like this story so far. I was going to wait for the Trade Paper on this one but yeah.. Spike is way too hot to wait for. There was some odd mention in this about how Spike thought he knocked Buffy up (I think he acutally puts it that way.. Spike is no feminist) so I will have to read that bit for sure. It's most likely in the Buffy  Season 9 that I haven't read. Like I said, I'm way behind.. I just f'n hate the art in those books.. So bland.. this is not a rant about Buffy comics Amy...stay on track. 

What can I say? Spike is hot and I'm gonna get the 2 remaining issues in this story. I have to actually. HAVE TO. 

Emperor X

I don’t own a single album by Emperor X. Unfortunately out here in the middle of f’n Nova Scotia, severely independent artists like them are nearly impossible to get your hands on.  This could also be due to the fact that front-man C.R. Matheny likes to hide and sometimes bury physical copies of b-sides around the U.S. posting GPS coordinates for his fan to use to uncover them. Cute idea turned really annoying for fans who just hope that the people who get their hands on the stuff will post it on cyberspace for everyone. Subsequently, the only Emperor X that I get to enjoy is whatever is posted on GrooveShark, which is the album “Western Teleport”, “Tectonic Membrane/Thin Strip on an Edgeless Platform” and some random b-sides (yes I know this sounds terribly pretentious)
Imagine my utter disappointment when I missed them playing live in Atlanta by 2 days. Stupid job making me miss things that matter to me. Anyway, if I had to describe this electronic/folk-clash/mish-mash/experimental mess, I’d say just what I posted there and that’s it. It’s the kind of thing that makes me happy- a silly folk album with some bad synth accompanying it. HEAVEN. The songs are catchy and full of poppy goodness not un-like The Mountain Goats… if they ever used a bunch of synth.. which they pretty much never do. I love it. I want to marry it, but I’d settle for seeing them live.. just once.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hellblazer ENDS in 3 issues... sigh..

 Hellblazer ends on issue 300. This hurts me. He’s being re-launched under the title Constantine, DC tells us. I really like the current run of Hellblazer. I like that he’s old and even more jaded. I like that he’s a mess. I like what Peter Mulligan has done with him. DC wants to take the character back to the age he is in The Dark Avengers. SIGH.Robert Venditti and Renato Guedes are launching the series on what is known currently as the “New 52” DC Universe.
Robert Venditti is known for his work The Surrogrates which apparently turned into a Bruce Willis movie by Disney? I’m attempting to recall this from my memory. Renato Guedes did some work on Superman? That’s all I could find. I don’t read Superman. I dunno if I’ll ever read Superman. I just don’t care.  So yeah, I’m not very happy about all this. I haven’t found anything online as far as an explanation as to why DC is pulling John Constantine from Vertigo. Are they trying to save him from Vertigo’s apparently inevitable demise?
Wikipedia claims that Constantine appears as one of the lead characters in the Justice League Dark and that his history has been “slightly” altered. He apparently meets Zatanna in New York instead of San Francisco and the back story of his trench coat has been changed. Wiki says that they added history of Constantine meeting Nick Necro who was implied to be John’s mentor and original owner of the trench coat. The new series is supposed to follow these changes. News-a-rama quoted Venditti as saying:
 "He's going to be the same age that he is in Justice League Dark and the same character that people know and recognize - the drinking and smoking, the con man aspect of him - that's going to be very much part of the series,"
One can only hope. But still, I LIKE OLD CONSTANTINE. Gah.. Anyway, I’m on issue 296 and that means I’ve only got 4 more to read and no more aging, jaded, throw-my-life-away John Constantine. I keep feeling like Piffy (his wife) is going to die, but to be fair, I think she’s going to be killed off every issue and that’s because I like her…which means she’s pretty much slated for death.  Stay tuned for spoilers and my opinion on the ending of one of my favourite comic book series.

Multiple Warheads by Brandon Graham

Last night I read Issue #1 of Multiple Warheads : Alphabet to Infinity by Brandon Graham released by Image Comics.  Before I found out that this comic was based on a porn web comic, I opened the first few pages to find landscapes that resembled legs spread open and phallic towers. Kind of funny. I really like this artwork. It’s bright and fun while maintaining an obvious sense of humour that’s echoed in the script.
The story follows a couple named Sexica and Nikoli travelling through what seems to me to be post-apocalyptic Russia? While this is happening, an organ hunter named Nura is charged with finding a character who’s head grows back. I had to look up her occupation since I thought she was a bounty hunter. Apparently, she is known as an organ hunter in the story. I’m sure that would have been made clearer in the following issues which I currently do not have.
There were some really sweet puns and play on words in the scripting. I’d read it for that alone but I actually really do like the artwork. The landscapes are hilarious, harbouring strange faces in building structures and like I mentioned earlier, sexy figures as rolling hills. Yes this has been done before, but the art style is so damn cute! With radiated mutants, talking animals and singing cigarettes, what’s not to like? The first issue definitely makes me want to run out and grab the rest. The release date said October 2012. I’m guess the next issue is out already, good thing I’m headed to a comic book store tonight for board games.

Monday, December 3, 2012

MPD Psycho by Tajima & Otsuka

Last week I read the first book in the series called “MPD Psycho” which I got for 80 cents at the Strange Adventures Dartmouth location. This is a manga published by Dark Horse.

Review: gratuitous use of naked, mutilated women. That was my first impression. The whole damn book was mutilated naked women!? What is up with that? Over-done much? It was one of the things I disliked about Dexter.. great story idea; another reason to show violence against women. (I am talking about the first story arc with the ice truck killer. It did improve after that.) I kind of feel like these sorts of stories desensitize us to violence against women and glorifies sexualized violence. I mean, why is the serial killer's anger always directed at the opposite sex? I suppose it’s not ALWAYS the way the psycho story goes, but it does seem more often than not. Am I right or just overly sensitive?

Seriously though, the book seemed to be more about trying to find shocking ways to draw brutalized women, and I do mean it’s shocking. One of the serial killers somehow uses women to become live human plant pots. It’s pretty nasty and honestly paints a grotesque image that makes me squirm.. and not in that good way. The killer removes the skull and somehow lets a seed grow into a plant out of the brain. Not like that could actually happen… I don’t think a brain can survive that long without the top of the skull (not to mention while something is growing in it).. ewe.. thinking about it makes me feel gross. AND THEN, the girls are all naked and in bondage gear!?!? WTF?

But you get what I'm saying. Maybe this is why I don’t read crime novels. With the saturation in the genre, writers seem to have to step out of any sense of a comfort zone to come up with increasingly shocking, homicidal images. Like the torture horror movies to come out over the last 15 years.

I'd say the only interesting part of this story is that the series of killers seem to have one thing in common, they have some odd barcode printed on their left eyeball. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Crazy government body/eye clinic creates serial killers for .. what? Or maybe it’s aliens! Crazy aliens creating an investigative/crime drama to entertain the masses back on their own planet? Probably not, but I think I would actually read THAT book. Only if elephants are somehow implicated in driving humanity to the brink of chaos. Yeah, if anyone has a right to be angry, it’s the elephants. Okay, I've gone completely off topic…

"Miss Don't Touch Me" Written by Hubert, Art by Kerascoet

I really liked this translation of the French graphic novel "Miss Pas Touche". When my friend handed it to me, not knowing anything about the novel or artist I exclaimed "oh the art is so French!" and I felt very proud of myself for being correct. If I could pull off a graphic novel, I'd want it to look like Miss Don't Touch Me.
I just love this little murder mystery and it's kinky BDSM story. A live in maid losses her best friend to a flying bullet and ends up tossed on her ass by her madam. She ends up at a brothel in search of evidence to lead her to her dear friends killer. In doing this she ends up a Dominatrix who gets paid to only beat and scold some men that she personally find repulsive.
It was so funny/cute and pretty that I ordered the second volume and hopefully will get my hands on it soon. I had to order it off of Indigo which I don't often do unless its for something I expect to wait a long time for from the local comic shops. I also had a bunch of regular novels I had to order so I just threw it on the lump order.
I read this um.. 2 weeks ago? I loved it, I can't wait to get Volume 2. Sadly, thats where the adventures end for this character I'm afraid.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Yotsuba&I Volume 2 by Kiyohiko Azuma

Soooooo this is incredibly adorable! Yotsuba is written by Kiyohiko Azuma who also did "Azu Manga Dioh" which I loved. I mean LOVED. The humour and cuteness!??! OMG. Okay I'll stop talking like a child. This is the 2nd volume. Apparently they can be read out of order since each chapter is a little short story. The story follows the daily life of Yotsuba, this crazy little girl who lives with her father. I loved the first little story is my favourite in the volume. Yotsuba is drawing pictures with her neighbors and one of them tells her honestly that she's not very good. Hurt feelings descends and Yotsuba runs into her fathers best friend who she calls "Jumbo" on account of his stature. She shows him a drawing which he tells her is very good and the neighbours agree that they had misspoke the first time. But the best part is when the neighbour's kids mother comes home and sees a chalk drawing that Yotsuba made in the driveway. It's the outline of Jumbo and she basically is like "what the fuck is that?". At any rate, I will definitely be picking up the other volumes. It's so cute.. so is the art.

Batman:Through the Looking Glass -artist Sam Keith

Sam Keith is my favourite comic book artist. He's amazing.. I can't describe him other than to say : whimsical. He's done some Wolverine, as well as Batman, but my favourite stuff by him is the stuff he wrote and drew himself. You would know him best for The Maxx, but I think Zero Girl is still my favourite. My friend Matthew took this out for me at the Library. I am still waiting for my Library card. heh. Through the Looking Glass is written by Bruce Jones and I have to say, I do really like the script. It's hard for me to appreciate the script at all though when it's written over suck beautiful art. The novel could have existed just fine for me without a script. As per usual, Sam Keith has taken the opportunity to draw a cute little girl as a guide for the hero. Celia being a little girl from Bruce Wayne's past. A cherished childhood friend who died tragically of diphtheria. Batman is drugged in the beginning of the story and hallucinates Celia leading him to clues to settle a murder mystery spurred on by the Madd Hatter.. Probably one of my favourite Batman Villains. Even if you don't like Batman, I would recommend you reading this. The art is perfect of course. PERFECT.

Key to the Kingdom by Kyoto Shitou

So this was one of my .80 cent finds from Strange Adventures last weekend. I read it on Saturday, so this is a little late. Hmm What did I think of this?? Well it had some striking resemblances to my favourite anime/manga Escaflowne. The whole bit about the dragon hearts and dragon people. Although these dragon people weren't Draconians with angel wings like Escaflowne. The first volume follows the story of a young Prince and the captain of the kings guard, going on an adventure to find the Key to the Kingdom. This is to ensure that they young Prince will succeed to the throne after his fathers death. He has 2 years to find the mysterious Key of legend. All I know is that it has something to do with these Dragon people. Not too much happens in the first Volume. I don't want to give too much away. The only thing I can say, is that I like the Duke's daughter who is a 14 year old sword wielding girl who can also succeed to the thrown if she finds the Key. This is obviously aimed at teenage girls. The men look like pretty women with long flowing hair and as is typical of this kind of manga, I wouldn't be able to tell the male characters from the females if it wasn't the script letting me know. Will I order volume 2? Probably not. It's simply not enticing enough of a story. A little too typical. It's put out under CMX which I believe is owned by DC Comics. Can't really recommend it.. Sorry.