healyg: (Healslime)
This week I'm currently reading Cross Game (Omnibus Volume 1), by Mitsuru Adachi. It's a sports manga about a young layabout who gets into high school baseball after a personal tragedy. It's a pretty entertaining read so far (I just now started what would have been the original volume 3), although I had a little trouble keeping track of all the characters. I don't know if this is a function of the original, the translation, or just my tired and lazy brain. Regardless, I would have liked to see a cast list, or maybe even translation notes. I understand that might be hard to do in an omnibus volume like this, though. Anyway, I'll be sure to check out the next volume once I'm finished. A recommended book, especially if you're familiar with baseball.
healyg: (scheming)
You might be wondering why I haven't written that Alice Saturdays post like I promised. The truth is, I spent the whole of Monday playing Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea (link here), and the whole of today working on a new Knytt Stories level, which should be out this week if nothing goes wrong. Anyway, to make up for it, I'm going to post Currently Reading Wednesdays early (i.e., on time) and tell you some more about Wadanohara.

Note: This review may contain spoilers )

Anyway, that's all for today! Have a great day, and if I don't update this blog by Friday, assume my computer has exploded. See ya!
healyg: (apology)
Sorry I waited 'til Sunday to get to this! A bunch of stuff just sort of piled up on me last week, and I've been rushing over the weekend to at least get around to some of it. So, I bet you guys are wondering what I've read this week? Well...

The Spirit: The New Adventures by various: It's a collection of new Spirit comics a bunch of artists did in the late nineties. There are some pretty great high points (Alan Moore's crazy reinterpretation of the Spirit's foes Dr. Cobra and The Octopus) as well as some lows (Neil Gaiman's story, which didn't seem to have a point, and which I didn't even recognize was from him until I checked the credits), but even the lowpoints don't bring down the collection. Recommended.

Sledgehammer 44 by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Jason Latour, and Laurence Campbell: Another monster smash-up by the brains behind Hellboy. It's basically the same monster-and-nazi-fighting formula as Hellboy, only the hero possesses (literally) an Iron Man-esque suit this time. The only problem I had with it was that the hero's energy powers made for some pretty "blah" fights sometimes, but there was enough going on that it wasn't too big a deal. Read it if you like the other Hellboy stuff.

Various RPG Maker games by various: Let's see here, I'm playing The Longing Ribbon (already on chapter 4), Standstill Girl (beating my head against an optional boss in the second-to-last area), and Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea (which I don't think I've made a lot of progress in). I haven't finished any yet, so I couldn't give you any detailed impressions, but so far I'm enjoying myself in each of them.

That's all for now! Tomorrow I'll get around to the Alice Saturday I've skipped, and then we're all caught up.
healyg: (apology)
So it turns out I hadn't read a whole lot of books this week. Whoops! As a substitute, here is an RPG Maker game I've been playing.

Wildcard, by Ace Mercury: I first heard about this game through a review on the late, lamented Frying Bear. This is actually my third replay of the game; on my first I hit some game-crashing bug near the end and didn't come back to it until years later, when I finally beat it on my second replay a few weeks ago. Anyway, what really makes it such a great game is that it's crammed with all this neat optional content. Like, in the battle tournament village, there are these fighters lounging around, and you can pick fights with them and get some good gear if you win. There's also a fishing mini-game that you can ignore if you like, but if you're good at it you can end up with some pretty sweet gear (and a pile of cash). Really, I could list examples here all day, and I'm pretty sure I haven't seen everything yet.

The story is okay, not bad, but not really all that good either. Basically protagonist Ace and his sister come across a sinister plot by the leader of an adventurers' guild called the Dark Stars to get eight magic doodads so they can unseal an ancient evil. They team up with the royal magician and a former member of the Dark Stars to get the magic doodads before him. There's a few twists and turns but that's pretty much the gist of it.

Anyway, if you wanna play it, I've uploaded here; I think Windows 8 and up might have trouble running it, but if you can find a media player that can play midi files you should be golden.

Next week, on Currently Reading Wednesdays: Hopefully it will be an actual book! See you then!
healyg: (Book Reading)
Sorry I've been away so long; I've just had trouble gathering the energy to update it or do much of anything besides playing old RPG Maker games and making snarky forum posts. So, what have I been reading over the past week (or two, or three)?

You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons by Mo Willems: This is a book of one panel cartoons the author drew, one for each day, when he took a year-long (give or take) trip around the world. The subjects range from locals to fellow backpackers to bad detours the author took and more; there's usually commentary under each cartoon, which can actually be pretty informative. It's a really nice look at different countries and cultures, I thought, especially those in Southeast Asia.

Oishinbo: The Joy of Rice by Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki: Another entry in the venerable Oishinbo series. It's a little weak in parts (the three-part rice ball competition at the end is pretty boring, for instance), but most of it is still pretty good.

The Last Night by Will Eisner: It's an adaptation of Don Quixote by the late, celebrated Will Eisner. It's a little simplistic; it started out as a children's introduction to Don Quixote, and it shows. The plot is stripped down to the bare basics, and it rushes through events with an alarming speed. I can't say I enjoyed this one; maybe it's better if you have a kid you could give it to?

Explorer: The Hidden Doors, edited by Kazu Kibuishi: It's an all-ages anthology of short comics that deal with secret doors in some way. I was a little disappointed in this one; I liked the earlier books in the series, The Mystery Boxes and The Lost Islands, but most of the stories in this one felt dull and unimaginative, in ways I'm still trying to shake out. Maybe the artists were struggling with the title subject. The stories by Jen Wang and Johane Matte are pretty good, though.

Video Classics: A Guide to Video Art and Documentary Tapes by Deirdre Boyle: Mostly I picked this up because there was an entry on Jane Veeder, who has the same last name as a guy I know, Ryan Veeder. Anyway, I don't think they're related, but I was struck by the coincidence, especially since her video art has a glitchy, early video game feel. The book itself I thought was rather too snobby. Perhaps I'll go into it in a later post. Anyway, I guess if you want an entry point into the early world of video art and documentaries, you could do worse than this book.
healyg: (scheming)
Jeez, I've been putting this off for way too long. Alright, from the top, we got:

Film and Fairy Tales, by Kristian Moen, which is a brief history of fairy tale tropes in film, from the French feeries (i.e., 19th Century theatrical spectaculars that partly inspired the English Pantomime), to the works of Georges Melies, to fairy tale silents (e.g., The Blue Bird, the Mary Pickford Cinderella, finally ending with Disney's Snow White and other fairy tale inspired films from the sound era. It's a great look at a forgotten era of fairy tales in the movies, particularly the chapter that takes a deeper look at 1918 the silent film version of The Blue Bird (from a 1908 play by Maurice Maeterlinck). It also has a take on Snow White that I haven't seen before. Highly recommended.

Fairy Tale Comics, edited by Chris Duffy, is an anthology of fairy tales retold by a bunch of comics people you may have heard of, including Craig Thompson (Blankets, Habibi), Emily Carroll (various online horror comics, like His Face All Red), the Hernandez brothers (Love and Rockets), Gigi D.G. (Cucumber Quest), and David Mazzucchelli (Asterios mother-flippin' Polyp). Some of the stories are a little disappointing (for example, I felt Gilbert Hernandez's take on Hansel and Gretel was too dry for me, even though I thought his brother Jaime's Snow White, which is done in a similar style, to be quite charming), but most of them are quite good, and the styles vary widely enough that if one story doesn't grab, the next one will. Standouts for me would be The Prince and the Tortoise, which is drawn by the ever-talented Ramona Fradon, and Graham Annable's Goldilocks and the Three Bears, which has the charming touch of being drawn without dialogue.

The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales, by Franz Xaver von Schonwerth (there is a theme this week, can you tell), is a collection of fairy tales that were discovered in Schonwerth's papers in the city Regensburg's archives. They're all really rough, compared to Grimms, Schonwerth's contemporaries; most of the fairy tale collections of the time were heavily edited by the collectors, and Schonwerth didn't really get a chance to do that here. There's a lot of weird, inexplicable crap in this tales, and the plots often feel a bit rushed; few tales go longer than two or three pages in this collection. On the plus side, the bawdy, jokey tales in the collection come off fairly well, being a little longer on average than most other tales, and also built on such timeless jokes such as strong, foolish oafs making a mess outta everything and folks murdering the pastor's mother and all the good peasant classics. If you see it at the library, maybe check it out?
healyg: (apology)
Well, it seems the wifi on my computer stopped working; I'm connected to the internet right now through a wire connected to the router. Looks like we're about to reach Computermageddon slowly but surely. Least it's taking it's sweet time. I figure I can wait it out until the newer model laptops come in. In the meantime, here's what I've been reading the past couple weeks:

Infinity Gauntlet, by Jim Starlin and George Perez: I'm not a big Marvel fan, but after seeing this in the library one day I thought, why not? It turns out it taps into all the weird, off-the-wall ballistics I love superheroes for. It got a bit repetitive, though, and I couldn't help but be amused by the fact that almost the whole plot is about Thanos trying to impress some lady with his god-like powers, with Mephisto egging him on ("you should totally fight that group of superheroes at like half strength! chicks'll dig it!").

Snarked, by Roger Langridge: I got the first and second volumes of this out of the library a few years ago, but only recently was I able to find the final volume. This is a delightful romp through the world of Lewis Carroll, starring the walrus and the carpenter as two con-men who team-up with the young queen Scarlett (about 8) and her little brother, Rusty, in order to save the Red King from his untrustworthy advisors. It's a very funny series that's poignant in places, especially near the end; I highly recommend it.

Adventure Time: Sweet Shorts v. 2, by various: This is a collection of short comics featuring the Adventure Time cast by a wide variety of comic writers and artists (Frazer Irving draws a story!). I particularly liked the cute little comic by Kory Bing about the Earls of Lemongrab having a picnic at the beach. Most of the stories are of pretty good quality, but I'm not sure how much a reader who isn't already familiar with Adventure Time would like them.
healyg: (apology)
Let's get back into the swing of things, shall we?

Currently I'm reading A Drifting Life, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, which is a comic autobiography about the early days of the gekiga movement. I'm liking it so far, but I keep mixing people and events up; I think a glossary or a dramatis personae would've helped here.

Also, I played through Molly and the Butter Thieves by Cosmic Hamster from ShuffleComp, and I really liked it! It was a very sweet game that plays around with fairy folklore. Definitely one for the "recommend" pile.
healyg: (Frown)
You might be wondering when that one post I promised at the end of my last review is coming up. Well, for whatever reason, I can't seem to find my writing mojo this week; I'm also trying to get my Shufflecomp game done before the April 25th deadline (I've already greatly simplified the concept for it). Given this I can't expect that I will get around to writing it before Sunday, April 26th; in the meantime, let me review the books I've been reading this week:

Uncle Scrooge: The Seven Cities of Gold by Carl Barks: This is a solid collection of adventure and humor comics by the master of the Disney Duck comics, Carl Barks. Like most people nowadays I got into Barks through Don Rosa's superb The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck; Barks' comics are generally more old-fashioned, for lack of a better term, than Life and Times, but no less good. Not all of the stories are big hits, and some of them are a little... racially sketchy, let's call it, but they're all cracking entertainment.

Alice's Adventures: Lewis Carroll in Popular Culture by Will Brooker (re-read): A rather fussy book about the myths and motifs we carry about Alice in Wonderland and her writer, Lewis Carroll. Goes into a bit of detail about the pedophilia allegations that have cropped up around Lewis Carroll over the past century, although it's far from the only subject discussed. There's a chapter that's devoted to the then-recent video game American McGee's Alice; as someone who is only familiar with it through the Old Man Murray Review, I found it rather amusing. There are also chapters about Alice adaptations, Lewis Carroll societies, and a rather touching one at the end about sites associated with Lewis Carroll and the Alice books. The author also wrote a book about Batman, which I'd like to read.
healyg: (apology)
So this week I've read Kino's Journey, Volume 4 and 5, by Keiichi Sigsawa. (Previous reviews here and here.) It's the same curate's egg as before, some great stories, most undistinguished, some big stinkers. Part of that is due to the anthology format, I think, but I also think a bigger part is because of protagonist Kino's personality.

Gonna put all these words underneath a cut )

So, a question not much different from the one posed in my first review: would I recommend the series Kino's Journey? Despite all my complaints about it, I do still like it; I enjoy reading it for the grace notes and the sometimes-great stories, even though the main character can be kind of a jerk. If you don't like it when the main character of a book is kind of a jerk, maybe you should steer clear.

(Note: Because of time issues, I could not get around to what was going to be a major part of this post. So, I'm going to cut it off here and put all that junk into a new post, due tomorrow! Er, Friday. Look forward to it!)
healyg: (apology)
Currently I'm reading Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels, edited by A. David Lewis and Christine Hoff Kraemer. It's a series of essays about everything from Judaism as portrayed in Will Eisner's comics to the death and resurrection (reincarnation?) of comic book superheroes to translation issues in Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa to comics made by Evangelical Christians, etc. I found some of the essays a little dull, but most of them are pretty neat. You probably wouldn't get as much out of it if you weren't interested in both comics and religion, though.

The second book I read this week was Kino's Journey Volume 3, by Keiichi Sigsawa. It still has pretty much the same flaws as the last book (stiff writing style, weak characterization, pat morals, people and places that are so thinly written they're practically abstract), but I enjoyed this volume a lot more for some reason. Perhaps the writer finally found his groove, or maybe I just got used to his quirks. There does seem to be a better quality of stories here; my favorites were the story about the land of clones and the one with the wanna-be pirate initiate. I have to say, though, I really hated the first proper story in this volume. It just came off as unnecessarily gross.

Also, I'm doing a playthrough of Gun Mute by C.E.J. Pacian! (IFDB link.) It's about a silent cowboy who takes up his six-shooter to save his lover in a series of violent puzzles. It's pretty fun so far. I think I'm at the last couple of fights. The puzzles are fairly simple, which I find heartening for my big Shufflecomp game (that I still haven't thought up puzzles for). Maybe I could steal, er, "borrow" a few ideas from this game?
healyg: (Excited)
Last week I reread The Best of the Spirit, by Will Eisner. It's got a bunch of some really good stories about the sorta superhero The Spirit; a couple of my favorites are The Story of Rat-Tat, a comic done up as a children's book about a toy machine gun that longs to be real; and Fox at Bay, about a "rational" criminal who kills several men and hides himself away as some sort of experiment. There are some uncomfortable racial caricatures stereotypes, but they play a minimal role in the stories in this collection; I think some of them may have been edited out.

I also reread Parker: The Score, adapted from a Richard Stark novel by Darwyn Cooke. It's about super-smooth criminal Parker working with a top-notch team to rob an entire town. Of course, these plans rarely go off without a hitch, and and Parker and his gang runs into a real doozy of one. I wasn't too impressed with this one on my first read, but after rereading it I think that was just because I was disappointed that it wasn't as good as Darwyn Cooke's second Parker adaptation, The Outfit. The Score is a good, solid thriller that any reader of crime fiction would be pleased to have on their shelves. (Outfit's still better, though.)

Last but not least, I'm getting deeper into my reading of the Oishinbo series. I finished the Ramen and Gyoza volume, and am just getting started on the one on spirits and wine. My opinion of it hasn't changed from what I said last time I reviewed this series. After thinking it over, I think part of what makes Oishinbo so good is that it always remembers to bring some human element to the stories about cooking and eating. Like, there's one story that begins with Yamaoka and friends helping a down-on-his-luck gyoza restaurant owner get an edge on his competition, that quickly spirals out of control when Yamaoka's jerkface of a dad wants to get in on the action. The conflict gets transposed from the gyoza restaurant owner and his competitors to Yamaoka and his dad, but the author still remembers to keep focusing on the humans that populate the story. Am I making myself clear here? It is pretty late. Well, regardless, these are pretty good books.

Also: I want to let everyone know that I'll still be doing selections from 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die (over here). Just comment with a page number and I'll tell you what selections were on that page and what I think of them. Ciao!
healyg: (apology)
I apologize for yesterday's April Fools Day joke; I'm guessing from the lack of response that it was way too believable for a prank. But no, there is no light novel called Stranger Idol Panic -- Managerial Stress, although I would bet that there is one like it yet to be written, or already written, or being written right now.

I have read a light novel recently, though: Kino's Journey, by Keiichi Sigsawa. (Wikipedia article.) It's a girl named Kino and her talking motorbike, Hermes (no, really!), and they travel around the world, visiting countries and stuff; I read the second volume of it about a week ago, after reading the first one, translated by Tokyopop, many years ago. Honestly, I have to say I'm not too impressed with it, for a number of reasons.

For one, I'm not sure if it's just an issue with the translation or what, but the writing for the series seems really affected in a way I can't quite put my finger on. It's a fan-translation, so the translators may not have had the time to polish it real well, but it could also be that the original text is stiff and ungainly as well. Either way it's kind of a rough read.

Also, I didn't like how thinly characterized everyone seemed to be; it feels like most of the characters Kino and Hermes meet are just props for the story's moral. That's not necessarily a problem, depending on the story, but too often the moral seems a little pat and "been there, done that". Also, the main characters are also pretty thin; most of what Kino does is done out of boredom, and she seems really disaffected from the events of the novel. Hermes works as a foil for Kino, but he's not a strong character on his own, and I still don't get why he had to be a talking motorcycle.

I did enjoy parts of it, though. Some of the stories are more dramatic and punchy than the rest, and I did like a few of the ideas that the novel talks about. Overall, is Kino's Journey worth your time? I dunno, you might be better off with the anime.

(Tune in tomorrow for a special All-Comics Edition of Currently Reading Wednesdays!)
healyg: (Angry Dorito)
Currently I'm reading Stranger Idol Panic -- Managerial Stress!, written by Shinichiro Ito and illustrated by FATbeat, which is... okay, I'm not gonna mince words here, it's pretty bad. I only read it because I was bored and browsing some light novel translation site. The basic plot is, some guy in high school wins a contest to become manager of Japan's most popular idol group, the Danger Cool Beauties, but imagine his surprise when it turns out they're secretly a squad of magical girls that defend the Earth from a group of evil space aliens! Unfortunately the book really doesn't live up to that premise and soon settles into typical harem tripe with the idols and their hangers-on (the cute idol, the shy idol, the rude idol, yakuza girl, that friggin' ferret-lady). Don't get me wrong, it's mostly tame stuff (though I thought the bathing suit armor was a bit much), it just gets really boring when the author describes yet another trip to the pastry shop. I did think the twist at the end was pretty cool (The evil aliens turn out to be us humans from the future!) but it really wasn't worth what felt like a friggin' 15 page description of macaroons. Maybe it'd be worth reading if you're really bored one day, but overall I'd say you should skip it.
healyg: (Excited)
Currently I'm reading 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die, edited by Paul Gravett. It's got a good sense of the breadth of the field (superhero comics, indies, manga, and French graphic albums and more are all represented), but, at least from what I can tell, there doesn't seem to be a lot of thought put into the availability of the selections (I swear to God some of these have never been collected and never been translated). I think some of the entries are a bit dodgily written, too. Overall I'd say it's probably worth a look if you're interested in comics, but don't actually expect to read all of them before you die.

But wait! Since this is a pretty short review, I'd like to take the chance to do a little viewer experiment: the comics are all covered from about page 24 to 938 (note that my copy is missing pages 931-34, boo). What I want is for you guys to pick a page number in the comments, and I'll tell you the entries listed therein and what I think of them. We'll see if this works out.
healyg: (Excited)
Currently I'm reading What is Your Quest? From Adventure Games to Interactive Books by Anastasia Salter. It's a rough history of the adventure game genre from its early roots in the 70s to 80s to its resurgence in the internet/tablet era. It focuses more on the graphical adventure side of things, which I found pretty interesting as an IFer; it gives me an idea of how the other half lives, I guess. Anyway, if you're an adventure aficionado, you'll probably won't get as much from it as a beginner to these weird games with all these puzzles and no action bits, but it still comes highly recommended.

But wait, there's more! Book number 2 is Will Eisner's auto-bio graphic novel To the Heart of the Storm. When I checked this out of the library, I was expecting something that focused on Eisner's years in the war, but instead it's presented as a flashback to the tensions brewing before the war. I was a little disappointed in this, frankly, because it's a subject that I think was better handled in his A Life Force. Still, I did think it was a pretty good book. Recommended, but get A Life Force soon after.

Finally, book numero tres is Oishinbo A la Carte: Japanese Cuisine (story by Tetsu Kariya and art by Akira Hanasaki), which is a themed volume of standalone stories from the long running manga series Oishinbo. I didn't like the previous volume of Oishinbo I checked out from the library (Pub Food, I think?), but for some reason this volume just clicked. The main plot's not much: some dope named Yamaoka Shirou has to put together an Ultimate Menu of some kind for the newspaper he works, and his dad Kaibara Yuzaan, a hardass jerk, runs some kind of Supreme Menu for a rival paper. It doesn't really matter anyway, as it's mostly just an excuse to go on food-themed adventures. The author is a really big fan of simplicity in cooking, at least (especially?) when it comes to Japanese cuisine.

My favorite of the whole volume is the one where Yamaoka and friends accompany a businessman to a meeting with a tea ceremony master. Yamaoka doesn't think much of the old master, a boastful man who likes to talk about the famous people he teaches and showing off his expensive tea-ware, but it isn't until he serves the group strawberries covered in condensed milk that Yamaoka's suspicions about him are confirmed. What do the strawberries have to do with anything? You'll have to read the story to find out! Anyway, I think the stories in this volume are all pretty great like that, and it comes with an essay by the author that explains a bit of what he thinks about Japaneses cuisine. Highly recommended, especially if you like reading stories about food.
healyg: (apology)
Currently I'm reading Smash: Trial By Fire by Chris A. Bolten and Kyle Bolton. It's graphic novel about a kid who gains the powers of his favorite superhero, The Defender, when the latter dies in an accident involving a power-draining machine. It's a cute story (I especially liked the young hero's interactions with another superhero named Wraith), but it's marred by what I think is rather bad art; mouths and faces are misshapen enough that it was hard for me to get a read on the expressions sometimes, and I suspect the artist shaded much of it with the burn-and-dodge tool. Also, be aware that it ends on a cliffhanger, if you're bugged by that sort of thing. Other than that, it's a pretty good book.

Next time, on Currently Reading Sometime Next Week: I checked out a pretty cool book about adventure games from the library, so it'll probably be that. See you then!
healyg: (apology)
Currently I am reading Comic Book Rebels, by Stanley Wiater and Stephen R. Bissette. It's a series of interviews with some of the biggest names in comics in the nineties, including Alan Moore, Scott McCloud, Todd McFarlene, Harvey Pekar, etc. It's got a wide variety of artists and authors, from former artists from the underground "comix" scene in the 60s to 70s to then-new blood like Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. Only three women, though: Lee Marrs, Harvey Pekar's wife Joyce Brabner, and Colleen Doran. (Also, besides Moebius, all the artists and authors in their "International Ambassadors" section are British.) It's actually a pretty interesting snapshot of the comics industry before the speculation crash. There's a hopefulness about the relatively new direct market that's about to go away soon, when the market crashes and Diamond rules as monopoly supreme. Anyway, despite a few gripes here and there it's a pretty informative book, and a good resource for those who want to find out more about comics history.

Next Time, on Currently Reading Not-Always-a-Wednesday: I'm not sure! I might just cheat again and pick another video game.
healyg: (apology)
Currently I'm reading Final Fantasy 5 (GBA version).

What? It's an RPG, it's got text and words. It's got a lot of words.

Who wants to read me blog about Final Fantasy 5? None of you? )

Also, an actual book I am reading this week is Jeph Loeb and Time Sale's Batman: The Long Halloween. This is actually a re-read; I read it before and kinda hated it but all the details of it slipped outta my head the instant I put it down, so I could never put my finger on why. Looking at it now, I think it's partly because it's got such a sour, cynical tone. I'm not bothered by the only two Frank Miller Batman books I've read, though (Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One), and while you could argue that tonally they're cut from the same cloth, I think the difference for me is that Frank Miller is much more knowing, or perhaps honest, about the effects he's reaching for; he knows what he's doing when he makes the Mutants such horrible S.O.B.s, he knows why he's making the Gotham Police Department so incredibly corrupt. Loeb, though, seems to be adding in these dark, gritty details because what else do you do for a dark, gritty story? That's why, even though the Frank Miller books have objectively worse shit going on, The Long Halloween feels meaner to me.

(Another thing I don't like is how played out the whole thing feels; everything in the story has been done elsewhere, and likely done better. Sure, all your favorite villains are there, but their schtick is so overdone you'll be begging for their part to be over. I guess that's what makes it such a great beginner Batman story, though, since it's likely a new fan wouldn't be bothered by this. As I remember some guy on a web forum saying, even the worst Batman stories still feature Batman punching all the bad guys until there are no bad guys left to punch.)

I won't deny it hits a couple grace notes for me, and I do like the art, but overall this re-read of Long Halloween didn't change my opinion of it much.

Next time, on Currently Reading Whenever I Get These Things Out: Next week I'll probably review Comic Book Rebels, by Stanley Wiater and Stephen Bissette. (Hooray, a straight answer this time!) It's a series of interviews with famous comic book personalities from the early 90s. I was gonna review it this week, but I had barely begun it by the time I wrote this post. Next week, though!
healyg: (Healslime)
Currently I'm reading The Golden Age of Folk and Fairy Tales, edited by Jack Zipes. Zipes, in case you didn't know, has translated the Brothers Grimm's fairy tales, edited anthologies of radical and feminist fairy tales, and has written about the fairy tale in history and today, just to name a few of his credentials for this book. It casts a pretty wide net over the folk tale collections of the 1800s to early 20th Century, taking tales from the well-known collections of the Brothers Grimm and Joseph Jacobs, to lesser known collections like Round the Yule: Norwegian Folk and Fairy Tales. The stories are grouped together by theme and ATU classification, with chapters like Facing Fear: ATU 326--The Youth Who Wanted to Know What Fear Is, The Fruitful Sleep: ATU 410--Sleeping Beauty, Evil Stepmothers and Magic Mirrors: ATU 709--Snow White, and Bloodthirsty Husbands and Serial Killers: ATU 955--The Robber Bridegroom, ATU 311--Rescue by Sister Maiden, ATU 312--Maiden Killer; each chapter begins with some analysis by Zipes and a tale from the first two editions of Grimm's folk tales.

If you get well-read enough in fairy tales, you get pretty used to the same motifs and formulas used in fairy tales from around the world; what got me, in reading this collection, is what some tales lacked in terms of the formula. For example, there's a "Snow White" tale in the book that doesn't have the stepmother's revenge (The Vain Queen, from Portuguese Folk Tales), and a "Cinderella" without the teasing from the stepsisters and the being forced to sweep the hearth et al, which makes Cinderella come off as a bit of a jerk (Date, Oh Beautiful Date, from Giuseppe Pitre). And then there's this Rapunzel variant, Parsillette, where the prince goes up to Rapunzel as usual, but the witch/fairy godmother figure catches them running away, and she makes Rapunzel ugly and kills the prince somehow, I think. Later Rapunzel apologizes and the godmother makes her pretty again. I just don't know.

Anyway, it's a very good book, all the stories are entertaining and Zipes has some good insights. I might write a few treats for the tales that were nominated in [livejournal.com profile] once_upon_fic, like "The Robber Bridegroom" or "Vasilisa the Beautiful". We'll see.

Next time, on Currently Reading Wednesdays Somedays: I skipped a comics-related book this week, so I might do that next time. And I'd also like to dig into a book about religion sometime, considering it's Lent and all. Then there's IF, again; Parser Comp games are out, but I'd really like to review them outside of Currently Reading Wednesdays. Who knows?

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