healyg: (aww)
(Technically none of these books are about Hellboy per se, but they take place in the same universe.)

Currently I'm reading a bunch of Mignola-verse books. First off is Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland, written by Kim Newman and Maura McHugh with art by Tyler Cook and Dave Stewart. It's about special agent Sir Edward Grey, paranormal investigator to Queen Victoria, and his misadventures in a newly industrial town that holds a lot of secrets. The art is beautiful, and the story brings that special Hellboy weirdness that I love so much. I don't think it's as good as the previous Witchfinder book (the one set in the Wild West), but I still enjoyed it bunches.

Next, we have the first two books in the Abe Sapien series, The Drowning, by Mike Mignola and Jason Shawn Alexander; and The Devil Does Not Jest and Other Stories, by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Patric Reynolds, Peter Snejbjerg, James Harren, and Dave Stewart. The first book, Drowning, was pretty okay, but it left me feeling lost at times; part of it may because I'm not too well-read on my Hellboy volumes (hey, I gotta work with whatever my library has in stock at the moment, alright?), but I think Mike Mignola has a tendency to just throw the reader in deep waters without warning when he's writing on his own. With a co-writer, like Arcudi in The Devil Does Not Jest, he seems able to rein things in much easier. The Devil Does Not Jest also has the benefit of being a short story showcase, which I think is where the Hellboy universe really shines. The epic stuff is alright, but it's pretty overwhelming, especially for a newcomer; the short stories deliver the weirdness in these great, bite-sized packages without the bloat. I liked both, but The Devil Does Not Jest is better.

Am I forgetting anything? Oh, yeah, I reread Darwyn Cooke's Parker: The Hunter this week, too. Verdict: still a great crime read, still not as good as Parker: The Outfit, Parker's surprisingly cute in this one, RIP Cooke mourn ya 'til I join ya. See ya next week!
healyg: (apology)
So! It's been a while since I've done this.

I actually finished this book a while ago (in fact, I first checked it out in February), but... currently I'm rereading Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks (edited by David Lavery), a book of essays on Twin Peaks, published a few years after its first run in the 90s. I first got it because I was making a Twin Peaks-inspired game for the Veeder Expo, and reading some books on the show would have been faster than actually watching all 30-something episodes of it. It's sort of a dry book; most of it is made up of essays on psycho-analytical and post-modern readings of the series. But there is one article that I keep coming back to: "'Do You Enjoy Making the Rest of Us Feel Stupid?': alt.tv.twinpeaks, the Trickster Author, and Viewer Mastery" by Henry Jenkins, a rough overview of the Twin Peaks fandom on Usenet. Theories of literary criticism, it seems, may come and go, but fandom ethnography is forever.

Click here to see me blab about Gravity Falls )

I'm also reading The Simon and Kirby Library: Horror! (By Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, natch.) It's a bunch of horror stories written before the Comics Code kicked the industry in the keister. They're all weird and nightmarish in a way that kinda bridges the gap between the Golden and Silver Ages. It makes for an interesting contrast between the stories in The Jack Kirby Omnibus Volume One: Starring Green Arrow, which were all written post-Code. The stories in the former get to be gritty and rough in a way the latter never attempts to match. I think my favorite of the collection is a story called "The Head of the Family", which is... well, I'll try not to spoil it for you, but let's just say it's about one of those Kirby-esque weird families that really deserves their own ongoing series. Highly recommended.
healyg: (Pink Alphys)
Hi, guys! Boy, it's been a while since I updated this blog, hasn't it? Like, more than a month? Let's get back into it, shall we?

Currently I'm reading Astro City: Lovers Quarrel by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross. It's about a superhero couple, Quarrel and Crackerjack, who run into problems when they get older and can't fight crime so good anymore. Quarrel is mostly resigned to it, though this isn't to say she's happy about aging, but Crackerjack doesn't take things so well, and does something... foolish.

It's a pretty good look at a subject most superhero stories don't tackle; my main problems with it were that the art isn't always so good at conveying how old everyone is, and that Crackerjack's actions came off as a little too extreme, to the point where I stopped sympathizing with him for a bit. Still, it manages to rise above these issues, and the back-up story is about a talking gorilla who wants to play the drums, which is the kind of story you can't go wrong with. Maybe not as good as Private Lives, which is one of my favorite Astro City volumes, but still great.
healyg: (aww)
Hahaha! I certainly did not mean to take this long to get around to this! Let's get down to business.

Vattu by Evan Dahm: This is a webcomic about Vattu, a little girl from a tribal culture who is forced into a life in a big imperial city. I tried reading this comic back when it first started (in 2010, 2011-ish), but it was taking too long to get to the point, and the pages loaded way too slow on my crappy connection, so I put it aside and forgot about it for a few years. (I think I might have tried again sometime later, but I ran into the same issue.) Then, on Wednesday morning I googled Rice Boy (one of Evan Dahm's other comics, set in the same world, Overside) for reasons I forget (I think I was researching something for Knytt Stories?), and remembered this comic. It picked up quite a hefty archive since the last time I checked, so I decided to try reading it again.

Spoilers: It turns out I totally loved it! The story really starts to pick up after it leaves Vattu's homeland and spreads its focus to other characters. It's still not done yet (we're about halfway through, according to some comments by the author), but the plotlines being set up now are fascinating stuff. My favorite is the one following the mysterious enclave of mystical chemists.

Rice Boy by Evan Dahm, also: I'm following along with the new rerun blog. It's quite fascinating! I never realized how much of the story was ad hoc before now. I was sort of disappointed with the ending when it first wrapped up, but knowing how much of the plot was still up in the air, at least in the beginning, makes me feel a little better about it now. (Also I've totally forgotten how hot T-O-E was until now.)

Thimble Theater by E. C. Segar: This was a collection featuring Popeye's first appearance. It's actually interesting to see the big lummox from the beginning. Most of the strip's focus was on this dumb blowhard called Castor Oyl (Olive's brother) and his pseudo-magical whiffle hen Bernice, but Popeye was already a forceful presence from practically his first entrance. No spinach as of yet, but already he's punching every badnik there is to punch. Something about his appearance here seems off, though. Maybe it's something in the face? Anyway, it's good stuff if you like old 20s-30s comic strips.
healyg: (scheming)
I apologize for being so late with this post; I was rushing to finish my Yuletide assignment and this blog sorta fell by the wayside. But! I just wrote it up and posted it last night, and while there are a couple hitches in it (namely, I haven't checked it for SPAG yet, and there's an extra scene I should write to make it hang together better), I am fully prepared to call it finito Benito for now and work on other projects. Like Currently Reading Wednesdays! Here's what I was reading the past couple weeks:

Top 10: Season 1 by Alan Moore and Gene Ha: This is the superhero police procedural that Moore wrote at the turn of this century. It's pretty good, and I enjoyed it, but there were a couple things that bothered me about it. Mostly it had to do with all the sexual content; none of it's very explicit, of course, but it permeates the entire exercise (like, say, the Martian Manhunter-esque hooker lady), to the point where it seems like the author can't get his head out of the gutter. (Then again, I might just be a ginormous prude.) Also, the police department struck me as a bit trigger-happy; events from the previous few years have sensitized me to this sort of thing. Still, it's a pretty nice book.

Hellboy: The Wild Hunt by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo: This was pretty great, and it advanced the story of the series quite a bit, but it ended on a cliffhanger, which bugged me immensely. I'll reserve judgment on this until I read the next book in the series, but I was a little disappointed in this.

Boss Fight Books: Earthbound by Ken Baumann: I used to really love this game as a little kid, and what with Undertale blowing up the internet right now, I decided to read up on one of its primary influences. This is a very good book; it may be a little too "New Game Journalism-y" to some people's tastes (Baumann spends much of the book relating to Earthbound through his own life and experiences), but I thought it was a good fit for something as weirdly personal as Earthbound. I can't wait to read some of the other books in the series.

Rise of the Video Game Zinesters by Anna Anthropy: I actually know Anthropy from her days back at Glorious Trainwrecks, so I was familiar with her work. Anyway, this is a primer on the indie (or alt, they seem to have changed names when I wasn't looking) games scene, with a look at the history of the movement, their games, their goals, and some of the tools used to create indie games. I don't always agree with her arguments, but this is a fine introduction to independent games and game design, and worth a look if you want to make a game yourself.

(Note that the next two weeks may be pretty busy for me, given that it's the holidays. But I'll try to put out at least one more installment of Currently Reading Wednesdays out before the end of this year.)
healyg: (apology)
I apologize again for taking so long to write up a new Currently Reading Wednesdays. I've just been feeling kind of "blah" the last few days (maybe because of all the turkey?) and didn't get around to it.

Anyway, currently I'm reading The Jack Kirby Omnibus Volume One: Starring Green Arrow, with art by Jack Kirby (natch) and writing by various. It's a collection of all the various stories Jack Kirby did for DC Comics in the 50s, mainly for science fiction magazines like House of Mystery and Tales of the Unexpected. (There were also a couple Green Arrow stories in there, like it said in the title, but I didn't really get to them.) The inventiveness of the stories and visuals are a real treat, which is to say that everything is properly wacky in that amazing Silver Age way. One of my favorite stories is the one where a guy takes a concoction that turns him into a flat, 2D man. Kirby's art just sells the transformation and really raises up what would have been just a passable short story into something very enjoyable.

I'm also reading Get Real, a Dortmunder book by Donald Westlake, who also wrote the Parker books under a pseudonym. It's pretty good, but it's a rougher read than I expected. Apparently this was the last Dortmunder book Westlake wrote before he died, so that probably explains it. I'll keep an eye out for earlier books in the series, and see if they're any better.

I'm also play/reading Jay's Journey an early RPG Maker game. It's okay, and the humor is actually pretty good for an RPG Maker game from 2002 or something, but I keep having trouble figuring out where to go, which is really not something that should be happening in a game as linear as Jay's Journey. Most of the time it seems to be due to some underclued puzzle solution, like when I spent 15 minutes in one room only to find, when I looked it up later, that a switch I thought didn't do anything actually did something, I just couldn't see it. A hint guide would have helped here, whether in game or just in a text file. Still, I like it enough that I'll probably go and finish it.
healyg: (scheming)
Currently I'm rereading Darwin Cooke's adaptation of Parker: The Score again, but since I already covered that book before (in Currently Reading Wednesdays 11.75, true believers!), I thought I might as well cover the book I read last week, Lobster Johnson: Get the Lobster, written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, with art by Tonči Zonjić. I don't think I've ever covered the Lobster Johnson series here before, so here's a quick overview: Lobster Johnson (or just the Lobster here, as he won't be called that for a while) is a hardcore pulp superhero who kills gangsters and burns a lobster claw insignia onto their foreheads. He works with a crew of allies and helpers to hunt down crooks and other malicious ne'er-do-wells.

Anyway, this one's actually a later book in the Lobster Johnson series, and I gotta admit I was pretty confused with regards to who everybody was. But I got over this pretty quickly, and had a pulpy good time. Overall I'd recommend this one to anybody who enjoyed super-violent pulp fiction stories and wanted a fix, but I'd really advise them to read The Iron Prometheus and The Burning Hand first.
healyg: (Excited)
Note: Due to IF Comp reviews, Currently Reading Wednesdays have been pushed back to later in the week. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Currently I'm reading Astro City: Private Lives by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross. It's a sort of superheroes-as-slice-of-life book; many of the stories contained in this volume and others focus on smaller characters than the larger-than-life superheroes: sidekicks, down-and-out supervillains, and other folks who live on the fringes of regular superhero stories. Some of the stories in this volume are stronger than most (the one about the lady who fixed up old supervillain robots and puts them on display in a makeshift museum is a particular favorite), but all of them have their moments. Plus there's a bit of a tie-in with the storyline set up in the Through Open Doors volume, which I thought was nice.

Also, I'm continuing on with the Sherlock, Lupin & Me books, with the third book, The Mystery of the Scarlet Rose. The central mystery, about the bizarre return of an old criminal gang, was engaging, but the puppy love subplot was pretty blah; the romance junk was pretty easy to ignore in the older books, but here it seemed to jump to the forefront. Anyway, despite these flaws, I enjoyed the book. I'll keep reading these as long as my library stocks them.
healyg: (scheming)
Currently I'm reading Alan Moore: Conversations, a book of collected interviews edited by Eric L. Berlatsky. It runs the gamut of his comics career, from the early 1980s to 2009, a few years before this book came out (2012). It's actually a fairly interesting look at a guy I'm not a big fan of. Probably the most interesting interviews for me are the earlier ones, where he talks about his early stories for off-beat British magazines 2000 AD and the like. The other interviews I liked were the one where he digs into his thoughts on Watchmen, and the one where he explains what he was trying to do with Lost Girls. The latter makes me more inclined to check it out, although perhaps not any time soon. Anyway, it's a good book, and there's few of the paranoid rants that put me off of his interviews back when I was still in comics fandom five years ago. Give it a read, you might enjoy it.
healyg: (aww)
Currently I'm reading Dragons Beware by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado. It's the sequel to their Giants Beware from a few years ago. Both of them star Claudette, a young warrior-to-be; Gaston, her younger brother, who is good at cooking; and Marie, her friend, who is practicing to be a princess/diplomat. Also featuring Claudette's father Augustine, a blacksmith who lost his legs and an arm in a fight with the titular dragon. Among other characters. (*Pant, wheeze*)

Anyway, the plot gets kicked off when an evil wizard threatens the town they all live in. Augustine sets off on his own to find the one thing that can stop him, a sword that can stop any magic that is now in the belly of an unbeatable dragon, and Claudette and her friends decide to follow him. It's a charming little fantasy romp, with a twist or two along the way. Just a word of advice: You'll probably want to read Giants Beware before this one, as that book does a better job of setting up the characters.
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: (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: (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)
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: (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.

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