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Comics omoo Has Sent Me That Are Not Very Good - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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May 4th, 2009


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10:43 pm - Comics omoo Has Sent Me That Are Not Very Good
This one time latropita was getting rid of books, and she sent me a couple that I really liked.

Sometimes, however, there's a reason someone is getting rid of something. Which is what I discovered when omoo very kindly sent me a couple graphic novels.

I was very interested in La Perdida, by Jessica Abel, since I was in my comic memoir phase at the time. Although it's not a memoir, it's based on the author's personal experience and is memoir-esque. On the surface, it sounds interesting: a half-Mexican woman goes to Mexico to get more in touch with her cultural heritage. It was pretty well regarded.

IT IS AWFUL, YOU GUYS.

I wanted to give it up halfway through the second issue because I was so bored. I just didn't care about anything! All the characters were annoying, and nothing fucking happened. Each issue seemed to be nothing more than the main character pissing off some new friend she makes, and since the story is from her perspective, it almost seems like you're supposed to feel sorry for the fact that she runs into so many assholes, but maaaaaybe she's the real problem here. She's so concerned with having an "authentic" experience that she can't accept the fact that she is not authentic, and it is not only impossible but insulting to step into another culture and pretend you're one of them.

There were small moments here and there where I saw the story I thought it was going to be, but they were few and far between. I thought it would be an interesting discussion of culture clashes and finding your cultural identity and appreciating your heritage and all that business, but instead it was just a boring-as-shit series of occurrences that don't provoke any emotional reactions. And the last couple issues were such a bizarre place to take the story. I have no idea what the hell she was trying to say with all that. Mexico is violent and dangerous? That is the ultimate point of this story, what? If I were one to throw things across the room, I would have done so.

This is the worst graphic novel I have ever read, hands down. Anyone want it? I can't get rid of it fast enough. Thankfully, omoo does not mind, as she did the same thing!

She also sent me Ocean, by Warren Ellis, who is one of those big names in comics like Grant Morrison that I haven't gotten into yet. It was pretty neat. It reminded me a little of Sunshine in that it's intelligent science fiction that ends up turning into an action movie. The basic premise is that a hundred years in the future, we discover caskets in the ocean of Europa, and these caskets contain...DEAD ALIEN BODIES! And there's a big giant mechanical weapon or something. And in the future, Microsoft has taken over the world and become DOORS. I read it a while ago; the details are fuzzy. But anyway, Samuel L. Jackson goes up to investigate the shenanigans with a ragtag crew of space misfits, and then there's a conspiracy and everything blows up or whatever. You know, the usual.

I enjoyed it, but it was nothing special, especially from a name like Warren Ellis. It's basically a decent sci-fi flick in comic form.

I present this post as evidence that I do not, in fact, OMG LOVE everything.
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: Nine Inch Nails - You Know What You Are?

(27 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:latropita
Date:May 5th, 2009 05:48 am (UTC)
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Hahahhahaa. With a recommendation like that, who could say no? (No thank you.)

Speaking of graphic novels, what did you get on FCBD?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 5th, 2009 05:57 am (UTC)
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Blackest Night: I was sort of lost since it's clearly in-continuity and setting up some big new EVENT, but it was a decent issue. I liked all the bonus material in the back!

Savage Dragon: Fun, although I had no idea DC had a Daredevil before Marvel did. And, shit, Savage Dragon sure has had a crappy fucking time of it.

Love and Rockets: I was completely lost through it all and I just quit after a while. Not my thing, despite Killer's gigantic boobs.

Resurrection: This was actually really neat, and I want to pick up the old version for six bucks. And I may read the new series. Looks good so far.

Aliens/Predator: The Aliens story was nice, but the Predator story was meh.

Avengers: Bendis! Spidey! Oh, God, of course Bendis writes a good Spidey, duh. Anyway, pretty fun issue, even though I have very little idea what's going on in the Marvel universe these days. Evil Avengers, what? Osborn in the Iron Man suit?? Wolverine has a son?? WHAT HATH CIVIL WAR WROUGHT?!
[User Picture]
From:duchessdogberry
Date:May 5th, 2009 06:33 am (UTC)
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Savage Dragon: Fun, although I had no idea DC had a Daredevil before Marvel did. And, shit, Savage Dragon sure has had a crappy fucking time of it.


Huh. Maybe I should actually look at my copy of that. I just figured the guy at the store was unloading whatever no one wanted on me and I didn't really look at it.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 5th, 2009 06:40 am (UTC)
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It's decent. I don't know anything about the character, but it seems like a fun title. This one time he fought Hitler.
From:wee_warrior
Date:May 5th, 2009 06:55 am (UTC)
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IT IS AWFUL, YOU GUYS.

LOL.

No, seriously, I think you're meant to be disgusted by her. She's being a total jerk, and she doesn't notice it until it's too late, and then she has botched her chance. I think the "message" is basically that you can't just go somewhere and expect a ready-made identity to be handed to you, that you have to build that up yourself. And that that won't work through alienating people and not looking past prejudices (which she never does, only that she has prejudices against both the Mexicans and the foreigners, and because she can't get over that she puts herself and that guy in deep trouble). I saw it as a critique on all those "white persons go to a foreign country and find themselves" novels, which are usually pretty colonial at least in spirit.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 5th, 2009 07:03 am (UTC)
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If that's the level it's meant to be understood on, then I guess it was successful. It seemed to me like it was supposed to be a serious story about this girl I was supposed to empathize with, and on that level, it failed. Most of the reviews I read of the book seemed to take it at face value too, lauding it for doing things I don't think it did. All your points are made by the comic, but in the most irritating way possible.
From:wee_warrior
Date:May 5th, 2009 07:26 am (UTC)
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This is the way I read it, anyway. I mean, maybe the reader is meant to have more pity for the girl in the end than I did (my reaction was pretty close to "well, sucks to be you, you stupid [censored]"), but the things she does are so radiantly stupid, and it's made very plain that she is basically at fault for putting herself and the other guy at jeopardy - something that could have been easily avoided if she had just paid a bit of attention while trying to be "authentic" - that I have trouble reading it as a story that is with her instead of about her.

From what I understand, it is not autobiographical other than that the author also lives/lived in Mexico (which is a relief in some way), so I would imagine more distance here than in a "common" biographical novel, too. For me, it was irritating at first, and then depressing, I suppose because I was expecting pretty much what you described as your expectations above. It's like expecting a handshake and getting a slap, in a way.

These reviews you mention would interest me, do you still have any links?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 5th, 2009 07:37 am (UTC)
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it's made very plain that she is basically at fault for putting herself and the other guy at jeopardy
Which pissed the living crap out of me because A) it didn't really follow and B) again, this is the message of the book, that if you go to Mexico on a misguided journey of self-discovery, Mexico will PUNISH YOU? Ugh.

It's like expecting a handshake and getting a slap, in a way.
Heh, that's a good way of describing it.

These reviews you mention would interest me, do you still have any links?
I wasn't thinking of anything specific. If you just Google the book, you'll find some. They're all, "Oh, it's so fantastic and emotional and riveting and incredible." And they love the art, which did nothing for me. Then again, I was barely paying attention to it by the second issue because I just wanted to get through the damn thing so it would be over.
From:wee_warrior
Date:May 5th, 2009 08:00 am (UTC)
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A) it didn't really follow and B) again, this is the message of the book, that if you go to Mexico on a misguided journey of self-discovery, Mexico will PUNISH YOU? Ugh.

I'm not sure about A), because I think at some point she could have noticed that her loving boyfriend and the Head Jerk were not only mean, but gangsters (not that she even noticed the former). As for B), in a way, yes, but just in a way. The problem is not only that her self-discovery is misguided, it's that she never, at any point, tries to find an actual authentic Mexico, she wants to find a Frida Kahlo Theme Park. She mainly likes her Mexican ancestry because it feels exotic and makes her cooler than the other kids, it has nothing at all to do with reality, and I think that sort of entitlement is what she gets punished for. I thought that this is basically where the title comes in - she is lost because she has no real identity, she just has aspects she doesn't like and pushes away, in this case both her American identity and that what isn't just fantasy about her Mexican heritage.

About the art, I think it's lovely, really. I also think it is a good book, it's just not very nice. I felt uncomfortable when reading it, maybe because some of the girl's behaviour is a mirror of how I think. Exaggerated, obviously, but I think enough of it hit home to make me feel very uncomfortable. And seriously, the girl is such a dish rag. There were very few moments when I didn't want to shake her.

(And don't get me wrong, I seriously doubt I would ever read it again. I certainly understand your reaction to the fullest, I just disagree about the actual quality of it.)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 5th, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
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I was wondering whether someone who actually liked it would respond! Thanks for your insights; they do help me see some good in it (and why most everyone else seems to like it). I guess it just didn't work for me, even though there were some interesting concepts buried in there.
[User Picture]
From:omoo
Date:May 5th, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC)
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I did like the cover art. The inside art was dull.

[User Picture]
From:wolfpilot06
Date:May 5th, 2009 07:00 am (UTC)
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Warren Ellis comedy books I have not read before, but I do follow his free webcomic!

http://www.freakangels.com

It's kind of awesome. :)

**Wolf**
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 5th, 2009 07:05 am (UTC)
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A girl in the comic book store told me about that! I like things that are free! I'll check it out one day. It does sound pretty cool.
[User Picture]
From:wolfpilot06
Date:May 5th, 2009 07:08 am (UTC)
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It is! Speaking of free things, this past Saturday was Free Comic Book Day. I failed to check it out myself, but did you?

**Wolf**
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 5th, 2009 07:12 am (UTC)
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Look above, lass.
[User Picture]
From:wolfpilot06
Date:May 5th, 2009 07:16 am (UTC)
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Ohh, durp, I missed that. :) Awesomeosity. Wish I'd remembered in time to check it out myself! Sadface.
[User Picture]
From:ashfae
Date:May 5th, 2009 12:21 pm (UTC)
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If you haven't read Cairo by G. Willow Wilson, DO IT RIGHT NOW!!!!
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 5th, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
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I've never heard of it! I'll keep an eye out for it on Wednesday and flip through.
[User Picture]
From:ashfae
Date:May 5th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
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I'm biased, I know the author (she used to date my brother). *gryn* But it's still REALLY good, one of the best graphic novels I've seen in years!
[User Picture]
From:omoo
Date:May 5th, 2009 12:23 pm (UTC)
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Once I sent you Runaways, that you liked.

I like Wee_Wariors take on the book, but like you I just found myself irritated by her bad decisions and blindess to what was going on.

On the memoir commic front, I really like Persepolies and subsequent books. I think you've already read them. Also Breakfast Afternoon, that is an interesteing mirror to our current economic times.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 5th, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Once I sent you Runaways, that you liked.
That is true! Thank you for those.

I like Wee_Wariors take on the book, but like you I just found myself irritated by her bad decisions and blindess to what was going on.
Yeah, it seems like you have to have a more objective take on what seems like a subjective story in order to appreciate it.

On the memoir commic front, I really like Persepolies and subsequent books. I think you've already read them. Also Breakfast Afternoon, that is an interesteing mirror to our current economic times.
I thought Persepolis was all right, but I didn't love it. I haven't heard of Breakfast Afternoon. Have you read Blankets? That's supposed to be good. It's novel-length, hundreds of pages.
[User Picture]
From:omoo
Date:May 5th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
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I have read Blankets. It was a great story, and I would recommend it. It deals quite heavily with Christanity and what it means to grow up Christian, which is something that I am not familiar with.

I think you'd really like Andi Watson. http://www.andiwatson.biz/
Besides Breakfast Afternoon, about what it means to be unemployed in a ression. There is also the Complete Geisha about an human formed android who wants to be a painter but makes money being a bodyguard. And Love Fights, set in a world where superheros need publists to be noticed, and stage fights to be in the news.

For teenage angst I really like Blue Mondays (there are only 4 volumns), but the hummor can be quite gross at times.

But you should look into none of these until you read Hawiian Dick =)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 5th, 2009 07:21 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It deals quite heavily with Christanity and what it means to grow up Christian, which is something that I am not familiar with.
Oh, interesting.

There is also the Complete Geisha about an human formed android who wants to be a painter but makes money being a bodyguard.
What! Ha.

And Love Fights, set in a world where superheros need publists to be noticed, and stage fights to be in the news.
Hee. She does sound fun.

But you should look into none of these until you read Hawiian Dick =)
One day!
[User Picture]
From:omoo
Date:May 5th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yeah, Andi watson is great. He fluctuates between stories set in 'the real world', Breakfast afternoon, Slow News Day and then these really weird worlds, Love Fights, The Complete Geisha. I think he's British.

From below- Rent the movie, I found it to be more captivating than the book, even though it was a lot of the same drawings.
[User Picture]
From:omoo
Date:May 5th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
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I forgot to ask, did you see the Persepolis movie?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 5th, 2009 07:21 pm (UTC)
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Not yet.
[User Picture]
From:foresthouse
Date:May 5th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
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LOL. I kind of love this post for the fact that it does show that you do not, in fact, OMG LOVE everything. ;) Hee.

Also: I like a good solid review that's not ashamed to say, "IT IS AWFUL, YOU GUYS."

I do not, however, like it enough to say I will take the graphic novel off your hands. Perhaps you should just hold a ritual burning? Hee.

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