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March 19th, 2012


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08:17 am - Novel or Graphic Novel?
So the Legend of Korra premiere leaked and IT IS SO AWESOME YOU GUYS OH MY GOD I CANNOT WAIT. If I post about the show when it airs, will people comment? Is this something people will talk about? Because apparently no one reads comics.





The Eternal Smile, by Gene Luen Yang (of American Born Chinese and Level Up fame) and Derek Kirk Kim, comprises three separate short stories that cover one of my favorite themes, the interplay between reality and fantasy. Each protagonist has a strong dream, a wish for something, but how will it be fulfilled, and at what cost? "Duncan's Kingdom," about would-be-king Duncan and his quest to defeat the Frog King, is the weakest story, largely because it is an idea that has been done many times before, but without frogs. It is executed well, but it lacks originality. "Gran'Pa Greenbax and the Eternal Smile," on the other hand, is more creative, following the exploits of a greedy frog and his attempt to cash in on a mysterious Eternal Smile in the sky. It's cute for most of the story, but the conclusion really gives it an interesting bite. "Urgent Request" is the strongest story, surprisingly, and it features no frogs at all. Janet Oh at CommTech feels ignored at work and finds meaning and significance in helping a Nigerian prince. Yes, the strongest, Eisner-winning story in this collection is about a woman falling for the Nigerian scam. But it becomes something lovely! Seriously.

What's most impressive about the collection is how different the stories are, both in style and especially in art. Derek Kirk Kim uses a number of different art styles, color schemes, and panel layouts, each appropriate for the story. Yang and Kim make a good team, and I hope to see them collaborate again in the future.



For years, I've wanted to read Ghost World, by Daniel Clowes. I remember really liking the movie, but apparently that was mostly because of Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson and the fact that the movie actually had a plot. In the graphic novel, Enid and Becky are two teenage girls who spend every waking minute viciously snarking on every single fucking human being they encounter, as if they are SO ABOVE IT ALL. Halfway through the book, I felt almost physically ill, they were such awful, vile people with no justification at all for their behavior. What was the point of this? Why was I supposed to care about these characters at all? Clowes tries to cram in an actual story and character development in the last two chapters, but by then, he had lost me. Man, fuck this book.



I Kill Giants, by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura, had been on my radar for a while, though I'm not sure why. However I first became interested in it, I'm really glad! Barbara Thorson is a fifth-grade girl and a hero for our time, for, as the title states, she kills giants. This is not an action-fantasy romp, however, but a lovely, haunting tale of a child who has to escape into a fantasy world, who must cling to it in order to face reality. We see that at home, her older sister, Karen is raising her and her brother on her own, and at school, she acts out constantly, eventually forced to see the school psychologist, Mrs. Molle. She is tormented by a bully, Taylor, but she also makes a new friend, Sophia. Their blossoming friendship is one of the highlights of the book, as Barbara is a tough nut to crack but does appreciate that someone likes her for who she is.

The fantasy aspects add a hefty dose of surreality to the story, and some of it doesn't entirely work, confusing the metaphor rather than holding it together. What does work, though, works astonishingly well, largely thanks to the black-and-white manga-inspired art. We feel so strongly for Barbara that we want her to vanquish giants, whether or not they're real. In only seven issues, Kelly so well depicts the relationships between Barbara and Sophia, Karen, and Mrs. Molle—all relationships between women, helping the book pass the Bechdel test with flying colors—that the climax is almost emotionally draining. Even if the final message is a bit too explicit, it is entirely earned and almost brought a tear to my eye.

Like Daytripper, this is one of those books I want to force on people who don't think graphic novels can be just as rich, rewarding, and emotionally compelling as regular novels.



In 300, by Frank Miller with coloring by Lynn Varley, 300 Spartan warriors go up against thousands of Persian warriors. They fight a lot. People die. The end. That is basically it. Something about honor and glory or something. There is very little in the way of character except for Leonidas and possibly Xerxes, the Persian god-king attempting to conquer Greece. The real strength of the book is Frank Miller's pulpy narration and the large, sprawling art that depicts the bloodbath, well, artfully. All the best, iconic moments and lines from the movie trailer are all here, and it manages to be less boring than the movie, possibly because it tries even less to have a plot. It is a decent, short read. Basically: that happened.



Can we also talk about Saga, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples's new comic, which has been described as "Star Wars meets A Game of Thrones"? Can we? Hello? Anyone? Because it's great.
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts III: 25

(18 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:sisterjune
Date:March 19th, 2012 01:35 pm (UTC)
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I am so excited for Korra! everyone keeps saying the premiere leaked and i'd love to see it now instead of waiting till april but i have no idea where it leaked! its not info people are sharing freely. also my friends on tumblr are spoiler phobes and want to wait till the april release to watch so i am kind on my own here. i already love korra to bits, she's got so many traits you dont usually see in a female hero. i hope i stumble upon the premiere soon!
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 19th, 2012 02:17 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]
From:justjohn
Date:March 19th, 2012 02:03 pm (UTC)

300

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I used to have the 300 hardcover whose pages were each the size of two comic book pages, so the wide art was uninterrupted by a fold in the middle.

[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 19th, 2012 02:16 pm (UTC)

Re: 300

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I think that's the only way it's been published, isn't it?
[User Picture]
From:justjohn
Date:March 19th, 2012 03:28 pm (UTC)

Re: 300

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Other than the original normal-format run of the comic books, perhaps. I haven't seen any other versions.
[User Picture]
From:beeker121
Date:March 19th, 2012 06:14 pm (UTC)
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Wait is that "Saga" thing out. Because with that author and that description I want it, a lot. How far behind am I?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 19th, 2012 06:16 pm (UTC)
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Issue #1 just came out! Go get it! $2.99 for 44 pages of BKV goodness!
[User Picture]
From:beeker121
Date:March 19th, 2012 06:21 pm (UTC)
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Adding a trip to the comic store to my to-do list for this week. Awesome!
[User Picture]
From:thetheatremouse
Date:March 19th, 2012 06:26 pm (UTC)
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Korra. Now. Yes please.

(Also, I do read comics but for some reason they don't make me feel as comment-ey as books or TV do.)

Edited at 2012-03-19 10:26 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:sophiap
Date:March 19th, 2012 06:29 pm (UTC)
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THE KORRA PREMIERE WAS SO AMAZING.

SO, SO, AMAZING.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 19th, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
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HOW IS IT SO GOOD?

WE ARE NOT WORTHY.
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From:loopychew
Date:March 19th, 2012 06:59 pm (UTC)
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OMG YES I WILL TALK ABOUT IT NOW AND WHEN IT AIRS AGAIN IT WAS AMAAAAAAZING
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 19th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
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I'M THE AVATAR AND YOU JUST GOTTA DEAL WITH IT!
[User Picture]
From:eldritch_flame
Date:March 28th, 2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
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LEGEND OF KORRA IS AMAZING. I loved everything about it! Wanting to talk about it was basically why I remembered livejournal exists! HOW WAS IT SO GOOD?! WHY ISN'T THERE MORE OF IT YET?!?!?! (I have rewatched all of AtLA book 1 and half of book 2 so far as a means of coping with the lack of new episodes.)

Also, I really want to check out Saga, and I Kill Giants and The Eternal Smile also sound really good, but I've been trying not to buy comics as they get to be somewhat of a drain on the resources. =(
Maybe my library will have them...
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 28th, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
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I got them from the library! You should check them out. And Saga is only three bucks for the first issue...but then you'll be hooked, so there's that.

I WANT MORE KORRA RIGHT NOW TOO.

I love when this icon is actually appropriate.
[User Picture]
From:eldritch_flame
Date:March 30th, 2012 08:53 pm (UTC)
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My library has both of them! Eeeeeexcellent.

Getting hooked is definitely a problem, although a greater problem is that little voice in the back of my head that whispers "and if I'm going to the comic book store, I might as well get..." and that is not a good thought process for me to be indulging. But maybe... Strange Adventures is right next to the library. Maybe I can in and out and only buy one thing. It - it could happen.

I WANT MORE KORRA SO HARD. I AM UP TO BOOK 3 OF AVATAR; SOME OF THE EPISODES IN BOOK TWO MADE ME CRY EVEN THOUGH I WAS EXPECTING THEM.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 30th, 2012 10:04 pm (UTC)
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Aw, hello, Delirium icon! I have not seen you in so long!

AVATAR SEASON TWO IS FULL OF AMAZINGNESS AND CRYING.
[User Picture]
From:eldritch_flame
Date:March 31st, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC)
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It's one of my favourites! I got to go to a Neil Gaiman talk & signing last summer in Edinburgh and I was gonna get him to sign Brief Lives for me since that is the book where I realised that DELIRIUM IS THE BEST but I packed the wrong volume and didn't realise until I was in Scotland! (It was still pretty rad though.)

I HAD "LITTLE SOLDIER BOY" STUCK IN MY HEAD FOR DAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYSSSSS AND IT GIVES ME ALL OF THE SAD FEELINGS.

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