2 stars (it was OK). Saying i'm underwhelmed by the 9/11 widow's book about her personal experience feels a lot like admitting i'm unimpressed by Speci2 stars (it was OK). Saying i'm underwhelmed by the 9/11 widow's book about her personal experience feels a lot like admitting i'm unimpressed by Special Olympians' athletic achievements. But! nothing especially noteworthy arises from this story.
We “learn” that bureaucracies are heartless and inefficient and that people are generally unwilling to be sympathetic for very long. I think we all know that everybody endures hardships. And nobody likes it when we must fight for what’s rightfully due, especially from charitable or humanitarian institutions whose advertised purposes are to aid people in our specific situation. Plus, we’re hurt when our closest friends and family tell us they’re sick of hearing us complain.
Maybe i’m just a heartless, unsympathetic, envious bureaucrat. I will search the interwebs for something to make my heart grow 3 sizes.
Must i hear annoying pomposity and extreme pettiness when Torres says, “There’s this contrast of really thoughtful, nice things going on, and yet, there’s this weird ‘How come everybody doesn’t know how to behave?’ sensation,” while talking about a charity worker from whose nose Kleenex dangles as he tries to help her? (Newsarama.com, 2008)
4.5 stars (not sure why i won't give it a full 5) because... I love The Tick. I rarely laugh out loud when reading but Edlund's creation consistently o4.5 stars (not sure why i won't give it a full 5) because... I love The Tick. I rarely laugh out loud when reading but Edlund's creation consistently opens me up.
If you think that The Tick is an attempt to undermine the positive aspects of the superhero mythos, then you're clearly too sensitive about the superhero mythos.
I understand why the cartoon did not make it explicit that The Tick is clinically insane, but that layer makes for a much richer experience.
2.5 stars: i expected to like Tank Girl but i won't be proceeding beyond this disappointing volume.
I was as much put off by the vapid "stories" and "c2.5 stars: i expected to like Tank Girl but i won't be proceeding beyond this disappointing volume.
I was as much put off by the vapid "stories" and "characters" as i was tickled by Hewlett's frenzied, vivacious illustrations. Action and energy erupt breathlessly from every page, but if this were an accurate metaphor for The Ultimate Creation, our universe would be even more chaotic and random than it seems to today's most disaffected youth. This disconnectedness, which i used to assume signified depth, nowadays strikes me as an unavoidable side effect of adolescent haste. Thus, as an ossified geezer, i would only recommend these comix for people still capable of reviving their teen mindset. Even better if you came of age in the 1980s (ie, you're a fortysomething). Best of all, if you still self-identify as Punk, you might dig Hewlett + Martin's offerings.
(furthermore, the editor in me cringed at the myriad spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors but that's no reason to dislike a book, right?)...more
First, two favorite quotes. The babe, with a cry brief and dismal Fell into the water baptismal. 'Ere they'd gathered it's plight It had sunk out of sightFirst, two favorite quotes. The babe, with a cry brief and dismal Fell into the water baptismal. 'Ere they'd gathered it's plight It had sunk out of sight, For the depth of the font was abysmal.
That's gonna be my favorite limerick for quite some time.
And from the otherwise not-so-memorable "Wuggly Ump," there's a terrific drawing of the great beast almost literally flying (over a swamp?) toward his inevitable destination and a caption
The moon is full: its silver beams Shine down and give us lovely dreams.
which, in combination, strike a chord with me.
"The Gashlycrumb Tinies" cracked me up from start to finish, especially the less literal drawings, such as that of poor Titus.
The drawings, oh! the drawings! Completely unlike the hollow emptiness of Clumsy’s illustrations, Gorey’s images are both full and ethereal. The brief textual counterparts to each caption and the individual panels themselves are static and separate from one another. These are not comics by today’s standards. Gorey’s visual and linguistic aspects exhibit artistic merit even when an illustration “merely” shows exactly what is written—or maybe when the words “merely” state what has been drawn. (I can’t resist bashing another “classic” here even though i couldn’t read more than the first couple pages: Have you read Why I Hate Saturn? No? Good. Don’t. Though its style is mechanically similar to Gorey’s [static panels with caption/text below], its artwork was horrid and its words uninspired.)
Perfunctory Summaries The Unstrung Harp = the story of a novelist’s process. The Listening Attic = a collection of limericks, many of which are worth learning by heart, including the one quoted above. The Doubtful Guest = the silent events following a queer creature’s unexpected arrival at a mansion. The Object-Lesson = an exercise in non sequiturs? The Bug Book = a children’s tale that some have called racist because Gorey made the bad bug black (then again, maybe there’s justification from knowledge of Gorey’s personal writings; without that, however, the story isn’t implicitly racist). The Fatal Lozenge = an alphabet of quirky quatrains. The Hapless Child = is about exactly what the title says it is about. The Curious Sofa = pornography without nudity? precursor to Saw? i was confused and i was amused. The Willowdale Handcar = 3 young adults ride the rails and encounter horrible happenstance. The Gashlycrumb Tinies = a deadly alphabet/poem with probably the world’s only rhyme scheme AB|CD|EF|...|YZ. The Insect God = a child is abducted by insects. The West Wing = wordless, weird. The Wuggly Ump = 3 kids play while the title monster galumphs ever nearer. The Sinking Spell = What is it? It’s it. The Remembered Visit = a girl goes on holiday with her parents and grows up....more
Not dreadful. Maybe Brown has given us an accurate picture of young love. It reminded me quite a bit of my own first serious "relationship." Even so,Not dreadful. Maybe Brown has given us an accurate picture of young love. It reminded me quite a bit of my own first serious "relationship." Even so, i was not entertained in any way except for a couple vignettes that were surprisingly sexy despite their surface ugliness. I can't appreciate the drawings until somebody teaches me how. A cover blurb by Robert Kochalka (i think) says something like the frailty of Brown's lines perfectly represents the frailty of love. I would say instead that the emptiness of every figure perfectly represents the hollowness of immature love. Is this just a case of me seeing the glass as half empty and Kochalka seeing it half full?...more
I can't dispute criticisms of this book's unoriginality, but i was not at all put off by the characters (even when they were shallow cliches or stereoI can't dispute criticisms of this book's unoriginality, but i was not at all put off by the characters (even when they were shallow cliches or stereotypes) and i didn't mind that the various plot lines didn't amaze me. I'm gonna guess that Robinson's style in general grew out of imitation of Dave Sim. I had fun straining to read book titles in the background of so many panels. I was tickled when i recognized a background character as being in the style of or "stolen" from other cartoonists and/or comic artists. I would've enjoyed this story just as much or possibly more if it had been more dedicated to Ed's story. Relegating Sherman and his girl/work troubles to very minor roles couldn't have hurt. But it's a good, honest effort from start to finish despite nothing especially noteworthy (good or bad)....more
I'll say it again: i need to read Woodring's books in a classroom with people who really know their sequential arts cuz i really like them but i'm conI'll say it again: i need to read Woodring's books in a classroom with people who really know their sequential arts cuz i really like them but i'm confident i'm getting only 25% of the experience through my visually inept brain....more
Most people who like comix will probably like this more than i did and i found it mostly satisfying.
As much as i simply enjoy reading comic books, i'mMost people who like comix will probably like this more than i did and i found it mostly satisfying.
As much as i simply enjoy reading comic books, i'm still frequently disappointed that i don't get as much pleasure from the illustrations as from the stories and language. When the plot's intriguing and/or the characters are interesting but the images seem redundant and/or unnecessary, i tend to give 3-star ratings.
I haven't read anything else by Shaw so maybe this book's style is deliberate. If so, he gave himself quite a challenge because simple line work fails to convey subtleties such as sunsets, beaches at high tide, or even the experience of going through a car wash. Other reviewers praised Shaw's drawings, so maybe my visual acumen is too weak to appreciate his art.
My favorite part was waiting for the penny to drop regarding Peter's peculiar appearance. I trusted that Shaw had a good reason for it and he validated that trust.
I also quite liked breaking the father's love letter code. But that doesn't make this a better than average book for me.
How ironic! I can't seem to get myself to write a review.
Suffice to say, i just might buy my own copy and reread it a few times and put its exercisesHow ironic! I can't seem to get myself to write a review.
Suffice to say, i just might buy my own copy and reread it a few times and put its exercises to the test and recommend it to anybody who says they're looking for inspiration.
I tend to like books about The Creative Process, especially inspirational ones for aspiring writers such as Bird by Bird, The Art of Fiction, and this one.
I've always been afraid of Lynda Barry's books, like i wouldn't/couldn't understand them, cuz there's so much going on on every page. She packs most pages here with visual collage, snippets of text cut from everywhere. Even though i probably rushed through it more quickly than is advisable, i found enough patience to occasionally luxuriate. My eyes are instantly drawn to anything that resembles writing, so it's also a challenge to remember: Look at the pictures!...more
Another strong 4.5-stars book. I read the wordless final ~20 pages three times yesterday, including once right before finally going to sleep. And theAnother strong 4.5-stars book. I read the wordless final ~20 pages three times yesterday, including once right before finally going to sleep. And the ending still has me scratching my head, in a good way.
2 quibbles a) it's classified as a young adult book but i believe it's written for adults 2nd of all, the speech bubbles were frequently unnecessarily difficult to connect to the speaker (ie, in my opinion, there was no benefit to the ambiguity or uncertainty and i wondered if the difficulty was unintentional)....more
Adrian Tomine's characters and stories are not for me. I rapidly skimmed the title story (2nd of 4 in this collection) from about the midpoint. SomedaAdrian Tomine's characters and stories are not for me. I rapidly skimmed the title story (2nd of 4 in this collection) from about the midpoint. Someday i hope to understand what other people have enjoyed so much about his work as it'll likely mean i've learned something about Gen Xers. For now, i feel more alienated from Tomine's work than his typical lead characters feel from the girls they long for.
Upon further self-examination: I feel affronted, angry, irritated. I'm fighting an urge to create a mean-spirited parody of this book. And to say unkind things about its author, about whom i know absolutely nothing personal. I realized a while ago that i probably hate the Black Crowes and Green Day not because they are inherently void of musical talent but because their talent violates some basic assumption i have about music. Furthermore, the strength of my loathing probably indicates that they display above average talent. Maybe i should conclude the same about Tomine and his comix....more
Whenever i read one of Paul's reviews before writing one of my own, i just shrivel up and decide, "There's no point to me writing anything about thisWhenever i read one of Paul's reviews before writing one of my own, i just shrivel up and decide, "There's no point to me writing anything about this book," though i will quibble with him to say that Tomine's Asian characters did not all look like generic Americans to me (maybe my eye for comix nuance has improved marginally?); and since i concur with Paul's complaint about the book's size, i propose that Tomine actually finish the story rather than choosing a nice, artsy-fartsy stopping point. Finally, i guess i'll give Summer Blonde a shot.
No, wait! Here's the final thing: Stupid me; if i really wanted to maximize the number of people reading my thoughts on this book, i should've just included them as comments to Paul....more
Helen Potter is a homeless British teen with a pet rat. She moves from place to place, searching for a semblance of comfort. One form of peace comes fHelen Potter is a homeless British teen with a pet rat. She moves from place to place, searching for a semblance of comfort. One form of peace comes from drawing and painting, specifically recreating Beatrix Potter's illustrations. She doesn’t trust anybody and she hates to be touched, especially by men. We all know why but we’ll still learn from these pages. (view spoiler)[We also see her quest succeed. (hide spoiler)]
Not an easy read, but it’s the right, good kind of difficulty. Some people can’t tolerate cruelty to animals or infidelity or murder or you-name-it. This particular issue always hits me hard. I mean, does anybody really want to read about a kid who endures this? Better said: Does anybody really want this to happen? A sad truth (see this book’s opening and closing essays): even though we all know it happens, we want to believe it’s extremely uncommon and we want nobody to speak of it. A happy truth: more people are becoming brave enough to expose it for public consideration. Better still: they’re doing it in a diversity of ways sophisticated enough to prevent easy dismissal by even the staunchest censors and denialists.
You’ve probably noticed that i haven’t named “it.” Does that make it less scary or does that give it more power? Am i scared of it or am i asserting my power over it? I used to think i knew the answers to these questions.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Reading this book was like having sex with Gilbert Hernández: i didn't know what he was doing at first and wasn't sure i liked it; i wasn't sure whatReading this book was like having sex with Gilbert Hernández: i didn't know what he was doing at first and wasn't sure i liked it; i wasn't sure what i should be doing at first and was afraid i was messing things up; but eventually it felt about as good as i think it can get with somebody you don't love. 3.5 stars.
Based on other reviewers' opinions, i probably should've read something else as my first foray into the worlds created by the Bros. Hernández. Maybe Locas?...more
Anya is the teenage daughter of a Russian immigrant. The faI strongly recommend reading Anya’s Ghost, especially in tandem with American Born Chinese.
Anya is the teenage daughter of a Russian immigrant. The family now lives in New England. She attends a mediocre private school. She has one friend, Siobhan (who, i’m embarrassed to admit, i didn’t realize was a girl for a very long time: i have weak comix detail recognition skillz). Anya has an especially exasperating morning which results in her falling into a dry well in the park as she’s ditching school in a huff. At the bottom of said well, she meets Emily, the titular ghost. Emily becomes Anya’s new, secret friend. Beyond this, i’d be giving away too much.
My favorite part of this book is how Brosgol expertly shows that manipulative people deserve to be pitied, that sadness + loneliness are at the heart of their antisocial behavior, that they’re just like non-manipulators except that they’ve opted to feel connected (or satisfied) by attempting to control the world around them, usually with almost logical sounding rationalizations. (I wonder if pity for them could prove to be their kryptonite.)
How i wanted to frame this review
INT. COUNSELOR’S OFFICE – MORNING
A teenage boy, AMERICAN BORN CHINESE, and a teenage girl, ANYA’S GHOST, sit nervously. Each avoids eye contact. COUNSELOR enters abruptly.
COUNSELOR AMERICAN BORN CHINESE? This is ANYA’S GHOST ... your twin sister.
I couldn't think of books to play the parents and counselor or i would’ve gone further with this. Instead, just another half-baked idea....more
As much as i wanted to like this series, i had to stop ~200 pages into volume 4 because i couldn’t endure the style any longer. Books intended for youAs much as i wanted to like this series, i had to stop ~200 pages into volume 4 because i couldn’t endure the style any longer. Books intended for young readers can be more artful than this. I don’t think i’m asking too much. Nakazawa chose to fictionalize, and his brand of fiction just doesn’t appeal to me even though i desperately wanted a frank depiction of the horror created by America’s destruction of Hiroshima (and Nagasaki) with atomic bombs. I applaud him for creating this major work and i’m happy that so many people can appreciate it. I give it 3 stars for its Importance....more
I feel less compelled than usual to bother sharing my own ideas because there are so many great reviews of this book already available and with ratingI feel less compelled than usual to bother sharing my own ideas because there are so many great reviews of this book already available and with ratings from 1 to 5 and disparate points of view. I almost couldn't find a review i didn't want to read. I found only the tolerable kinds of repetition among the first dozen or so reviews, but all of them also mentioned points i felt were key to my personal relationship to this book. People who rated it highly might also strongly disagree with all or most of Brown’s arguments for decriminalizing prostitution. People who rated it poorly might actually agree with some of his thoughts about romantic love but downgraded the work for monotony. It’s as if every well-expressed opinion seems valid to me. I almost don’t want to give it a rating of any kind. I don’t want to try to write what i think about it. I’m not certain exactly what i think of it, but ... i couldn’t help thinking that the one review lauding its illustrations must’ve been sarcastic, but ... maybe the lack of variety in visual detail is the author’s point or ... maybe it’s impossible for Brown to differentiate his experiences other than by his level of enjoyment.
I was intrigued by the premise and i read it through very eagerly, mostly. In retrospect, maybe my experience of this book is analogous to Brown’s experience in Ch. 27 (Arlene). I’m not surprised at how many reviewers mention this chapter. One can hardly believe that Brown wrote this book at all. Then to see his behavior for 180+ pages and still you’re surprised by this episode. Arlene repeatedly says “Ow!” as Brown is thrusting into her. He asks if it hurts and she says no. More Ow!ing elicits "Are you really 18?" Then we get his further skeevy thoughts so we'll know he’s going to chivalrously(?) climax quickly to spare her any further pain, y’know, if she’s even feeling any pain ... but not after he notes—perhaps so that we’ll see what a great sacrifice he’s making—that the appearance of her pain turns him on. THAT is how i felt about myself while reading this book. Please think well of me for being open-minded enough to read this book and ignore that even though i enjoyed the discomfort i felt while reading it, i didn’t revel in my prurient enjoyment; i got it over with quickly. Glad i read it. Not glad i read it. I hope this review is less enjoyable than the book and less enjoyable than most of the really good, solid reviews already deservedly voted to the top.
Alright, i'm not giving up just yet. You're gonna get more from me, unless you exercise your free will and move along.
Shouldn’t the medium be important, perhaps essential, to art? I mean, it shouldn’t just be incidental to whatever “skill” the “artist” happens to think s/he has, right? So, does this particular comic book need to be a comic book? Couldn’t it just be a paper submitted to an academic journal? Wouldn’t that jibe better? The value of the “appendices” wouldn’t be an issue because they’d actually be the bulk of the Discussion. I understand it’s intended to be a memoir, but as a Form, the memoir seems ill-suited to Brown’s intention. Obviously, i’m guessing at what he hoped to accomplish, but it certainly felt like an unusual book of memories. Doesn’t it seem more likely he wanted to write an essay in support of decriminalizing prostitution and he felt that his anecdotal experiences might convince us of his lay expertise (pun intended)? Ugh. Really. I’ll stop there. *sorry*...more