Archive for the ‘Books + Comix’ Category

Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol

February 15, 2012

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Sometimes when reading comix I find the art so inspiring I need to snap a phone pic to remember it, especially if I borrowed the book from the library or a friend. Such has been especially the case with Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol series, which has some of the most wacked-out, colorful, and inventive art – the characters and storylines are equally insane.

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One of the coolest pages ever. Reminds me of Promethea –> always a good thing. 😉

(Where applicable plz to forgive crappy phone quality. Just wanted to talk about how awesome this series is, so you should really check it out for yourself. These panels are from Vol 2: The Painting That Ate Paris and Vol. 3: Down Paradise Way. I’ve only read the first 3 of 6 in his run on the series, have not read any other incarnations of it so I cannot compare it to them…)

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The antagonist team in Volume 2 is the Brotherhood of Dada. Clearly not your typical villains. They include The Quiz, who has every superpower you’ve never thought of, and Sleepwalk, pictured below:

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She can only use her powers when asleep, so she takes sleeping pills and listens to Barry Manilow before battle. In other news, I totally want to copy that makeup idea.

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One of the most unusual series I’ve read in pretty much every way. Shares a few things with the superhero genre, but spins off from it in a loopy, mutated way that is usually more dark. These would-be “heroes”, though fighting for the cause of good, feel like freaks and rejects themselves, and their “powers” often cause them considerable pain or trauma.

However, despite that serious overarching theme, there is a lot of humor, most of it bizarre. I absolutely love how flat-out WEIRD this series is.

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Haha. I love that so much.

One thing I have to just come out and say though, I’m not a fan of the original covers of the single-issue comics, which are included in the trade paperbacks. I feel they don’t mesh with the series itself, which is wacky and colorful… the covers are very harsh and realistic, drab color schemes, and totally different in tone and style… some of them are kind of gross! It makes me sad. Cause when I come across old single issues, my first instinct is to cringe, and then I’m like, “Oh! Doom Patrol, though.”

Anyway! Give it a look if you’re so inclined, try your library catalog or from Amazon.

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Time Masters/Moebius

January 30, 2012

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Since discovering French artist Jean Giraud AKA Moebius I have become obsessed with his work, particularly his SF/Fantasy stuff. In addition to his comix and art, he did production design and storyboards for The Fifth Element, Alien, TRON (1980), The Abyss, Little Nemo, and more. He also worked on the uncompleted Jodorowsky Dune film and his work has been a huge influence on Star Wars (especially the prequels), Blade Runner, and countless other SF works. He was one of the founders of the French magazine Metal Hurlant, which became Heavy Metal when brought to the US. And, a friend of Hayao Miyazaki, they have sometimes collaborated, and Moebius even named his daughter Nausicaa!

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Stills from the animated 1982 feature film The Time Masters, directed by Rene Laloux (whose most famous work is the 1973 animated feature for adults, Fantastic Planet), design by Moebius. (Overall I thought the movie was just OK, but I did like the visuals a lot.)

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These shots show some of what I love about his style. Crisp yet expressive lines, lots of gorgeous details, and some of the most delicious color palettes around… his work really is candy for the eyes. The comix are even better… more on which, I hope, later.

Back… to the Future

January 30, 2012

OH HAI. Wow, I fell off the blog hard there. No matter. Let’s just look at these neato book covers, shall we?

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BypassToOtherness

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I love pawing through piles of old sf books, most of all because of the *amazing* cover art work. I am unsure of any of the artists on these (snapped with my phone) so if anyone does know, please share in the comments!

Grand Graphic Novels: Y: The Last Man

April 1, 2010

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Now this was a fun read. And a quick read, because I consumed the 10-book run (60 individual episodes) rather voraciously. It’s addictive! Like, more enthralling than a TV series even. It’s Y: The Last Man, by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Pia Guerra. And it well deserves all the praise that’s been heaped upon it during its run over 5 or so years (ending in 2008).

I would definitely call it sci-fi, but it’s probably not like any sci-fi you’ve ever seen or read. I don’t think I’ve yet come across anything much like it… The premise is pretty extreme: at the beginning, a “plague” wipes out every male mammal, including all the men, except for one guy (the protagonist, Yorick, the titular “Last Man”).

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He embarks on a voyage spanning multiple continents, on a quest to find his long-lost fiancee Beth. Along the way we see how the world (the women) have been coping with and reacting to the catastrophe. It’s basically one incredibly cool idea or detail after another that make for a very complete, realistic, and satisfying adventure. The dialogue is as snappy and fast-paced as in Buffy TVS, and just as hilarious and loaded with pop culture references.

It also has quite the cast of crazy characters, in addition to Yorick himself, who is an escape artist. It includes astronauts, geneticists, secret agents, ninjas, pirates, cow“girls” (cowboys not appropriate, haha), crazed man-hating lesbians, and a monkey. Hey, the monkey plays a very important part in the plot. Seriously.

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Anyway, all wackiness aside, it’s also really thought-provoking, as any *real* SF should be, and makes a lot of interesting points pertaining to our own world. Or, I should say, it does a massively great job of… “speculating”, as it were. The series is a major achievement in any medium, and I’m bummed it doesn’t just go on and on forever. So do yourself a favor and CHECK IT OUT!!

The first episode is available to download here. They’re pretty cheap on Amazon, and to be honest, I checked all of them out from the library 🙂 But I definitely plan to buy them in the future.

City Life

March 10, 2010

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(Photo taken on top of my roof! woo)

Yesterday I came upon a promising pile next to a dumpster from which RoboCop’s steely visage gazed at me from a VHS tape box and I was lured in, like a moth to the flame (as many could tell you, RoboCop is basically catnip to Cutesaurus.) There were many more VHS, but none I felt I had to have in the end. (It turns out it was RoboCop 2, which I already own on VHS. Nerdout)

There was a box of books, however, which became increasingly exciting to me as I delved. The best thing was Martin Amis’ sizeable collection of essays, which I don’t already have and have been wanting!! ZOMG. Trash pile, you love me. I snagged a number of others including some Michael Palin travel books, a George Saunders novelette, and a few others.

Some of the books were a little bit wet, and I was at first perturbed by this news. It did rain a little this morning. I also gave a sniff and it seemed to be okay… and let’s be honest here. I probably would have taken the books anyway. Martin Amis!!

As I was pawing through them, a middle aged Middle Eastern woman (or, a MAME, if you will) was passing by and stopped to look at what I was doing, and peer at the goods. We exchanged words about the stuff, and I told her it was slightly wet, and she was like “Maybe somebody pee.” I was like OK. THANKS A LOT.

Anyway, needless to say I was *stoked*.

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(“So True” Cjaelzuriel’s Salon (?!?), Mr. Bling Bling, Esquire Salon… fine establishments all)

Hills aside, The City. It’s awesome. I have been walking until my feet and legs grow sore, exploring the neighborhood n stuff. I am already seeing two shows at the Fillmore soon, which is several blocks from my house. (Trivia: my first concert was at the Fillmore! Aww. It was Blondie and it was awesome.)

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(Not my house. I wish my house was cute like this. There are many other cutehomes in SF, as I’ve discovered repeatedly. Will try to document further instances.)

There have also been exciting sightings (that’s fun to say) of colorful folk. Last night I saw an azn dude dressed as Cloud Strife?? with the giant sword thing. Wish I had gotten a pic! Also I saw this awesome bike yesterday (though this was actually in Berkeley…)

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Also the neighbor’s cat and I have been exchanging gazes (I think it’d be fair to call them longing gazes) through the window across the narrow space between our buildings.

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(S)he stares at me very intently sometimes. Also in the last 24 hours (s)he was joined by a chihuahua (sadly did not document this photographically).

Grand Graphic Novels #1: Promethea

February 17, 2010

Well, I know I have lagged majorly on getting this going, but I’m going to dive right in and start raving at length about what I consider the most spectacular work I’ve yet encountered in the world of graphic storytelling. (Hopefully I will be more diligent about writing installments for this, cause.. comic books are amazing? haha)

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Anyway, Promethea. Written by Alan Moore, art by J. H. Williams III. To put it simply, it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever seen or read in any medium. While it has some things in common with “mainstream superhero comics”, it very clearly explodes any boundaries of genre or traditional comics increasingly as it progresses. To try to sum up the intricacies of the at-times out-there plot would not do it justice, so I can only recommend you pick it up for yourself, and proceed to talk about how awesome it is so you feel extra-compelled to do so.

It’s as intellectually profound as it is visually spectacular. It’s a sort of mind-blowing magical textbook, crammed with amazing ideas and some of the best art ever. It’s an incredible exploration of the mind, and I think, Alan Moore’s personal opus on his favorite concepts, magic and the imagination. It’s nothing short of masterful in its weaving of concepts and form, image and meaning. Fantastic in every sense – a feast for the eyes and mind.

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It’s also funny, and witty. Every part of it is spot on. It crackles with intellect and operatic splendor, as good in form as it is in ideas. The series itself a testament to the power of imagination, with dazzling developments and/or innovative design in each chapter. The series, collected in five books (only $10 each at Amazon! $15 each normally. sooo worth it.) an exhilarating read that ramps up a lot in each successive book. Each one is an awesome part of the story, but they definitely do need to be read in order.

(Incidentally I love imagining Promethea as a video game… it’s too good to be true though, haha. And I guess there’s a lot of exposition and exploring and talking and stuff, but there are some awesome fights and action stuff, especially near the beginning? And I have faith they could fill in some for the non-action parts!! Hahah. Basically I just want to be Promethea, ok??)

Grand Graphic Novels, Introductory

January 12, 2010

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I’ve been wanting to start a series in which I discuss *awesome* graphic novels for awhile, and this is me DOING IT! They have played a major part in my life (well.. in my mind’s life) over the last year (or two, kind of) and I have been reading a pittance of regular novels for the most part as a result :X I can’t stop with the comic books now!

I was first going to call this series ‘Great Graphic Novels’, but then decided ‘Grand’ might be a bit more apt. The first four dictionary definitions: 1. Outstanding, 2. Impressive (ambitious, far-reaching), 3. Worthy of respect, 4. Wonderful (enjoyable, memorable). That sums it up pretty well!

I never really was into comics as a kid… It just wasn’t something that I saw that much of, and what I saw didn’t necessarily pique my interest. I would read the strips in the paper sometimes, which usually weren’t very funny, but I liked some, like Calvin and Hobbes, and the Far Side.

I did get pretty into webcomics as a teen and into my young-young 20s (I am still in my early 20s. The ancient past… haha). There are too many awesome webcomics to even name, but sadly I haven’t really made time to read a lot of them regularly in quite some time. Two that I have kept up on that I especially love: Dino Comics and The Perry Bible Fellowship.

But little did I know what an exciting, vast, and amazing world existed just beyond my awareness. Until fairly recently (1.5-2 yrs ago), when I was completely thunderstruck by several works of Alan Moore’s, and I subsequently tumbled headlong into a very rich body of work from many artists and writers whom I would not hesitate to term geniuses. (genii?) Much more of which I have yet to plumb!! It seems like the supply of amazing work to read only ever gets longer and longer.

I will wait until next time to start discussing an actual series/work, in the interest of not having this be inordinately long. But I am excited to write about this topic! Though comics/graphic novels have gotten to be somewhat more popular/mainstream, with acclaim and recognition n stuff, I think they are still underappreciated overall and that they  could be appreciated by many more people who have not yet discovered how GREAT they are!!

Yes, I will shout my love loud and proud. Totally nerding out. Remind you of anyone??

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😉 hahaha. Stay tuned for more on graphic novels that will rock your little world.

Book Bonanza 2009

January 6, 2010

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Here’s what I read in 2009. My favorites of the year are bolded. I definitely read WAY more graphic novels than “regular” novels this year, largely thanks to the Berkeley Public Library [being awesome].

I also sharply fell off on reading novels this year for various reasons.. researching different projects took a lot of my reading time and involved reading bits of different books and articles which I did not feel counted toward this list. But, graphic novels! They are awesome.

BOOKS I READ IN 2009

Cosmopolis – Don DeLillo
The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
Helter Skelter – Vincent Bugliosi
Inside Scientology: How I Joined Scientology and Became Superhuman – Robert Kaufman
Nightshades: The Paradoxical Plants – Charles B. Heiser
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union – Michael Chabon
The Killing Joke – Alan Moore
The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury
Candy – Terry Southern
Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands – Michael Chabon
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon
Spider Kiss – Harlan Ellison
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture – Ariel Levy
A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick
The Cheese Monkeys – Chip Kidd
California’s Napa Valley: 160 Years of Winemaking – William Heintz
Where The Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media – Susan J. Douglas
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Promethea, Book 1 – Alan Moore
Maus I – Art Spiegelman
Maus II – Art Spiegelman
Napa – Jim Conaway
Icelander – Dustin Long
Black Swan Green – David Mitchell                                                   Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home (Season 8 Part 1) – Joss Whedon/ Georges Jeanty
The Tent – Margaret Atwood
A Year at the Movies – Kevin Murphy
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No Future for You (Season 8 part 2) – Brian K. Vaughan/Joss Whedon/Georges Jeanty
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life – Bryan Lee O’Malley
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – Bryan Lee O’Malley
Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness – Bryan Lee O’Malley
Top 10: The Forty Niners – Alan Moore, Gene Ha
Serenity: Those Left Behind – Joss Whedon, Will Conrad
Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together – Bryan Lee O’Malley
Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe – Bryan Lee O’Malley
Smax – Alan Moore, Zander Cannon
Serenity: Better Days – Whedon, Brett Matthews, Will Conrad
Buffy TVS: Tales of the Slayers – Joss Whedon, et al.
The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes (Vol. 1) – Neil Gaiman
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Century: 1910 – Alan Moore
Promethea, Book 2 – Alan Moore
Batman: Year One – Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli
Transmetropolitan: Lust for Life (book 2) – Warren Ellis
Promethea, Book 3 – Alan Moore
A Question of Attraction – David Nicholls
Tom Strong’s Terrific Tales, Vol 1 – Alan Moore
Love and Rockets: Music for Mechanics (Volume 1) – Los Bros Hernandez
Midnight Days – Neil Gaiman
Tom Strong, Volume 2 – Alan Moore
Promethea, Book 4 – Alan Moore
Promethea, Book 5 – Alan Moore
Transmetropolitan: Tales of Human Waste (Volume 0) – Warren Ellis
Tom Strong, Volume 3 – Alan Moore
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Frank Miller
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Planetary: All Over the World and Other Stories (Vol. 1) – Warren Ellis
Planetary: The Fourth Man (Vol. 2) – Warren Ellis

Total: 59. To be fair a lot of these were pretty short, so it’s kind of cheating.

So, I only named 9 favorite books/novels there (counting Maus as one unit, and it is a graphic novel anyway, but it’s a very novelistic one..)

My favorite graphic series of the year:

Promethea

Scott Pilgrim

Planetary

any Joss Whedon comics

Also Transmetropolitan and Tom Strong, though I still need to read more of both.

I forgot to mention another resolution in my New Year’s post. READ MOAR!! As always.

Vintage dressessss

November 19, 2009

So I took some pics of my new dresses (2 of them, anyway). They are sooo preeetty and I really hope I somehow find an occasion to wear them to. 😉

This is one I assume is from the 80s (I had to take out these ginormous shoulder pads, haha). I love the fabric, it’s super sparkly and looks neat with the draping/ruching.

dressz3(haha, modeling sesh in my cluttered room)

The back is pretty awesome too:

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The other one is also really cool, but in a different way. It’s kind of a ‘neon peasant’ look if you will. 😉

dressz7Ahhh I love this! The colors and fabric are so great. I do think I’m going to cut it to a little above the knee, though. I think it will be really fun to pair accessories with this one ❤

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After snapping these pics, I ended up going outside and reading, and changed into this (far less exciting):

readingoutfit But the shoes are pretty exciting.. patent periwinkle loafers, oh my. I also have been loving this pink/blue/white plaid shirt (thx Target).

I went outside armed with my turquoise blanket and this book, which I have just started reading. The cover is fuzzy, btw.

gone_away_world More on that later!

Oh yes, and I snapped a pic of my books purchased in Reno.. the Salman Rushdie one definitely looks like a *FuTuRe bOoK*

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Awesome Berkeley bargains and freebies thus far…

November 9, 2009

Berkeley is a pretty hip place, and a great place for thrifting, consignment, garage sales, etc etc. Sometimes people even leave boxes/bags of stuff out in front of their house for the taking, some of which is actually good!

I got these two books out of a free bag…

henrypoodleLike new hardcover Harry Potter 7 (a $35 book!) and a poodle care manual with a hilarious cover portrait. I don’t intend to keep this for much longer (honest), but rather to leave it somewhere funny for an unsuspecting stranger to find.

The other day I got two more tiny delights from a box on top of someone’s recycle bin.

raphnmeLego Ninja Turtle (Raphael, my childhood favorite. Red is the closest color to pink, you see) and a plastic R (for my name and also Raphael, haha). Sara got Donatello and a few other little Lego people. Thanks, mysterious Berkeley strangers!

Moving on to items that actually cost money, albeit a small amount, I got this neon red bodysuit/leotard in nice condition from a garage sale for $1.

neonredbodysuitBallet rave. Need 2 find neon 22 now haaaah

I also went to Target and got some nice sale items for very cheap. Braided green belt for $3.70!

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And this big bright blue sweater dress thingie for $7. I love it! It’s so cozy and nothing like anything else I own. I like wearing it with belts so it doesn’t look like a tent 😉

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In other news, I put my new R on a chain and made a necklace.

mynameisr1 Ahhhh I love this so much it’s kind of silly, haha. I think it’s because I found the R (well, actually Sara found it cause she was the one who started going through the box.. credit where credit is due) and I normally don’t like yellow but in this case I will make an exception.