In Which We Discover That Homework Ain’t Gettin’ Done

December 9, 2009

So, after declaring my intentions to read Paradise Kiss and write about it publicly, it pretty much felt like homework, and in deference to decade old traditions I read a chapter of it and then got scared and stopped.

Then I read Secret Invasion: Frontline post-pub and scribbled some notes for a post about the human cost of Fight Comics only to have this article by Tucker Stone and Jog pop into my RSS reader on hangover morning. I can’t compete with that so it went in the bin.

A Retrospective Introduction.

December 4, 2009

Yotsuba&!, Pluto, Lone Wolf & Cub, 20th Century Boys, Solanin.

It’s been a very Manga few months in my world.

I’ve read Manga for a few years, Lone Wolf was one of the first series I ever started buying back when I picked up the comics habit, but I’ve been very choosy, sticking to creators that I love and not venturing much further until enough buzz is generated in my earshot around a particular book, hence the full-on Urasawa love affair of this summer.

Ai Yazawa is totally different in that I’d never come across a single word about her before I picked up Paradise Kiss. ParaKiss leapt of the shelves at me, like very few books ever have, and one flick through volume 1 sold me hard enough to pick up the first 3 books instantly.

It’s a pretty big deal for me to take a chance on parting with cash on something I haven’t already looked into already, and that goes double for Manga.

David Uzumeri suggested I blog some more, so I’m going to re-read ParaKiss this weekend. Whether I post as I go, or wait and do a larger piece early next week (or forget the whole thing) remains to be seen.

To start off here’s a brief piece I wrote for a review thread on Barbelith, back on the 17th July, 2007:


Not a new release, but I picked up the first three volumes of Paradise Kisstoday. I just finished the first book and have ordered the final two.

It’s a “fashion manga” about Yukari, a simple girl, with a simple crush on a simple guy who want’s nothing more than to do well on her exams and make her parents happy. That is until she’s “kidnapped” by the members of the Paradise Kiss design studio, a bunch of art students who want her to model their final project.

The character designs are really strong, punky Arashi, Loli-doll Miwako, towering transvestite Isabella, and proud bi-sexual head-designer, George. It takes all of ten pages and they’re all complete people in your head.

So far the plot has dealt with Yukari:

1.becoming dissilusioned with study after finally meeting people doing what they want, and being excited about it.

2.Falling head of heels in love with George, and out of it with her school boy crush (who is in love with Miwako, who is in a relationship with Arashi (And in love with school boy crush))

3.Agonising over whether or not to take the modelling job, she’s doing badly enough at school as it is.

It doesn’t sound special, but everything happens with such incredible pace, with an amazingly refreshing sense of humour, that you can’t help but be swept along. I haven’t been so caught up in a book for so long, I even let out an “Oh No!” when Yukari realises that George has read her student pass, which contains a picture of her (almost) forgotten crush.


I really dislike re-reading old things I’ve written…

If I don’t find anything interesting to say about ParaKiss or I do and enjoy myself, I’ll probably blog a little about Lone Wolf and Solanin (Which I re-read this very afternoon.)

Another thing I’ve noticed

September 19, 2009

I’ve ALWAYS been heavily towards the writing side in the great Art/Writing debate. It’s where all my abilities, education, experience, and ambition lie.

I like to think I can do a fair job of art critique (In Comics, of course, not fine art or modern art or any of that PROPER ART) when that’s the intent of a piece. But if I sit down to talk about a comic, 9 times out of 10, the art’ll only get a cursory mention.

The other times it’s a Quitely/Phillips/Stewart/Williams/Bond joint.

In Review.

September 19, 2009

I did a post!

I’m not that happy with it. It’s rambly and distracted.

I prefer my reviews in depth and technical, looking at the mechanics of the script and art from panel to page to issue to series, but That’s why all my reviews get stuck in draft. The object was to get words on the Internet and that happened.

It was fun.

I enjoyed it.

Please comment, and most definitely call me on any bullshit you spot. Can’t have bullshit cluttering up the place.

Some Thoughts

September 19, 2009

Today I came to the realisation that it’s closer to two years than one since I last got a Piece of fiction, a review, an article or an essay past the rough draft/ideas stage. So here is some stuff what I thought about some comics what I bought yesterday. It will be cathartic.

Doom Patrol #2

Adding this to my pull was the biggest risk I’ve taken in a long time. The only Doom Patrol I’ve read after Rachel Pollack’s run, is the Infinite Crisis stuff that took place in Teen Titans, and as is usual for DC comics of that period, I remember shit all about it.

But thankfully, Kieth Giffen made it clear in his first issue that I shouldn’t really have been paying attention anyway, by dramatically getting rid of half the team. Leaving a core cast that, while different than I’ve ever seen them, really feel like a Doom Patrol. Three damaged individuals leaping head first into SCIENCE MYSTERY at the behest of a weird old wanker who wants them all dead.

The rest of the comic, outside of the Adventures, hasn’t really cohered for me. I’m not entirely sure who anyone is, and I’m unclear as to where Giffen is ultimately taking these threads. (This maybe because I was totally wankered when I read issue #1)

The info dump captions taking the form of journal excerpts and scientific papers etc. Are so far all interesting and informative, giving insight into both plot and cahracter, but they’ll quickly get me irritated if they don’t get a more concrete link to the Text soon. They’re haphazard and random.

I haven’t mentioned the art yet. It’s the best I’ve seen Michael Clark draw to date. It’s boring and generic, but I don’t hate it. Definite plus.

Adventure Comics #2

I would utterly love if a genuine plot never arose here, it could just be the UTTERLY CHARMING adventures of Superboy for a dozen issues or more and I’d be onboard. So it’s disheartening to discover that it ends at #6, and #4 and 5 are MELODRAMA AND GORE crossover issues.

The scenes between Kon-El and Wonder Girl that form the bulk of this issue are wonderful. It’s very nice to see Teenage Romance depicted without any of the shrill histrionics that usually signify the genre in comics, DC’s Titans characters in particular. It all feels emotionally honest and realistic.

I’m loving the core concept of the series, Superboy’s desire to how much of his past and his future is determined be his genetics. It’s not a new idea, but John’s has a new take on it in Kon-El’s simplistic but organized scheme of self-critique. IT’S ALL JUST SO GODDAM CHARMING.

Beasts of Burden #1

This book is fucking gorgeous. I’ve been a fan of Jill Thompson for years, and this is top drawer stuff. It’s a nice one shot about a group of dogs and cats taht solve mysteries. This issues mystery: Frogs that fall from the sky and eat each other until they’re big enough to eat other things.

According to the Editor’s essay at the end of the issue, this is the actually the fifth Beasts of Burden story, which explained why I was so lost throughout. The plot itself is simple and clear, but there’s quite a large cast, and introducing each member, giving a snapshot of their personalities, AND referencing past events and setting them up for future arcs is quite overwhelming. I don’t think Evan Dorkin did a bad job, particularly, but he aimed to achieve a lot, and didn’t quite pull it off smoothly or organically.


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