Monday, August 14, 2006

Totally forgot to post this earlier

I’m writing while sipping a cup of coffee and wondering where all my fellow employees are. Mmmm. Coffee. I like my coffee like I like my women. Large and bitter.

I managed to read a lot of books this weekend and I’ll get to those in a little while. But first let me point out a few things I’m liking. First up, Chris celebrates a birthday with face kicks. Ian has a make-over. Scipio posts the cat. And Sterling unleashes a blanky. I'll post my contribution as soon as blogger lets me upload images.

So, as I said, I read quite a few books this weekend. I’ve been out of sorts recently since there’s a lot going on at the moment, what with getting married, turning thirty and waiting to hear about a job interview I think went well for a job that is unbelievably unique. More on that if I get it I assure you.

That means in between anxious pacing I sat down and read all of the following: Will Eisner’s The Plot, Corey Lewis's Sharknife, Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat, Seth’s Clyde Fans Book 1, Ande Parks & Chris Samnee's Capote in Kansas and J.P. Stassen's Deogratias. Quite the mixed bag I think but I have to admit I forget most of the notes I made in my head to bring up for a post. I’m sort of pre-occupied these days what with the “hoping everything works out for the best.”

Here’s the quick hits reviews.

The Plot
This book is absolutely fascinating and stunningly beautiful to look at. I didn’t know anything about The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (hello white supremacists and anti-Semites searching Google) and the enduring nature of a proven forgery. The borderless artwork helps reflect the integrated nature of the book itself. Just as the stories of the people presented here blend together because of their relation to The Protocols, the forgery itself has managed to blend itself into global society around the world. Quite simply The Protocols survive because people forget. What struck me was the ability of the book to be proven false, time after time, but it still gets used repeatedly to prove a false point. It goes away, only to rise again somewhere or when the people have forgotten about it being a fake. Not only is the story itself quite unique, you’re treated to more Eisner artwork. Somehow, this guy seems to have just gotten better as he aged. I read The Spirit for beginners book a few months ago and loved it but the artwork here seems that much more accomplished while holding onto a classic quality. I sort of felt like the art belonged to an earlier time period like the Twenties or Thirties. It wasn’t dated, it just felt properly aged.

I have no idea what happened in this book. It was like trying to understand a four year old who ate a pound of gummy bears dipped in sugar. It looked good, if confusing during the action scenes, and I read it in like fifteen minutes. So yeah, pretty cool, manic and fun.

The Rabbi’s Cat
I don’t know what it is about French comics that make me love them so much. This is the second translated book that I’ve absolutely adored. I’m a sucker for stylized characters. I’m doubly so when the story presented contains a lot of elements that have already been done. I don’t need another fish out of water story, but I got one that was fun because the presentation was unique and enjoyable. I was a bit surprised that the talking cat episode wasn’t longer but for the most part this story is filled with sympathetic characters and is a look at a time and place that I, for one, knew little about.

Clyde Fans
Maybe I need Book 2 to get the rest of the story but so far I can only say that the jury is out on this one. I love the art though. It’s unbelievably clean and deserves to be hung in a gallery. I just don’t particularly like stories that are slices of life without any real meaning behind them, no matter how beautiful. It’s a phase I’m going through.

Capote in Kansas
But then this story that’s a slice of history I loved. Yeah I can’t explain it either. I haven’t seen the movie or read In Cold Blood so I’m essentially going into this book “untainted.” The development of Capote is captivating and is yet another fish out of water story that’s been done a gagillion times before. But it works well as he comes to terms with his past and the people of the town affected by the tragedy. And the artwork that functions a lot without outlines helps connect all the characters even further. This is a nifty warm up to the film and the book, if you’re planning on getting them. I’d recommend this as a great companion piece and as a great summer read.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to read this since I was already on edge enough and didn’t want to get overly depressed. I read it anyway and am glad I did. I don’t really know what I can add to the reviews already out there praising this book. It’s sort of the poster child to use against people who think comics can’t be serious and deal with recording history. Sort of like The Plot that way I guess. In a lot of ways it does carry on the legacy of The Plot but while not “true” history it does tackle serious issues in a manner that keeps the reader reading. This is a story that manages to get the reader emotionally invested to simply see how things came to where they are today. That in a mad place maybe the madman is the only sane one there since he’s at least not denying his madness.

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