|Posted on January 20, 2013 at 8:10 AM|
The Best of the Week:
THE NAO OF BROWN
By Glynn Dillon
Published by Self-Made Hero
This came out in Ocotber of 2012, but I just got ahold of it. I picked this book up on a fluke, thinking it was by Box Brown's new indy company. I flipped through the pages and saw the beautiful art and figured with art like this and published by Box Brown, it's gonna be good. But when I finally sat down to give it a thorough look I quickly realized this was something else. Nonetheless I am glad I picked this up as it was simply amazing. The most perfect comic I have read since Asterios Polyp by David Mazzuchelli. The main character was likeable, but tragic. The art was gorgeous, not a single flaw in any of the panels. Every line, color and tone was right where it needed to be. And the narrative was fluid, impactful and wouldn't let go of me.
This book mixes a heady dose of transcient buddhist philosophies with the very real and sometimes tragic affliction known as OCD. I know at least one person with OCD and I will never look at them the same way again after reading this. The main character of this comic is Nao Brown, a beautiful young girl who struggles every moment of her life with her obsessive compulsions. We are brought into her life, work and lovelife and told a tale so real I kinda think it might be based on a real person. I could be wrong, but the main character became as real as any fictional character could ever be. But because the character was struggling so much with her affliction I kept waiting for the tragic climax, cause you knew it was coming. Eventually Nao meets a man whom she both helps and whom helps her. And then the idea of this story having to end tragicically disappears.
Though I didn't completely like the ending. We got a jump forward in time and then a very vague wrap up of where the main character is at this point in time and how she is mentally. I felt a little cheated after reading this entirely engrossing story about this person to have the story end this way. But despite that lukewarm ending, I completely loved this book.
The Worst of the Week:
I didn't read a single awful comic this week. Hurray!
The Rest of the Bunch:
TODD: THE UGLIEST KID ON EARTH #1
By Ken Kristianson & MK Perker
This is some goofy shit right here. A title like this is a definite must buy for me. And who knew MK Pekar could do this kind of dark goofy exaggerated cartoony art? I read AIR the comic published by Vertigo comics some years back that he collaborated on and his art was well not so good on that, but on this comic he does an absolutely amazing job. Highly detailed, tons of shadowy black nuance and perfectly rendered hand coloring make this an eye popping book.
Poor Todd, bag always on his head cause he's so ugly, yet he carries with him a constant upbeat naive attitude towards life. Gotta admire the silly innocence in this character. He's kinda like a retarded Charlie Brown. He's the perfect character foil for a lot of weird shit to happen to and around him though and that's exactly what happens in this first issue. I really enjoyed this odd dark comedy. This is good comics right here. Now the ending was a bit weak, as it seemed to just drift off in to it's "to be continued" ending, but it wasn't bad enough to spoil a very good reading experience. Highly recommended.
EX SANGUINE #4
From Dark Horse Comics
This is an interesting looking comic. Good art, excellent coloring and what I think by the end will be a very interesting story. Yet coming in cold at issue 4 left me heavily confused. I'm not at all sure what is going on nor who's doing what to whom. This is another attempt at diversifying the Vampire genre which is all well and good. The usual fare is worn out, and the cheesy romantic vampire stories are going that way too. EX SANGUINE is trying to bring back the horror to vampires and from what I can tell from this issue, they're doing a good job at it. Except that part where I don't know what means what.
The main vampire characters are being hunted by the cops, I think. The vampire guys are killing people they know because of some book, I think. And some really hot blonde chick is a serial killer, but is trying her best to befriend one of the vampires, I think. I could be wrong on all those points, but that's the general sense I got after reading just this one issue. Even though I was lost story wise, this was still a pretty good read.
All in all if I can get ahold of the collected version once this story is all told I am sure I will get a well told story about a new twist on vampire horror.
INTO THE VOLCANO
By Don Wood
This came out in 2008, but I picked it up just recently on a fluke from my local library. I actually almost didn't read this and was about to take it back because it's due date arrived, but I didn't make it to the library that day and so it sat on my table. Then the next day knowing I had to take it back I flipped through it really quick to see if it was really worth reading and it caught me. I couldn't stop reading it. This was one of those surprisingly good books. The cover doesn't look like much, the interior art is even a bit spotty, but the overally story was a joy to read.
It's by Don Wood, who I guess made his money doing kids book and this is one of his only foray's into the graphic novel format. It's about a family who go to a fictional island to study volcano's. Or so everyone thinks. Actually what happens is our two main characters, Duffy and Sumo are used as bait to lure their mother, a renowned volcanologist into revealing her secret treasure. It's a fast paced action-action-action sort of tale. So there's no lulls to let you get bored.
This is published by Scholastic Books and would be perfect for kids and adults to read. Highly recommended.
By Ryan Inzana
This too was a library find and at first I thought it would be the life story of renowned baseball player Ichiro Suzuki. But it wasn't and was really about a young Japanese/American boy who discovers ancient Japanese gods down a hole in his grandfathers yard in Japan. The story is a beautiful tale about ancient Japanese culture and it's wide array of myths and legends. Our young main character is swept up into godly intrigue and he must do everything he can to escape back to the real world. It's a wonderfully fun breezy tale with fascinating artwork. Ryan Inzana's brush work is awesome. From loose sketchy almost caligraphic brush strokes to tight flourishing lines that rip through the page, showcase an amazing talent I had not heard of till this book.
Originally debuting in 2012 from Houghton Mifflin, ICHIRO is a book I recommend searching for. I will be on the lookout for future work from Ryan Inzana for sure.
CAPTAIN MARVEL #9
By Marvel Comics
Now this was a surprise. From the uncharacteristically for recent Marvel art by Filipe Andrade to a better than average superhero story. Dare I say, this is the type of comic I could see girls reading? From the lack of super-machismo to the strong female characters to the witty playful story this is pretty advanced stuff for the usual superhero fare. I think I will actually read more of this comic on the basis of my experience with this issue.
The one thing that has always bothered me about superhero comics and their base of operations in NYC is brought up large in this story where Captain Marvel and Spider Woman fight a couple of dinosaurs. If you were living in NYC or any city and everyday you lived under the threat of superheroes possibly fighting very real and large dinosaurs, why would you live in that city? So I ask why is NYC of the Marvel universe not a ghost city? Also the huge story error of never explaining where these dino's came from or how they got there was a bit weird. I guess I do realize this is the Marvel Universe where anything can happen, but not ever giving even a weak explanation on why they were there is odd. What's the editor doing? Not checking the story, I guess. Plus the issue ends with Captain Marvel's doctor telling her she's got a tumor in her brain, which I get is trying to ground her, but you know it lacks any kind of punch considering that Dinosaurs just up and appeared out of nowhere without any kind of explanation a couple pages ago, so why would I believe this will have any kind of relevance to a being billed as one of the most powerful beings in the universe (it actually says that on the introductory page).
Anyway, I hope when it comes to superhero books we get more of this type than say the latest Iron Man or Firestorm or Aquaman comic. Cause that shit sucks and this comic didn't. It wasn't great, but it surprisingly didn't suck.
HIGH WAYS #1
By John Byrne and IDW Comics
Even though the title is awful because it doesn't involve marijuana or getting high in any way on anything as most would assume by reading that cheesy title, this wasn't a bad comic. Why he chose this tile other than some other sci-fi esque title is beyond me, I give it up to the fact he's old and un-hip, I don't know.
John Byrne gives us a relatively decent sci-fi comic about three bulk haulers travelling to the moon Europa to pick up some cargo, except they don't because it's a ploy. That's the mystery, who called them to Europa to pick up some shit that ain't there? Now they're stranded there for a few days till they can refuel. You know in those few days some shit is gonna happen. That's obvious, but I guess the enjoyment is in the ride to see how bad it's gonna get. This actually reads like a demo-script for a pitch to Hollywood. Which isn't necessarily a bad idea considering that John Byrne is way past his prime, could probably use the money to retire on and would be a good ending to a long career if he were to finally get one of his comics made into a movie.
Byrne's art on this is actually not bad considering who he is and where he is in his career. The linework is actually a lot thicker and lush than anything I remember Byrne doing. While the lettering and logo work is awful, the coloring on this is top of the line and helps make this a decent book. I was expecting something much worse honestly considering I haven't read a John Byrne book in about a decade or so. But I imagine if Byrne can pull in 5000-10000 units sold on this book IDW will be happy.
So while I thought this was a decent book overall the last page or particularly one of the last panels kinda freaked me out. Check it...
Yeah that panel where he's put his dick and ass in something. Now he had just finished having sex with some girl and Byrne proceeded to show this panel. I am not entirely sure he's using the toilet. I don't think I ever smile like that when I'm using the toilet. Now if I were getting masturbated by some space machine I would probably smile like this. But this guy had just finished having actual sex, soo...well then he goes back to bed and sees some scarry dude outside his window - end of story.
So yeah, what to make of that ending and that panel in particular I don't know, but looking beyond that anachronism this was a good book overall, I guess. Unfortunately I'm probably going to forever think of that panel in regards to John Byrne's career from here on out. How could I not?