well, what did you expect from an opera? (truegrit) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
well, what did you expect from an opera?

bonus entry #2 - more comics

As I mentioned once before, for arbitrary reasons I'm not counting comic books towards my year-end reading goals, but I still wanted to include them in the list...

Exit Wounds
by Rutu Modan
genre: graphic novel

A common criticism that people have of graphic novels is that they're basically just storyboards for unmade films. The experience of reading this book - about an Israeli man seeking out his father in the aftermath of a terror attack - is a lot like watching a movie, and you wonder what it's maybe lacking for not actually being one. But, when you think about it, that's pretty amazing: movies require scores of people and millions of dollars, and this work was made by a single artist hunched over a drawing board. Modan is a talented storyteller and her artwork is great: she uses evenhanded linework and subtle coloring to create images that are complex but uncluttered. Overall, this is a very sophisticated piece of work.

sum-up: Recommended

Hello, Again
by Max Estes
genre: graphic novel

Another criticism that people have of graphic novels is that, because they take so much effort to make, they end up being just too short. This brief little story is about a man haunted by some bad choices from his past, but we're never really given any reason to care about him or his past. The artwork is nice but unexpressive. Too bad.

sum-up: Forgettable

Dogs and Water
by Anders Nilsen
genre: graphic novel

Monologues for the Coming Plague
by Anders Nilsen
genre: comics/art

"Dogs and Water" is sort of an hallucinatory, open-ended narrative told mainly in images; or, you could go a step further and say that it's not just told mainly in images: it's told mainly in visual compositions, inky lines and particular little details. It's a lovely piece of work: kind of a meditation on U.S. foreign policy but in the dreamiest, most elliptical sort of way. Meanwhile, "Monologues..." - a collection of sketchbooks - is mostly a bunch of gag-y, smart-ass non-sequiturs. A woman is feeding a bird in a park, and the bird asks her "Are you wearing Chanel No. 5?" - things like that. It's OK for what it is, but I'm sure I would have felt ripped-off had I actually spent nineteen bucks on it.


Dogs and Water: Recommended
Monologues for the Coming Plague: Whatever...

AEIOU: Any Easy Intimacy
by Jeffrey Brown
genre: graphic memoir

Little Things: A Memoir in Slices
by Jeffrey Brown
genre: graphic memoir

Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Other Observations
by Jeffrey Brown
genre: graphic memoir

Brown makes autobiographical comics in an idiom that can best be described as "indie," if you know what I mean. If you don't, well, how about this: winsome, unaggressive, middle-class, a bit sentimental, generally mundane and ultimately humanistic and compassionate. He tends to draw in a low-key, sketchy style: his point is to gently allow readers into his world without trying to bowl us over or knock us out. "AEIOU..." is a little book that documents some of the highs and lows of an ended relationship. As a story, there's really nothing there, but the overall effect is rather sad and lovely: a little book-form elegy to lost love and former selves. "Little Things..." is a bigger work about semi-mundane happenings and interconnectedness: Brown visits his friends in the country, he buys CDs, he witnesses a car crash, he meets a girl. For me, the book sort of goes back and forth between being a smart, subtle account of deeper significance in the quotidian, and being bland self-documentation for its own sake. "Cat..." is a sweet little meditation on Brown's childhood cat, Misty.


AEIOU: Lovely
Little Things: Pretty good
Cat Getting Out of a Bag: Cute

Poem Strip
by Dino Buzzati
genre: graphic novel/art

An honest-to-gosh lost gem of the Italian counterculture, this 1969 book retells the Orpheus myth through a filter of sex, psychedelia, art films, rock and roll... it's a bit goofy but unmistakeably compelling, too. For example: there are many drawings of sexy ladies in here which seem to have been copied right out of cheesecake nudie magazines - it's crude but also honest, which ultimately adds to the work's visionary sensibility.

sum-up: Worthwhile

two more entries to go...

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