Posts Tagged ‘comic’

Seconds

October 19th, 2014 | Print | 0 Comments

seconds

Bryan Lee O’Malley follows his now-classic Scott Pilgrim series with the whimsical Seconds, a graphic novel about a woman whose life becomes a little complicated after finding some mushrooms and a notepad that allow her to alter the her recent past.

Katie is 29 years old and works as a chef at a popular restaurant called Seconds. She recently acquired a property and is working on turning it into her own new restaurant to be called Katie’s. She encounters a mysterious hipster-y looking girl in her room one day and then finds a little box in a drawer with a mushroom, a notepad, and instructions to eat the mushroom and rewrite the past in the notepad the way she would have liked it to be. She starts doing this innocently, changing little things, but as she continues, the changes and the new worlds she creates with each revision become a bit much for her to handle. Not to mention that creepy hipster house spirit adding to her difficulties…

I bought Seconds, like most people probably did, because I truly, truly loved the Scott Pilgrim series (as well as the movie) and was anxious to see what its creator would come up with next. Seconds, however, is not the book for people like this, i.e. those looking for something resembling Scott Pilgrim.  It does feature the same basic art and a similar writing style and sense of humour, but it’s a completely different kind of book, with none of the geeky reference points and unabashed romance that made Scott Pilgrim resonate with so many readers, myself included.

Seconds is cute. It’s a well-written and composed story with a kind of ‘meh’ premise and likeable but not particularly interesting characters. Perhaps it was simply the cute, little story O’Malley wanted to tell, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, unfortunately, Seconds is nothing particularly special.

Jobnik!

April 22nd, 2014 | Print | 0 Comments

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I found this graphic novel, Jobnik!, at a comic book shop in Guelph, of all places, and decided I had to pick it up. For those of you who may be reading this and don’t know me or this blog, I was a volunteer soldier in the Israel Defence Forces (or ‘chayal boded’/lone soldier) for most of the last two years and I actually plan on writing my own account of my experience, so I was interested to read Miriam Libicki‘s when I saw it.

Unlike Libicki, I’m a secular Canadian who joined at the age of 22 (after graduating from University of Toronto) and served for a year and a half in the infantry combat unit Nachal. Libicki is an American girl who grew up in a religious family and joined the IDF in the early 2000s, seemingly at 18, serving as what is known as a ‘jobnik’ – a somewhat derogatory slang term for someone who does a desk job or something of the sort in the IDF. She worked in a medical office on one of the bases.

The graphic novel captures some of the experience of serving in the army, though Libicki’s experience differed from mine a lot in that her service takes place during the second intifada and involves a lot more sex. In fact, these two aspects are the major focuses of the graphic novel, as drawings and news blurbs about the intifada cover a number of pages that are then weaved into the next couple covering Libicki’s sexual experiences – and often frustrations – with guys both in the army and out. The pages regarding the intifada and the “situation” in Israel are formatted in interesting ways that make it seem as though the news is ‘closing in’ on her life – it’s claustrophobic and helps give the sense of being surrounded and consumed by the conflict and the politics of the situation. And that is how life there often feels, especially when one is in the army: every day there’s talk of war, murder, terrorists, etc. It’s exhausting. And yet, really, this is a graphic novel more about a girl’s unlucky love life: she hooks up with this guy, this one’s being an ass to her, she has a crush on this one, and so on and on. The mixture of the two elements actually gives a good overview of what being in the Israeli army is like: you try not to get killed, and otherwise you try as best you can to be a teenager, have a social life. It’s not like in North America where you’re shipped off to Afghanistan or Iraq and it’s ‘so long life’ – in the IDF you go home every two, three weekends (or every day or weekend if you’re a jobnik) and without school or money to worry about, you pretty much just want to do the stuff young adults do…

As for the art, it’s all black and white pencil work that makes everybody look kind of plump and roundish. I’m not an art critic so I can’t say too much about it: I didn’t find it amazing, but I didn’t dislike it either.

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Libicki’s story doesn’t really go anywhere in particular but that’s ok, not everything has to have a tidy conclusion and ‘moral of the story’. She does a decent enough job of just kind of giving the reader a peak into what her life then was like.

Pinkerton

March 28th, 2014 | Print | 0 Comments

pinkerton

Initially published by Colosse in French, Montrealers Francois Samson Dunlop and Alexandre Fontaine Rousseau’s Pinkerton – now translated into English – is a comic that uses the classic Weezer album as a means by which to explore the way in which today’s indie/intellectual 20-30-somethings, who grew up in the 90’s, approach and understand romance.

Set in their hometown of Montreal, the premise of the comic is that, upon being dumped, one nameless young dude is found by his friend crying alone in his room listening to the Pinkerton. The two begin talking about how growing up in the 90s ruined their romantic lives because all their idols growing up were sad sack 90s guys like Rivers Cuomo, Kurt Cobain and Thom Yorke. When they began their romantic lives all they ever expected was to be hurt and dumped – they weren’t primed for happy, positive relationships.

To combat this and change their fates, the two decide that they are going to go through all the songs on Pinkerton and try to deal with the issues presented by them in their own real lives. In the end, they mostly just end up discussing them at length, winding onto numerous tangents that have nothing to do with the album but are nonetheless interesting and entertaining. Even in one great segment where one guy is encouraged to hit on various apparently intellectual girls (“And-this-one-is-hesitating-between-two-Tsai-Ming-Liang-films-I-mean-one-couldn’t-do-better-really”) he never actually does anything: “I-mean-it’s-like-all-he-can-see-is-sadness-sadness-SADNESS…”

Pinkerton – the comic – is another great little graphic work that, like Scott Pilgrim, appeals to the kind of person who grew up in the 90s and became a college-educated literate indie rock type. Also Canadian. So yeah, I liked it a lot.