Posts Tagged ‘comics’

I Remember Beirut

January 2nd, 2015 | Print | 0 Comments

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The most obvious thing about Zeina Abirached‘s I Remember Beirut is that it looks a lot like Marjane Satrapi‘s wonderful Persepolis. The illustration style is essentially identical. It was also originally published in French. It’s a more personal, nuanced look at the Arab world told from the perspective of a young girl who grows up to become a sophisticated comic artist. Even the shade of blue on the cover is the same as the shade used for Persepolis‘ film poster. It’s like the publishers wanted people to think this was a sequel or ‘another in the series’ of Persepolis. And admittedly, that was part of why I bought it.

Alas, I Remember Beirut is not all that much like Persepolis. Maybe if it were longer and told differently, but it’s not. Rather, very true to its title, I Remember Beirut is told as a series of particular recollections from Abirached’s childhood in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War. Some of these recollections are particular to the war and how it affected her family’s life at the time, like how she kept a backpack filled with everything she’d need (you know, like her Rubber Soul tape) in case they had to flee quickly, and how her family would heat the house with kerosene when there was no electricity or gas. Some are simply quaint childhood recollections of having a bad haircut or favourite songs or loving giant robot cartoons. From these recollections something along the lines of the ‘story’ of Abirached’s childhood emerges, but there’s no conventional narrative of which to speak.

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At 95 pages with a light emphasis placed on text, the comic is a breezy read, but enjoyable on its own terms. Perhaps one day Abirached will expand her recollections into her own actually Persepolis-esque narrative graphic novel (unless she already did in A Game For Swallows?). If she does, I’ll be a bit more interested in reading that.

The Massive

October 14th, 2014 | Print | 0 Comments

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I had wanted to read Brian Wood‘s The Massive for a long time, and I finally managed to grab the first graphic novel volume of it at New York Comic Con this weekend.

Set after a massive ecological catastrophe called ‘the crash’ that essentially messed up the entire planet, the story centres on environmental group Ninth Wave aboard their ship The Kapital as they try and locate their other ship, The Massive, which went missing some time ago.

The crew aboard The Kapital is an interesting mix of ex-mercenaries, environmentalists, engineers, etc. trying to keep things together in the wake of ‘the crash’. They debate just how pacifist they should remain, as the world has gotten a whole lot rougher what with the scarcity of water and other vital supplies. They try to get along and understand each other despite their radically different backgrounds. Sometimes things get difficult.

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Though it started off a little slow, towards the end I started getting into the comic and relating to the characters more. Wood’s imagining of the vast and incredible the changes that occur to the Earth in ‘the ‘crash’ is also exciting and terrifying. Additionally, the artwork by Kristian Donaldson and Garry Brown manages a great job of capturing the grittiness of the comic’s brave new post-‘crash’ world.

I look forward to picking up the next volume soon.

p.s. for those who don’t know Brian Wood, his first work, Channel Zero, is also really, really cool and political.

Alone Forever: The Singles Collection

July 2nd, 2014 | Print | 0 Comments

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Alone Forever: The Singles Collection is a collection of short, witty comics by Boston-based comic artist Liz Prince. The usually page-long strips are usually a quirky rumination on her romantic (mis)adventures as she tries to find a cool, bearded boyfriend and encounters numerous obstacles along the way. Otherwise they’re bittersweet ruminations on being a lonely little punk girl.

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I found this collection in a cool little comic store in Boston, near the BU campus, and basically found it too adorable to not buy. Drawn with charming simplicity, the visuals, in addition to the romance and music nerd-ness of the whole thing reminded me of the vibe of our lonely, music-loving romantic comic hero, Toronto’s Scott Pilgrim.

Check out Prince’s website (linked to above and here) to see some of her work. She has a number of collections and her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and stuff like that.

A Brief Accurate Graphic History Of The Environmental Movement

March 22nd, 2014 | Print | 0 Comments

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I haven’t updated the Print section in a while, which might lead you to think that I haven’t been reading anything cool. But you’d be wrong. I just haven’t finished reading it…

But right now I’m travelling around a bit, and one thing I love to do when visiting cool cities is check out local comic shops and grab small indie comics or zines that are hard or impossible to find elsewhere. While in Vancouver, I went to a couple comic shops and couldn’t resist some, so I’ll be blogging a bit about what I found in the next couple days as I work through everything.

The first purchase I made was Vancouver comic-maker S. A. Hill‘s little graphic zine/comic A Brief Accurate Graphic History Of The Environmental Movement. For those who don’t know, Vancouver and British Columbia in general is insanely naturally gorgeous, with the rocky mountains, rivers, lakes, the Pacific Ocean, and lots of beautiful forests – it’s no wonder it’s home to a strong environmental movement, not to mention the patron saint of Canadian environmentalism, David Suzuki.

Hill’s little graphic novel does a rundown of environmentalism (mostly in Canada and America) from the 1960’s until today. Her work is kind of on the cute side, with playful use of visuals to make her points. She looks at both the societal issues with environmentalism, as well as the political, focusing less on the science and technical aspects of it and possibly solution aka renewable energy. But she doesn’t really have to – the point she seems to be pushing towards the end of the book is simply that people have to come together and really push the issue to make change, and also stop thinking in terms of environment  vs. economy, which is a point that Suzuki makes also. And it’s true – the economy needs the environment, not the other way around.

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So is her work going to blow people’s minds and change the way they look at the environment? Convert all readers who were thinking otherwise that now they have to go vegan and drive Tesla’s and vote Green? Probably not. But it’s an informative, simple, and well-written work that I enjoyed as a long-time environmentalist, and would recommend to anyone who might want to start learning about the environmental movement and issue.

Nowhere Men

February 16th, 2014 | Print | 0 Comments

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Nowhere Men is an Image comic book series by Eric Stephenson, Nate Bellegarde, and Jordie Bellaire. I read the first trade, Fates Worse Than Death, a couple weeks ago.

Nowhere Men takes place in an alternate history timeline in which four brilliant young men start a company called World Corp. that has become something along the lines of a Google or Apple-type company, except better. However, at some point this scientific fab four started breaking apart due to different perspectives and in the present-day, one is running the company, one has gone off and started his own rival company, one is in a coma, and one has been declared missing.

As the comic fills us in on the World Corp backstory, it also follows a group of scientists working aboard a secret space station who are exposed to something that is having a strange effect on a number of them.

While the traditional comic art is sharp and finely coloured, what makes the comic visually very interesting is the constant jumping between traditional panels and sections made to look like book and magazine excerpts. This results in an experience that makes the world of Nowhere Men feel real and believable to a point where one is tempted to Google things that seem as though they could just as easily be pulled from our reality as made up.

The trade collects issues #1-6. A seventh was supposed to come out last month but it appears to have been delayed or something, as it’s not appearing on the Image website. Hopefully it comes out soon, as this is a series absolutely worth paying attention to.