Sunday, February 01, 2015

Read in January

As usual, this is mostly an index, and primarily useful to me, as I search later on to figure out what I read when. If it helps lead you to any books you like, that would be a bonus. Since I'm now off the Book-A-Day pace, there will be some capsule reviews below, which may also be of some slight interest.

Liza Donnelly, Funny Ladies (1/3)

Greg Means, MK Reed, and Joe Flood, The Cute Girl Network (1/5)

Walter Simonson, Star Slammers: The Complete Collection (digital proof, 1/6)

Chris Roberson and Paul Maybury, Sovereign, Vol. 1 (digital proof, 1/7)

Taiyo Matsumoto, Sunny, Vol. 3 (1/8)

I'm back to my old standard: something that's just the next volume of a series I've written about before will usually just end up here. This doesn't mean anything about the quality of the book-- the first volume of Sunny was one of my favorites of 2014, and the second was just as good -- but instead indicates that I don't want to keep saying the same things repeatedly for no good reason.

So: this has another handful of stories about various inhabitants of the Star Kids Home, each a closely observed and precisely handled gem. Sunny is like none of the cliches of "manga" that you've ever heard, and it's a magnificent, wonderful, deeply human portrait of a bunch of flawed and quirky people.

Chuck Klosterman, I Wear the Black Hat (1/8)

Homer, adapted by Seymour Chwast, The Odyssey (1/9)

Richard Ross, Patently Ridiculous (1/9)

Scott McCloud, The Sculptor (digital proof, 1/12)

Hope Larson, Salamander Dream (1/13)

Inio Asano, Solanin (1/14)

Nicole J. Georges, Calling Dr. Laura (1/15)

Peter Milligans and Brett Ewins, Johnny Nemo (1/16)

Pat Byrnes, What Would Satan Do? (1/20)

Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum, Unshelved, Vol. 1 (1/21)

Will Jacobs, Gerard Jones, and Tim Hamilton, The Trouble With Girls, Vol. 1 (1/22)

Will Jacobs, Gerard Jones, and Tim Hamilton, The Trouble With Girls, Vol. 2 (1/23)

Christopher Buckley, But Enough About You (1/25)

Mark Twain, adapted by Seymour Chwast, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1/26)

MAD's Greatest Artists: Sergio Aragones: Five Decades of His Finest Works (1/27)

Almost three hundred pages of wordless comics, poking fun at everything in American life from the '60s space program to the Great Recession, collected from the pen of Mr. Aragones, whom some of you might know best from Groo. I don't want to take a lot of words to describe something that has no words, since that seems entirely beside the point. But Aragones doesn't just draw funny, he thinks funny, and he has a great knack for pantomine. (Though there were a few times that I had to think a moment to figure out what the gag was -- that's the danger of pantomime comics.)

All of these strips and marginals -- the sides of the pages are filled with little funny Aragones drawings, and there's a big poster that folds out at the end with a few hundred more -- originally appeared in Mad magazine, which has loosed up about sex (I noted while reading this) over the last decade or so. If Aragones is representative, then Mad is more au corant and forward-thinking than I'd expected: my mental image of them is stuck at about 1982. (Probably the last time I actually read an issue.)

John Stanley with Dan Gormley, Nancy, Vol. 1 (1/28)

Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Saga, Vol. 3 (1/29)

The not-quite-latest volume in a glorious, wonderful science fantasy epic, gorgeously drawn by Staples and carefully written by Vaughan. You almost certainly don't need me to tell you that: it's been on piles of "great comics" lists and I came to it pretty late myself. I do wish it were slightly better science fiction -- the whole "inhabitable moon circling an inhabitable planet" thing makes me cringe every single time Vaughan brings it up, and he adds yet another bit of bad science to that early in the next volume -- but I'm just the audience, not the editor. If you're not reading it by now and you like comics and SF at all, then I don't know what's wrong with you.

This volume, by the way, also has one of the best single-page scenes in all of comics. (There's a good essay about it by a writer I don't know, Matthew Derman, at Pop Matters.)

James Crumley, Dancing Bear (1/29)

Haruki Murakami, The Strange Library (1/30)

Coming up next month: we all get to see how full-time job-hunting affects my reading and blogging life, since I'm out of a job. (I'm already antsy and twitchy, just from the last two weeks of minimal work at the old job -- I'm already ready to dive into something new so I can have some real work to do.)

1 comment:

Shane said...

Good luck on the job hunt. I will personally be hoping for you to land a SF/F related job.

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