Saturday, March 01, 2008

Read in February

Here's the full list of what I read last month, posted more out of my vague obsessiveness than for any attempt at transparency. Several of these things didn't get full reviews, though, so there will be a bit of content in the trackless waste of links.

Masashi Kishimoto, Naruto, Vol. 3 (2/2)
The library that I find myself at nearly every Saturday has a full set of Naruto (I think), but most of them are out most of the time. (Actually, I think they have multiple copies of most volumes, and the shelf is still usually half-empty.) I claim to be reading this as a way to keep up with Thing 1, but it's actually an engrossing ninja-action comic. I don't know if I can manage to catch up with it -- there are 28 volumes now! -- but I'll keep reading until I've had enough.

Hank Ketcham's Complete Dennis the Menace: 1957-1958 (Volume Four) (2/2)
Ketcham's art in the early days of Dennis was the epitome of the slick '50s magazine illustration style: precise lines that seemed effortless, a strong sense of design, and a great eye for very specific, particular characters. It's too bad that the writing, and the whole point of Dennis, was just as dull and obvious back then as it is now. Dennis was more of a terror in his salad days than he is today, but the strip in 1957 was still a parade of cute-hellion cliches. (Admittedly, some of them may have only become cliches after Ketcham beat them into the ground for forty years.) Old Dennis cartoons are much more of interest to aspiring illustrators than to writers -- unless, of course, you're a writer who needs a boost of self-confidence, and wants to see just how low the bar to mega-success can sometimes be set.
  • Sue Grafton, T Is For Trespass (2/3)
  • Shin Midorikawa, Aventura, Vol. 1 (2/4)
  • Ryotaro Iwanaga, Pumpkin Scissors, Vol. 1 (2/5)
  • Reiji Saiga & Sora Inoue, Samurai Girl Real Bout High School, Vol. 1 (2/6)
  • Tohru Fujisawa, GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka, Vol. 1 (2/7)
  • Jonathan Strahan, editor, Eclipse One (2/7)
  • Yuki Urushibara, Mu Shi Shi, Vol. 2 (2/11)
  • Ai Morinaga, My Heavenly Hockey Club, Vol. 2 (2/12)
  • Charlie Huston, No Dominion (2/12)
  • Tadashi Kawashima & Adachitoka, Alive, Vol. 2 (2/13)
  • Hitoshi Iwaaki, Parasyte, Vol. 2 (2/14)
  • Anton Strout, Dead to Me (2/15)
  • Stephan Pastis, Da Brudderhood of Zeeba Zeeba Eata (2/16)
    All of the Pearls Before Swine strips from late January of 2005 through the day before Halloween of that same year, in one handy book. I see that there's another Treasury edition coming out next month, with all of the cartoons in this and The Sopratos, plus color, plus commentary. I like me my Pearls Before Swine in any format, but -- if that's the way this series is going to be packaged -- I think I need to remember not to buy the smaller books, and just to wait for the treasuries. (My shelves would thank me as well.)
  • Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima, Path of the Assasin, Vol. 8: Shinobi With Extending Fists (2/17)
    More sex and violence in war-torn Japan. More sex than violence, actually, which is very uncommon for the manga I've seen. (Are there other series being translated that have adult relationships, including sex, like Path of the Assassin? I've seen teenage sex comedies, and there's always the bizarre reaches of manga porn, but nothing else on this level. Hey, if you publish it, and you're out there, drop me an e-mail and I'll review your books at ComicMix!) The politics still often confuse me, as does the philosophy (as far as I can separate the two, which isn't always very far). I don't think I'm just reading this series for the sex and violence, but sometimes it feels that way. I do like it, though.
  • Bryan Talbot, Alice in Sunderland (2/18)
  • Jane & Michael Stern, Roadfood (2/18)
    This was the book I've been reading upstairs -- in the bedrooms of the two Things, in odd moments -- for the last I-don't-want-to-say-how-long. (Though this is the 2002 edition, and there's been a 2005 edition since then, and another new edition coming this year -- so something like that long.) It's a state-by-state guide to good eats, with an emphasis on "real" places, not fancy "fine" restaurants. It was a great book to poke through, and it's going into my car now, in hopes that I can drag it out on long driving trips somewhere. (I don't know how much of that I'll be doing, but I expect to be driving this car for the next eight years, so I've got time.)
  • Machiko Sakurai, Minima!, Vol. 1 (2/19)
  • Suzuhito Yasuda, Kozakura Quartet, Vol. 1 (2/20)
  • Kairi Fujiyama, Dragon Eye, Vol. 2 (2/21)
  • Michael Swanwick, The Dragons of Babel (2/21)
  • Renee French, The Ticking (2/21)
    I read French's Micrographica, reviewed it at ComicMix, and liked it, so I'd been looking out for this larger graphic novel by her since then. (And my library had it all along -- go figure.) It's the story of Edison Steelhead, who is born on the first page: he has his father Calvin's big, deformed head, and his birth kills his mother. So his dad takes him to a remote island to grow up, and later introduces a monkey in a dress to the family as his "sister," Patrice. Once Edison grows up, he decides not to have plastic surgery, moves to the mainland, and lives quietly as an artist. All this is narrated quietly, mostly in captions, mostly with only one or two centered, soft-pencil panels to a page. It's quiet and atmospheric, but I can't help feeling that I missed something important along the way. This is a book that feels like it's about something other than its events, and I didn't figure out what that was.
  • Charles Addams, Drawn and Quartered (2/23)
    Addams's first cartoon collection, originally published in 1941 and still available on the shelf at my usual library. There are some minor cartoons here, and some more that aren't as sharp as they could be -- partially because of the reproduction, and partially because Addams hadn't learned all of his tricks at that point. But it's Addams, and even when he's not at his best, he's still pretty darn good.
  • John Mortimer, Rumpole Misbehaves (2/24)
  • Marisa Acocella Marchetto, Cancer Vixen (2/24)
    Marchetto is a New Yorker cartoonist who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, just as she was about to marry the man of her dreams (the proprietor of a chic downtown restaurant who was crazy about her). This is her story, in comics form. Her art gets a bit manic for my tastes at times, and she's very much the New York fashionista woman -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- but this is a touching and very personal story.
  • Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2/25)
  • Keiko Takemiya, Andromeda Stories, Vol. 3 (2/25)
  • Kaoru Kurimoto & Kazuaki Yanagisawa, The Guin Saga Manga: The Seven Magi, Vol. 3 (2/26)
  • Chip Kidd, The Learners (2/27)
  • Tou Ubukata & Kiriko Yumeji, Le Chevalier d'Eon, Vol. 2 (2/27)
  • Yasunori Mitsunaga, Princess Resurrection, Vol. 2 (2/28)
  • Andi Watson, Glister, Vols. 1-3 (2/29)

And that's it.

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