Рожденные с характером Евгении Белонощенко

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March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

The power of coincidence – I read Mikhail Trofimenkov’s unexpected and unexpectedly long review of March Book One in last week’s Kommersant Weekend – and then the book simply popped up right at me in comiXology new releases section – so I just couldn’t stop myself.
It’s a great piece of work on the racial equality movement in the late 50s, beautifully drawn and told with proper pace and style. However, in light of the splendid and very detailed review linked above (Russian speakers must read it), I decided I will not bore this blog with another, certainly an inferior one.
One thing though I guess it makes sense to add. Clearly and sadly, the self-prolaimed leaders of the Russian opposition here in Moscow have not read or preached the rules of non-violent resistance – and police, like everywhere else, doesn’t like having stones and parts of sidewalk thrown at them. Provocateurs or no provocateurs, no-one like stones thrown at you.

Nothin’ Ugly Fly by Marvin K. White

A short intermission in my reading of Jonathan Littel's Les Bienveillantes. I guess I needed a quick pause in constant killing and butchery. Just three short poems, no more – and back to communal graves in Ukraine.
I picked three in a particular short style that I like – doesn't mean all are like this though.
make my neck hurt
oooooooh baby
i love the soul food about you
neck bone
black eye
liver about you
but ohhhhhhh
those chicken legs

going for blood
we punk
we pump
we vein
we flow

get well soon
can't sleep
can't eat
stomach notting
skin botching
sweating hot and cold
can't remember the last time
i been in love like this
PS … and now, the ultimate bigotry test (dedicated to our country's recent laws). Marvin K. is a well-known gay activist – does that change his words for you? Well, who could've guessed.

Blood by Ryden

This was an impulse purchase. A quickie. Thinking back, I attribute this impulse both to the outstanding quality of the book's cover (it has a child's Necronomicon feel, leatherish with ornaments, and a girl crying blood), as well as me having a chance to flip through other Ryden's books on the same shelf (not bloody at all) and enjoying the style.

It's like Tim Burton who turned Emo or Gothic or both, and now working exclusively for those with both a strong stomach and a good sense of humor. Sadly, I will have to put it on a top shelf for now – not sure the kids are ready for it. Yet. Necronomicon must wait its turn )))

“Blood is very powerful. While meat is the substance that keeps our living souls in this physical reality, blood keeps our meat alive. Blood is liquid life. When blood escapes our bodies we are alarmed to the very core of our brains. It is life leaking out of us. It is frightening and makes red a profoundly intense color.” Mark Ryden, 2003

P.S. if you don't want to buy the book, you can see all the paintings and drawings here http://www.markryden.com/paintings/



Beauty in Decay / UrbEx

Browsing through Respublica shop photo album section, I came across this absolutely stunning book called Beauty in Decay. Though it was firmly sealed in cellophane, and it was impossible to peak in, its cover gave a vivid preview of what's inside – a photo trip into numerous derelict buildings, industrial, public sector, private, you name it.

The book has no author – it has 49 different photographers contributing their pictures, and certainly not all of them professional – but this is the part where content can beat the author. Abandoned places are made of magic, it seems, full of ghosts of the past long gone, and it's not something that you see – it's something that you have to imagine that sticks most with you.

Not all, but some of us hate splendor mummified – I've been to Paris half a dozen times or more, but never, never visited Louvre and never intend to – and my recollections from my visit to Palacio Real in Madrid are a nightmare – in contrast to my trip to, say, abandoned hotel Berengaria in Cyprus Trodos mountains, a vivid say symbol of decay, uninhabited since mid-70s, which was a beauty every time.

The book has a perfect Stalker / Silent Hill feel – and you have to love it to love it, I guess. And I do love it. Awesome book. The best picture book I've had in ages – and the only architectural one – as I typically like mostly press photos, like war conflicts, refugees, African mines, Soviet plants, and other world's miseries.

So, what's up with radiation level in Pripyat now?


Julio’s Day by Gilbert Hernandez

I somehow miss (missed) all the fun about Gilbert Hernandez' Locas and the rest of Love and Rocketsthe one I did read was totally lame – so Julio's Day, his latest graphic novel looked attractive because it seemed very different from the main stuff – and ComiXology ad did its magic on me.

It's a 100-page long story about a Mexican American named Julio and the life of his family, beginning in 1900 and ending in 2000. A century in 100 pages – a book read in one sitting. However, parallels to historic events are minimal for my taste and not too detailed – part of scenery, I'd say.

The story had a couple of peak moments when my eyes were practically glued to ipad screen – the first poisoning, the second mudslide, the vengeance – but other than that, a page-flipper at fast pace.

The book reminded me a bit Keiji Nakazawa's historic masterpiece Barefoot Gen – I read the whole 10 volumes of the A-bomb saga – it has the same minimal approach to certain events in the story and quite a bit of gore drawings. But what is expected of a real Hiroshima survivor – and what he is repected for – has nothing to do with a certain Sr. Hernandez from Cali, USA.

My final score – while a quick 60-minutes read, good drawings and all, the book is forgettable for my taste – save for one thing. The blue worm poisoning (seems to be the invention of Hernandez mind – though some symptoms have clear correlation with those of elephantiasis). The blue worm poisoning! Man, that was creepy! Hope I won't see that at night, shivering in my bed at 4am in the morning. That I would be glad to compare to Tezuka's Kirihito, which equals one of the highest degrees of praise for a comic book in my universe. That alone a good reason to read it. Scary and sick!


Приплыли Васи Ложкина

Дорогой Алексей Куделин Вася Ложкин! Я очень-очень рад за тебя! За те семь (кажется) лет, которые прошли с момента моей первой покупки твоего шедеврального произведения Секта скопцов в религиозном угаре за 3 тыс. рублей в ныне уже несуществующем прокуренном и антихипстерском антиклубе Проект ОГИ, где ты в тот вечер выступал вокалистом группы, где ты более совсем не вокалист, и весело отплясывал во время песни про Ослика, утекло сто тысяч миллионов литров воды, прошла твоя выставка в ЦДХ и вот уже вышла целая книжка (художественный альбом, не постесняюсь этого слова) работ и творений – правда, почему-то без ISBN и выходных данных о тираже.

Хорошая книжечка. Хотел купить две копии – вторую в подарок многоуважаемому МЯБ, почетному владельцу межгалактического полотна Нас никто не победит! (при продаже в 2009 г., правда, носящего другое куда более звучное название типа Трижды краснознамённый ансамбль песни и пляски десантно-космических войск исполняет песню Ману Чао «Велком ту Тихуана! Текила, сексо, марихуана!» – ну да ладно) – да не было в Республике второй копии, эх.

В общем, у меня по поводу данного художественного альбома есть два (три) соображения. Предъявы, канкретна.

Раз, зачем так много котиков? Нам нужна жесть как она есть, нефть-матушка в трубе Кобылозадовского НПЗ, медведи ряженные, а также the Russian Gothic (он присутствует, yeah). В общем, если бы без котиков, то ваще супер, водка-селедка-трэш-угар. Мы не за котиков, котики в вконтактике.

Два (и три). Почему-ну-пачиму из трех шедевров, уже который год украшающих мои стены, в книгу попал только один? Только Ловля на живца. А как же мой Портрет неизвестного кубинца? А, главное, где же Скопцы? Ох-ох-ох. Все эти котики виной, точно.

Но, кроме ентого досадного факта, все очень здорово, дорогой и любимый наш Алексей-Василий, прям круто-круто и все такое. Дальше только MOMA, Помпиду и Рейна София. Да!

P.S. писчи исчо http://vasya-lozhkin.livejournal.com/


El Borbah by Charles Burns

While waiting for Charles Burns‘ latest installment of what I call the Tintin on drugs trilogy, I purchased El Borbah, an old collection of “defective detective” stories published in mid-1980s. From my count, this is the only published book by Burns that I haven’t read so far.

Also, if I’m not mistaken, El Borbah was Burns’ debut work the sickness and talent of which further evolved into the mesmerizing tale of Black Hole, which I guess I have to pick up from my shelf and re-read.

As the notion of defective detective may suggest, El Borbah is a tale – well, tales – about a series of cases solved by a wrestler-lookalike private eye that breaks bad boys’ noses and finds missing lads and ladies. The stories are short, wicked, beautifully drawn – too sad that I am lazy, get sucked into the storyline quickly and thus spend far too little time on each page, which is a shame.

A perfect addition to and a true enhancement of El Borbah experience would be, in yours truly humble opinion, finishing the book by watching Guy Maddin’s Sombra Dolorosa, a 2004 short that pays homage to Lucha Libre / Mexican wrestling.

I am making (yet another futile) promise to myself – read Black Hole, read Black Hole, read Black Hole – and I am waiting in awe for Sugar Skull to come out.


The Walking Dead #112 by Robert Kirkman et al

Finally, a good one this one. Yikes!


Journalism by Joe Sacco

Quite an interesting collection of various short stories by the great Joe Sacco, covering his multiple trips to war and poverty ridden destinations in Palestine, Iraq, Chechnya, India, as well as illegal immigration camps in Malta.

Over the past two decades Sacco seems to have become the only (or definitely the most well-known) comic journalist in the proper journalism sense of the word. He goes to locations, meets poor disadvantaged refugees, and makes photos which he then subsequently turns into cartoons.

Yes, indeed, he tends to look at things from a true socialist (well, liberal) point of view – and not because he doesn't like Ayn Rand – but because he just wants the Indian seven-year-olds fed and the Iraqi wounded treated.

This book, as great as it is, for a true Sacco fan certainly lags behind Safe Area Goražde, a gripping blood-chilling tale of the massacre of Eastern Bosnian muslims by the joint Serb forces – but it has its up points. The lazy of me read it in a few attempts, with Iraq being the stalling point of my journey – but it is definitely worth a try.