Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan by Shigeru Mizuki

Volume 1 of Mizuki’s fast forwarding epic about both Japan’s history and his own childhood is entertaining. For a reader lacking even basic information on Japan’s history, it shows the imperialist, aggressive and militarist Japan, guided by false high ideas and ideals. I guess I never knew they had that many attempted coups in just a few years.

What I am certain of – I think Mizuki is willing to diminish or somehow not focus too much on some of the crimes of his people in those years leading to the big war – the rape of Nanjing, for instance, deserved just a page, and that page was not graphic enough for my taste.

His childhood stories, though, are much more easy-going and fun. Oh well. Let’s see what volume 2 brings.


Logicomix. An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis, Christos H. Papadimitriou, Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna

An extremely difficult comic book, probably the most difficult graphic novel I've read so far. It couldn't have been otherwise, as it is a partly fictitionalized story of Bertrand Russell's life, work and his path in the field of modern philosophy and mathematics.

To a dumb person like me, going through logical paradoxes and mathematical concepts was tiresome and ultra calorie burning even via this “easy” medium of a graphic novel – so I dread the very thought of trying to read Russell's or his fellow Wittgenstein's stuff in full.

Still, I suggest to all comic book lovers, as well as those who never read comic books, to try it. It's something of a kind, a history of modern philosophy in the first half of the XX-th century, presented in witty colored pictures. Not Tintin's adventures, but still.


Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

Her name was not Adèle, her name was Clementine. Julie Maroh’s original book cuts like a knife, same shapness and quality as Kechiche’s award winning 3-hour masterpiece. Makes your heart beat and ache.

If you’re not homophobic, if you didn’t watch the flick only for the very long scene and nothing else, well, you may wanna give it a shot.

It’s no less touching, it’s no less beautiful – though, granted, it’s a notch more melodramatic at the end (as the film ends quite differently) – but it’s a master’s work nonetheless, beautiful and complete.

When I read that, I thought of Pliura and his only book of poems. It seems that gay people, probably due to harassment and bullying, came up with a few very touching literature and movie gems in the past several decades, Romeo and Juliette of the 21st century kinda thing.

I can’t recommend it though, as it probably breaks Russia’s new homophobic laws that prohibit promotion of anything gay related, good god forbid, no no no, don’t read it and don’t buy this book – but why listen to me, you should ask yourselves, if you can make up your mind on your own.

PS: … and my good companions to this jewel were Cohiba Siglo I and a bottle of Barolo 2008. These two I can easily recommend.

 


Coward. A Criminal edition by Eb Brubaker and Sean Philips

A glossy two-book hardcover collection of all six Criminal volumes was the reason I decided to re-read volume one Coward again. Actually, on my second try it felt much better than when I first had read it. Actually, I would even say I quite liked it. Is it a consequence of volume six? Hmm, looks like I am getting older and dumber.

P.S. And now I quietly wait for the movie.

 


Fatale. Book Five: Curse the Demon by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

The last book of Fatale franchise. A decent read, though, I guess, I got tired of it a bit already – like TV shows, the series fatigue finally catches up with you.

Still, when they make a movie, I will be the first to watch it.

 

 

 


Amerika by Réal Godbout

I haven't read Kafka's unfinished novel, so hard for me to judge how close it is to the original, but this adaptation as a standalone book is a very nice funny read. In a sense, it reminded me of Eduardo Mendoza's numerous novels from the past three decades, not only the mad detective ones, but even more serious – which are also full of unexpected story twists and adventures.

Me likes.

 


Sleepwalk and other stories by Adrian Tomine

Adrian Tomine's Sleepwalk is nearly perfect. A hundred page long collection of a dozen stories, that look and read like pages torn out of people's diaries, written for the owner's own exclusive use. Lonely, insecure, sad, they are touchingly real.

Given that I exceeded my memory's capacity for remembering the content of books and movies long time ago (a clear consequence of rabid consumption of both – and one of the reasons of this blog), from his main books Shortcomings and Summer Blonde I remember almost none. But I have flash memories that I loved them long time ago – and I did love this one.

Given Tomine's indie storylines, it's difficult to cut a part of a story as an example – so I decided I place here this one pager story called Drop – which is less typical for Tomine, but is quite interesting nonetheless, especially for the size of it.

 

 

 

 


Incidents in the Night Vol. 1 by David B.

Incidents in the Night left me unimpressed. I have so little to say about it (though it's supposedly literary, multi-layer, sophisticated, blah-blah-blah), that I'd rather keep it shut this time.

 


The Amateurs by Conor Stechschulte

The Amateurs by Conor Stechschulte is a most strange brew – a story about amnesia, two amateur butchers, tons of mindless gore and dark humor – sick, in the end. A good quick book, though I wouldn't recommend it to many. But to those who like Thomas Ott, I would.

 

 

 


The Playboy by Chester Brown

Every Chester Brown's story is a gem – and quite often a gem where he kinda strips naked, both figuratively and literally.

While Paying for It was Brown's recent autobiographic ode to the joys and dangers of paid sex, The Playboy is another brilliant comic memoir of his, focused on his adolescent passion for Playboy mag, masturbation, guilt and shame.

I know not all of you are able to enjoy it – still, I find this book totally adorable.