Овраги. Девять дней в Санкт-Петербурге Филиппа Жирара

Видимо, слава Guy Delisle не даёт многим спать. Овраги – это затертая копия пхеньянского травелога, девять ничем не знаменательных и бледных дней путешествий квебекского автора комиксов по хипстерскому Питеру.

Прочитать за полчаса и забыть.

 

 


Голубые таблетки Фредерика Питерса

Неожиданно нашёл на полке купленный год или два назад и взапой, за час, с сигарой и чаем, прочитал этот короткий трогательный роман в картинках.

Наилучший подход – даже не знать, о чем он, совсем не смотреть на рецензии и краткое содержание на обороте, когда начинаешь читать – тогда его тонкость, нежность, сомнения, страхи, переживания, предрассудки будут максимально выпуклы, неприкрыты, будут резать как нож. Я читал именно так.

Превосходно, да.

А Земфира неправа, вот.

 


The Dead and the Dying. A Criminal edition by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

Part three of the Criminal series is a beautiful three-part story told from three different angles.

Ed Brubaker's storytelling gets better by each part, it seems. Coward was ok, Lawless was good, and this one even better.

No point retelling the storyline here, though. Never saw a point in that.

 


Lawless. A Criminal edition by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

Part two of the Criminal series is entertaining, like all of Brubaker's noir graphic novels. To me, they all have the feel and touch of Westlake, Chase, and the likes of them. Brubaker is one of their kin for sure.

In essence, I'm convinced that comic books are a great medium for crime fiction, something quite on par with the great black and white noir movies. Even the ones with color, like this one, not just Frank Miller's Sin City.

This particular chapter is as good as others – it lacks one thing only – a gory finale, with blood splattering everywhere, and everyone, good, bad, innocent and guilty, moving their bodies in a well rehearsed John-Woo-of-the-80s dance of bullets and brains. On the other hand, I'd say not all good crime books end in death and suffering. So, maybe not too bad for a change, huh.

 


Dotter of her Father’s Eyes by Mary M. Talbot and Bryan Talbot

Bought it in Sipur Pashut bookstore in Tel-Aviv – a short one, less than one hundred pages, an-hour-and-half kinda read. At the beach, where else.

A strange story. It’s part memoir, part fictiotionalized drawn narrative about Lucia Joyce, James Joyce’s daughter, from her birth through career in dancing, at the backdrop of her tough relations with her mother Nora, and ending with Lucia being confined to a mental institution.

The story is told in juxtaposition with the memoir of Mary Talbot herself, a daughter of a renown British Joycean scholar, and her difficult relationship with her own father.

What gives this book special flavor of sorts is the fact that the drawings are made by Bryan Talbot, the cartoonist who is also Mrs. Talbot’s husband. A family enterprise, so to say.

Overall conclusion is that the pictures were great, but for me, it didn’t went anywhere past my beach read. Maybe it will, for devoted Joyce fans, but not for me. But I also suspect, it might just as well sparkle their anger. Who knows, huh.

 


Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time by Hope Larson

I haven’t read the original A Wrinkle in Time, so hard for me to compare. Seems like a decent sci-fi story for teenagers, beautifully drawn and all.

But I won’t give it more than that, a children’s book, an old and renowned one, but still.

 

 

 


Sugar Skull by Charles Burns

Sugar Skull, Part 3 of Charles Burns' trilogy, is a comedown of sorts. Had to read all three parts again, by the way, as memory fails.

While both X'ed Out and The Hive were kinda hallucinogenic and mesmerizing in a typical sick and dirty way Burns is known for, Sugar Skull is much more open and sad. It has a NIN Hurt-like halo around it.

With no new nasty creatures (well, not entirely true), this time pieces of the puzzle mostly include real people, their fears and pains, poorly drawn plans and hastily made decisions.

The dream ends, and it ends, and it ends.

Still, to be fair to myself – it took Burns a while to make this book – and this trilogy is indeed a great piece of comic literature. Not sure whether it is a success commercially, but personally, I was waiting for the book to come out – as I will for next one.

Here's a quick interview with Burns from The New Yorker, where he speaks on Herge as his inspiration – and it gives tons of page scans as well. And damn, I need to make sure I read all the Tintin books one day!

 

 

 


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.