I initially passed on this book after not being too enamored with Invisible Republic. After all of these positive reviews maybe I’ll give it a swing.
Yay! Glad you enjoyed it.
This was one of the stand out aspects for me too.
It’s very different to Invisible Republic, I really like that series but it’s arguably one for super tradewaiting. This is a far zippier read and a really great re-invention.
black cloud volume 1
I pushed this up my reading pile today, as volume 2 is solicited in this month’s Previews and I had not read this yet - so didn’t know whether to order.
It started off well enough but it kinda fell apart after issue 2 and my interest along with it.
Greg Hinkle’e art is really good but the plot is pretty directionless and it’s not written in a very engaging manner.
Feels like a book that has been written by someone struggling to come up with ideas for a book to write, rather than them being compelled to tell a story.
By the final issue of the volume I had to really force myself to keep reading, even if the concept was grabbing me, it’s not very well written at all.
I felt exactly the same. It was a real struggle to push through those last few issues, and I only really stuck around for the art.
Snotgirl Volume 1
This is the sort of cutesy, too young for me, shit that Image publishes a lot of and I hate.
Things that can normally get to fuck:
Loose & Cartoony artwork - check
Post Mean Girls, smug gossip girl style bitchy dialogue - check
Fashion Bloggers - check
Bitchy girls and guys who love themselves - check
#hashtags - #check
Generationfuckingwhatevergenerationthese weecuntsare - check
Except, I don’t hate this, I love it.
Absolutely love it.
I don’t know what is going on here. I tried this based on the following reason;
I had heard a bunch of hype when Scott Pilgrim was originally coming out, I checked the book in the store a whole bunch of times and looking at it I could not marry the hype with what i was looking at. I just didn’t appear to be my thing.
Then one day I bought the first volume and I felt instantly addicted to it.
It was a genius series that gave Bryan Lee O’Malley a massive amount of credit in the bank with me.
So, Snotgirl, in no way shape or form, sounded like something like I would like to read.
But, I had to give him the benefit of the doubt again - due to the strength and surprise of Scott Pilgrim. This has been a sitting on my shelf for quite some time because I’m too embarrassed to read it on the train and I don’t get much reading time at home, but volume 2 arrived yesterday and I decided to make a spontaneous reading decision on it.
I was hooked from chapter 1, which actually took me a while to read. Not because it’s overly wordy or hard to understand - it’s just there’s a lot going on and it was fun to take my time and absorb it.
It was a great first issue, and against all instinct, I actually really fell for and felt for the main character by the end of that opening chapter - which doesn’t make sense because she is not a likeable person and I think this is the strength of O’Malley as a writer here. He invests the reader in this character, and by extension this ‘type’ of person, by showing that they are person too - with all their own fucked up insecurites. It’s rather well done.
As for the art and colours by Leslie Hung and Mickey Quinn, they are both excellent, really good fit and the strorytelling is really clear.
Know that way you are reading a comic and you don’t want it to end? That doesn’t happen so often with me these days, mainly because of the speed of life and the amount of unread books I have to get through.
But, just like Scott Pilgrim and Rachel Rising I couldn’t put this down, it was really addictive and the only reason I have not moved to volume 2 is because I have to go make dinner.
I think it’s something O’Malley does very well because his characters often behave terribly but he has a knack of making you recognise your own flaws and forgiving them. Like Scott Pilgrim is often shallow, always lazy and takes his friends for granted but I’ve been guilty of all of those sometimes. He’s also very sincere and does stick up for the one he loves.
Especially in genre fiction we’re used to these idealised characters that basically do nothing wrong, your Captain America type, which definitely has its place too but I think sometimes some readers find it difficult if even when they have flaws they are beyond the Stan Lee model of one key weakness. Some writers find it hard too to sell a character with quite a few faults. O’Malley made it work for me with Scott Pilgrim, Garth Ennis mostly pulls it off too in the long term.
I really want to go bed but I can’t stop reading Snotgirl volume 2.
I am channelling my inner mangina.
And it is moist.
Frank Quitely: Drawings + Sketches HC
You’re a fan of Frank Quitely, aren’t you? Of course you are. He’s great. What are you doing here if you’re not a fan of Frank Quitely?
Well if you’re a fan of Frank Quitely you have to pick this up. It’s a 124-page little hardback that delves into his archive to reproduce a variety of behind-the-scenes material related to some of his biggest recent projects, and has enough in the way of commentary to give you some genuine insights into the thought process behind the work, rather than just being a basic sketchbook.
Divided up into six chapters - covering Jupiter’s Legacy, Jupiter’s Circle, the Pax Americana issue of Multiversity, Nothing to Declare, We3, and a miscellaneous section - the book ends up covering some of his most innovative moments in comics.
So you get the thought process behind stuff like the ‘reality cube’ from the first issue of Jupiter’s Legacy explained in detail by the artist himself.
Followed by original pencils for the page and an image of the final panel as printed. You get this regularly throughout the book, which is a useful way to compare the process stuff with the end result.
The Jupiter’s Circle chapter shows just how much Quitely contributed to that book too. As well as the covers, there are loads of character designs for both major and minor characters in the series. I love character turnaround sheets, and you get plenty of them here.
But it’s with the more formally experimental stuff with Grant Morrison that the book holds its most interesting material. The famous 3D panels from We3 get a fair bit of attention and explanation, and there’s also a full description of how the CCTV sequence (made up of countless small square panels) was put together.
And to my delight, Pax Americana gets a huge amount of attention. Along with some interesting insights into how the book was put together - including how difficult it was to work within Morrison’s chosen structure, especially on the rare occasion that the writer provided thumbnails to the artist - there’s a full fifteen pages on the showstopping centrepiece 32-panel double-page spread, which sees a key part of the story play out in the same space but across three separate timezones.
The section on the animation Nothing to Declare is interesting - although as it’s the project I know least about, the insights provided didn’t mean as much to me. Still, it’s interesting to learn about how Quitely designs had to be refined to suit the medium, and to see the extensive planning work undertaken for the project.
And the miscellaneous section is a nice collection of random bits and pieces, including some commissions and promotional artwork that I hadn’t seen before.
My only complaints about the book are that it doesn’t feature a wider selection of Quitely’s work - it would have been nice to see some stuff from his All-Star Superman, New X-Men or Flex Mentallo, for example, although I guess that could be due to rights issues - and the size of the book itself. Quitely’s art is quite intricate and detailed, and it would be nice to see it at a larger size than this (regular TPB for comparison).
Still, it’s well worth a look for anyone who’s a fan of Quitely’s art, and I was really pleased to see so much in the way of commentary - without that, these art books can sometimes feel quite empty, which isn’t the case here.
A) Is this a good price? (£34.30)
B) Is it worth reading?
It’s not bad at that price, although the remainder mark will probably limit its resale value if you’re not sure about keeping it.
I bought a copy a while back and couldn’t really get into it, but if you’re a fan of the artists involved it’s worth a look.
Haven’t yet read my copy, but it’s a really unique collection - with articles from the original comics.
Oh that’s Deadly Hands isn’t it? I misread it and thought it was Master.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned Being Super before, but I recommend it. It’s an “Elseworlds” Supergirl (I’m not sure why it wasn’t released under the Earth One banner) about an ordinary high-school student (in a world that, as far as we know, doesn’t have superheroes) who wakes up one day and finds she can fly and lift her dad’s car. And then things develop exactly as you could believe they would in the real world – i.e. it’s not a superhero comic. I’ve never heard of the writer Mariko Tamaki before, but she she does a really good job of making you care about this Kara and her (slightly cliched) supporting cast, and writing a grounded story about somebody who can, er, fly.
And the cover to the first issue is absolutely beautiful:
What sort of age level is it pitched at David? My daughter likes Supergirl a lot (mainly through the DC Superhero Girls stuff) and this sounds like something she might enjoy.
I’m really bad at assessing what kids can cope with, but I think it’s pitched fairly “adult”. I don’t mean sex and graphic violence, but thematically – like, one issue being mostly devoted to the town coping with the death of a teenage student. And the general having-powers-is-a-metaphor-for-teen-alienation that you used to get in the X-Men.
It’s nothing like the Superhero Girls stuff that I’ve read.
You ever consider “Supergirl: Adventures In The Eighth Grade”?
No, I’ve never heard of it - what’s it like?
All I know is that it was made for DC’s all-ages line, has a very cartoony art-style, and that Sterling Gates recommended it and I think bought it for the kid of a fan of his.
I’ll look into it, thanks.
Yeah, it’s aimed at more of a teen+ audience, like most of Tamaki’s work. There’s not really anything unsuitable in there, but it’s not aimed at younger kids.