Saturday, December 3, 2011
At the request of his fiancee, Adrian Tomine set out to create a wedding favor for their guests that would be more fun and more personal than the typical chocolate bars and picture frames. What started out as a simple illustrated placecard soon grew into a comic book. These short strips chronicle the often ridiculous processes involved in planning a wedding, including hiring a DJ, location scouting, trips to the salon, suit fittings, dance lessons, registering for gifts, and managing parents' demands. I think they're really cute and funny! When I was planning my wedding, I kept thinking Why are we doing this, again? when it came to some ritual or tradition. Tomine illustrates these moments perfectly. The drawings are super-cute, too!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
In the not-so-distant future, an unimaginably powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos takes control over the global network of technology that runs all aspects of life in civilized society. Suddenly, all the fancy machines that people depend on--cell phones, cars, domestic robots, and more--turn on humans and begin to destroy them. We jump into the story a year before "the War" begins, when sporadic incidents of robotic rebellion occur, and as we read the events escalate until the robopocalypse finally arrives in full force. We hear the stories of several seemingly unconnected people as they fight to live, eventually coming together to figure out how to take their planet back from the machines.
I think robots might be the next big sci-fi thing. This novel has certainly generated a lot of buzz, and I think it lives up to the hype. There are lots of stories about robots-gone-wrong, but this one is unique (at least, among what I've read) because literally every single type of machine on the planet is being controlled by one being. In some ways it's such a ridiculous idea, and yet somehow it feels like something that could actually happen. This makes it even more freaky. As one expects from a novel with this kind of content, it seems to be a sort of cautionary tale about the incredible boom of technological development that has been going on the past twenty years or so. This book seems to suggest that we need to slow down and think about what we're doing before throwing everything out there just because we can. On the other hand, there are plenty of situations in which the machines overcome Archos' control and help the humans, making them seem like real living things with their own wills and emotions. Thinking about that is about the point where I start getting a headache, but it is certainly interesting to ponder. In addition to making me think, this book also kept me at the edge of my seat. There's plenty of exciting action, and I enjoyed trying to figure out how all of the characters would come together. I think this is a book that will please most science fiction fans, at least casual ones like me.
As bedraggled Rin crosses the mountain into Kaga, Anotsu heads out to return to Edo for a gathering with his men and the government's representative. Tables are turned as plans unfold and paths cross.
Rin and Anotsu, travel buddies?? Ha! Anotsu's got it rough this volume, enough so that even the reader wants to cut him some slack. Rin still can't defeat him on her best day, but somehow the thought of taking advantage of his misfortune doesn't set right with her and her samurai pride--for which fact the equally conflicted reader is thankful.
A dog builds himself a robot friend only to lose him to a foolish mistake. Can what's broken be mended?
The only words in this visually simple but thematically complex little graphic novel appear on book spines and street signs and postcards, but it has no difficulty communicating the joys and sorrows of its pair of separated friends as they are carried on the sometimes pleasant, sometimes upsetting currents of life. A surprisingly realistic treatment of friendship and personal growth.
Private eye John Blacksad is one cool cat. Seriously.
Anthropomorphic noir. Awesome sauce.
For more details about this collection of the first three arcs (Somewhere in the Shadows, Arctic Nation, Red Soul) in a French comic set in Cold War era America and created by a pair of Spaniards, please see my full review on NoFlyingNoTights.
When his best friend's fundamentalist mother goes on the warpath after catching him reading *gasp* a popular teen fantasy series, book-lover Neil Barton doesn't just add it to his long list of ways in which his life sucks. He takes up arms against the oppressor by joining his local librarian in her fight to keep the series on the shelf. And if he can manage not to repeat his past experiences of feeling like a total loser as he enters the new world of high school, then the future may not look quite as boringly lifeless and doomed as he'd assumed it would.
Oh, to be a teenager, with that certainty that the world is out to thwart your apathetic, misunderstood genius, and then realize there's a cozy little niche of it which is not so totally lame and unwelcoming, after all, if you can just push yourself toward it little by little. While the set-up for this freedom-to-read manifesto is perhaps a little broadly painted (conservative Christians do not fare too well and the librarian is unrealistically free with her patron communications; also, she reads at the desk? hello?), the picture of a listless, awkward teen learning to appreciate the strengths and connections he already has and finding the confidence to put them to use and develop new ones is effective.
The main story artwork could use a little more black or texture shading to balance all the white space, but it contrasts interestingly with the intermittent, screentoned segments from the fantasy series in question (the plot, setting, characters, and themes of which are surprisingly well-developed for a story-within-a-story device--I almost want to read the non-existent books!).
A little too idealized and us-vs.-them, this world, but if you can tune out some of the soapbox rhetoric, you'll find the core message still worth sitting down (or standing up) for.