Sunday, August 27, 2006


100... 200... 800... catorce.

Comics read recently:

Casanova #3
This is still quite fun. I wish the interiors were as pretty as the exteriors (orange and purple beats puke green and black everyday, ask M.O.D.O.K.), but Bá's drawing is quite nice throughout. If Nick Fury, James Bond and Jerry Cornelius were ever as great as they like to think they are, they'd be Casanova Quinn. In three months, the book has gone from being a brightly lit rehashing of old super-spy stories to something that could actually surpass them. Kudos!

Dungeon: Twilight Vol. 2: Armageddon
In Vol. 1, Trondheim & Sfar took the loopy fantasy world of Dungeon and stood it on its head. The name Marvin the Red now belonged to someone else, Marvin was now The Dust King, Herbert was now The Great Khan and the planet had stopped spinning. A lot had happened in the undocumented time between Dungeon ages, but it was still great fun. In Vol. 2, the creative duo have enlisted cartoonist Kerascoet and stood the Dungeon concept on its head again. It's one thing to stop the planet's rotation, splitting the world into light and dark sides. It's another thing to break the entire planet into small, floating islands. The creators have a great time with this, forcing the characters to hop between cities, territories and countries like connections in a complex public transit system. We also get the continued themes of poorly thought-out dating and the responsibilities incurred when we try to become the thing we dream about. Oh, and religious intollerance, drug abuse and the brilliant city of the Olfs. Fun, fun, fun.

Banana Fish Vol. 1–3
Shôjo manga are Japanese comics for girls. Banana Fish is my first toe in the shôjo world. It was a massive crossover hit in Japan and has 15 volumes translated in english so far. Like most stories for young girls, Banana Fish starts off with American soldiers in Vietnam. One goes crazy and murders most of his unit. When he's finally stopped, he only says, "Banana Fish." And so begins the mystery, who or what is Banana Fish?

But, before we can answer that question, we need to jump in time to the homoerotic eighties. During the Kotch years, New York City turned into a an urban jungle of homoeroticism. Multiethnic, homoerotic gangs of pretty young boys roam the streets and war with each other over small homoerotic crimes and the desire to be the mantoys to the crimelords. The crimelords rule the city's homoerotic underbelly with their iron manlust. The homoerotic cops are all attracted to each other and the prettiest of the criminals, but they have nothing but jealous spite for the old crimelord bears that use the pretty boys for sex. It's the reemergence of Banana Fish and the visitation of a pair of homoerotic Japanese reporters that set of a major homoerotic gang war, murder, manrape, gymnastics and a strange indignation characters have when people think they look younger than they really are — or when others act older than they are. Big homoerotic fights will suddenly stop while a character will take offense at someone thinking they're younger than they really are.

Age perception is one of the major preconceptions with the book, but it in no way overwhelms the dominant feature of the characters' motivations: they are attracted to each other. Almost everything that happens in these books happens because a man loves a boy, a boy loves a boy, several men love a boy, a boy is jealous of another boy's relationship with a man and so on. It's a big homoerotic world, with about thirty of 600 pages containing female characters. The homoeroticism jumps into the river of ridiculousness and swims out into the ocean of, "YES! We get it! He's very pretty and very smart! Stop being so surprised by his beauty and intelligence! Do something stupid for a different reason, just ONCE!"

Monster Vol. 4
This series started out as a medical melodrama, exploring the politics of the modern hospital. It slowly transformed into a cross between The Fugitive and The Hulk tv shows. Like Casanova above, it looks like it's going to surpass the quality of its influences, if it hasn't already. Admitedly, The Hulk was The Fugitve concept with a twist and Monster twists it one more time. Dr. Tenma loses his job after chosing to save one patient over a higher-profile one. Unfortunately, the patient he saved has turned into a monster (not an existential concept anthropomorphized, but a serial killer). Tenma must travel through Germany, always a few steps behind the killer he feels he created. In the process, Tenma finds himself helping the disenfranchised people living along the killer's trail. The series' start was good enough to keep me coming back even if it wasn't the greatest thing in the world. By the third volume, I was hooked. The fourth ups the ante for the characters to such a degree that I think I'll be along for the full ride. It's very plot-oriented, and the characters are a bit stock, but there are enough flourishes to keep it all from getting bland. There's even the first successful attempt at a David Lynch scene I've seen in comics. It's also got me sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting for the crazy genious cop to start his manhunt.

Death Note Vol. 7
Speaking of plot-oriented comics, the latest installment in the king of all plot-oriented comics is out. I was disapointed with the way Vol. 5 seemed to toss the baby out the bathwater, storywise (even if it did have the best mantears-inducing scene in comics), but loved what the book became in Vol. 6. Vol. 7 actually goes a step further and tosses the baby's mother out on her ass as well. And then brings in a new mother, baby and some fresh bathwater. Or something. Metaphor-stretching aside, Death Note's latest is lovely to look at, fun-as-shit to read, morally deprived and takes the concepts of killer notebooks and the super geniouses it attracts to a wonderfully absurd place.It's wonderful because the absurdity all makes sense.

Drifting Classroom Vol. 1
I bought this, forgetting Marcos already did. That's ok, because it was pretty enjoyable. Once you get past the opening narration from the world's most unlikable kid and the Japanese elementary school gets teleported into a place that might be Hell, things really pick up. Lies, deceit, suicide, teachers stabbing children — it's big, sloppy melodrama, it seems rather relevant to today's world (it was originally published in the 70s) and it's fun in the way that watching little kids get maimed or killed is fun for the imagination. Best to read it while riding a train into work when you need to think of new ways to kill children. Shouldn't be read while watching news reports from any wars actually happening.

Battle Royale Vol. 1
I saw, and loved, the movie a couple of years ago. Tony Shenton reccomended the manga when I ran into him the other day. I don't know why I never thought of reading it before. If watching teachers beat small children is fun, imagine how much fun it is to read about sexed-up teenagers stranded on an island and forced to kill each other until only one survives. If I have any problem with this, it's that I already know how it all happens. I know the secret of the mysterious older kid. So, I'm not (eh hem) DYING to see what happens next, but the over-the-top cartoonishness of this manga is irresistible, and will nicely fill the voids between Death Note and Monster releases.

Eden Vol. 2–4
I've only just started reading 2, but this quiet, violent, post-apocalyptic genesis story is something else to just fall in love with.


Blogger Marcos Perez said...

cool, i was planning on watching prison break after veronica mars.

ill get checks at some point. im assuming its comic stuff.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

Comics and property tax.

I shall lend you Prison Break, just give me one day's notice.

That's right. Another questionable purchase by me.

Battlestar 2.5 comes out tomorrow, should be in the netflix envelopes Wed–Thurs.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Marcos Perez said...

oh wonderful tv.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Marcos Perez said...

netflis says sept 19 on BG2.5

11:38 AM  
Blogger Marcos Perez said...

oh and u can give me the security deposit check too!

11:39 AM  

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