Random Thursday thoughts

I’m in one of those phases where reading comics and writing about them seem to have overtaken me a bit. There are three or four reviews I’ve got drafted in my head, two or three column ideas bouncing around up there, and feedback overload from all of the good “best of 2007” lists floating around. The best thing to do would be to just sit down with these various books and get to writing (after I read Rutu Mordan’s Exit Wounds again, because critical consensus has me feeling like I’m missing brilliance and just seeing general excellence), but I keep getting distracted by new comics that show up.

As expected, Nextwave: I Kick Your Face (Marvel) was very, very funny, and I’d love to see more of it (collected in paperback). There was one sequence that was kind of jarring, featuring some perhaps-too-astute parodies of the kinds of spandex stylings that normally exhaust me. I recovered, obviously.

I’m still not quite sure what to think of the preview copy of Hell Girl that Del Rey sent me. It’s shôjo comeuppance theater by Miyuki Eto where terrible things happen to horrible people after good people prone to immediate gratification consign their tormentors to hell with the help of an urban legend with a web site. I think I need to read more of this before I render any kind of verdict, but there are some really discordant things going on here.

And a whole bunch of Viz books I really like have come out lately. I like Naoki Urasawa’s Monster so much better when it doesn’t focus on plaster saint Tenma, and I’m constantly and pleasantly surprised by Urasawa’s ability to structure a thriller in surprising but entirely coherent ways. I sense a whole lot of Tenma on the immediate horizon, but the book’s pleasures will definitely outweigh the dullness of its protagonist. More Nana more often makes me happy, even when the story itself makes me very, very sad. I love how Ai Yazawa is playing with and rebalancing the naïve/worldly dynamic between her two leads. And the handy thing about having the kind of large, well-crafted cast that has assembled in Fullmetal Alchemist is that you can do an entire volume where one lead barely appears and the other doesn’t show up at all and it will still be riveting.

And now, some links:

  • Christopher Butcher takes a very thoughtful, well-informed, in-depth look at some of the items from my 2007 manga news round-up.
  • Johanna Draper Carlson rounds up some recent manga news items and offers her own thoughts. (Pop quiz: Does Dark Horse actually publish any shôjo, or just manga titles from other categories that people who like shôjo might enjoy?)
  • The Occasional Superheroine looks at Newsweek’s discovery of women who write comics and finds it wanting. (When I read the piece at Newsweek’s site, there was this horrible sidebar ad about some wrinkle cream showing a woman who had been retouched to look like something just this side of moldering, because physical representations of life experience are apparently to be fought with all the vigor science can muster. It seems to have been taken out of the page’s ad rotation, and while the replacements are surprisingly low-rent for an outfit like Newsweek, none seem to be actively thematically opposed to the page’s main content. Yay?)
  • One Response to Random Thursday thoughts

    1. […] Welsh has a few random nuggets of wisdom to share, and Carlo Santos posts another Right Turn Only!! column up at ANN, in which he ruminates […]

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