Downgoing?

July 8, 2008

I’m just not feeling the ComicList love this week. So, for a change, I’ll recommend some old (or “old”) comics.

The Walking Man, by Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon): This is one of the most soothing, serene comics reading experiences you’re ever likely to enjoy. It’s basically about a suburban guy who goes on walks, taking in the scenery as he goes. That’s all, and that’s plenty, because the gentle spirit of the stories marries beautifully with Taniguchi’s richly detailed visuals.

Paris, by Andi Watson and Simon Gane (SLG): A sweet, slight story of young women in love, masterfully illustrated by Gane. Watson’s observations about class and youth provide a nice enough spine, but the real appeal is Gane and his rich, odd renderings of Paris in the 1950s. I had never seen Gane’s artwork before, and there’s really nothing else like it.

Polly and the Pirates, by Ted Naifeh (Oni Press): Is it possible to be both a proper schoolgirl and the terror of the high seas? It is if you’re being written and drawn by Naifeh, who can combine tight plotting with fanciful, funny bits that don’t disrupt the flow.

Livewires: Clockwork Thugs, Yo, by Adam Warren and Rick Mays (Marvel): Even when working for Marvel, Warren (creator of the demented and thoroughly charming Empowered for Dark Horse) can turn out a funky, smart comic. This one’s about a black-ops group of android teens who are tasked with cleaning up a proliferation of similarly covert tech cells. Imaginative violence, smart plays on the “even an android can cry” motif, nifty fad jokes, and eye-popping art by Mays are more than enough to render the tiny, tiny lettering a non-issue.

Only the Ring Finger Knows, by Satoru Kannagi and Hotaru Odagiri (Juné): This sweet, squeaky clean example of shônen-ai is still one of my favorites. It’s a gentle, character-driven romance between two temperamentally opposite high-school students (try and contain your shock at the novelty of such a concept, I beg). I keep meaning to read the novels based on the property.