meteordust: (kujaku)
There are a lot of things I could say about Dexter Down Under, a graphic novel in which Dexter visits Australia to help the local police catch a serial killer. I have mixed feelings about the Dexter series these days, but I had to check it out.

Minor spoilers )
meteordust: (kujaku)
In 2014, I read 24 volumes of graphic novels.

Series I discovered:

Saga - A big epic space adventure, that at its heart is about two people in love trying to raise their child while on the run for their lives. This is so much of what I love about science fiction: strange fantastic worlds of wonder, full of people who are literally aliens or robots or ghosts, but still very much people like us. Vivid, funny, and occasionally a little disturbing.

The Drops of God - Thanks to this manga, my knowledge of wine has increased from practically nothing to an awareness of what the hell is a grand cru and why terroir is a thing. One of the reasons I love this type of manga is gaining an appreciation of things people love and why they love it - whether it be ballet, boxing, or baking - plus all the fascinating, esoteric detail, wrapped up in a story with grand! dramatic! stakes!

Series I continued to enjoy:

Oishinbo - A food manga about a newspaper team researching the dream menu, and delving into cooking techniques and ingredient hunting along the way. It's really educational and entertaining! Volumes I read this year were "Fish, sushi and sashimi", "Vegetables", and "Rice".

Standalones I enjoyed:

Hyperbole and a Half - Allie Brosh collects some of the best comics from her website, including Cake Versus Pie: A Scientific Approach, This is Why I'll Never be an Adult, and Adventures in Depression and Depression Part Two. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes devastating, always honest.
meteordust: (kujaku)
So a couple of weekends ago, I went to Supanova in Sydney. It was a whirlwind of a day, catching up with friends and checking out panels and browsing the stalls.


Jason Isaacs and Bonnie Wright )

Behind the Scenes of Mad Max: Fury Road: Greg van Borssum and Mark Sexton )

Lady Creators Assemble! Alisha Jade, Samantha Calcraft, Komala Singh, Karen Beilharz, Alana Bruyn )

Shopping )

Miscellaneous )

Photos )
meteordust: (kujaku)
Better get this finished before I have to post the 2014 retrospectives.

In 2013, I read 70 volumes of graphic novels. What can I say, I joined a new library and hit a motherlode of titles.

Series I discovered:

20th Century Boys - I know so many people who list this in their top five of all time. I marathoned this over three weeks or something. All I can say is, you were right, why did I not read this earlier? It's all about ordinary people being heroic, and the nostalgia of childhood, and the challenges of adulthood. Science fiction, unbreakable friendships, rock music, and saving the world.

Pluto - A retelling of the classic Astroboy story arc "The Greatest Robot on Earth", through the eyes of the robot detective who was one of the supporting characters. An ambitious project, but the result is a tense and moving story.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise - Loved this sequel to the TV series, and loved getting to follow the characters again, dealing with the aftermath of the war.

Thermae Romae - An architect from ancient Rome is transported to modern Japan, where he discovers and brings back advancements in bath houses, whose love both peoples share. Funny and enlightening.

Yakitate!! Japan - Basically a sports manga except with baking bread instead of scoring goals. Started off deeply fascinating - so that's how you make a 324 layer croissant! - but devolved into silliness by the umpteenth volume.

Series I continued to enjoy:

Runaways - Ordinary kids with extraordinary powers, trying to survive in a superhero universe. I wish things could have stayed the same for the gang as in the early volumes, but if the series was continued one day I would still read on.

Yotsuba&! - Getting to read the new volume is always one of the highlights of my year. I just wish it happened more than once a year. Yotsuba messing around with blue paint was adorable.

Standalones I enjoyed:

The Heart of Thomas - A shounen ai classic about love and tragedy, finally released in English in a beautiful hardcover edition.

Orbiter - A science fiction story about the mystery behind the last space shuttle, but also about the dream of space. A collaboration between Warren Ellis and Colleen Doran.

X-Men: Days of Future Past - I'm often surprised how short these classic stories are, but it's hard to live up to the size of the shadows they cast. Still glad I finally read it.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Lost Adventures - Short comics of side adventures and missing scenes from the series. Delightful fun.
meteordust: (kujaku)
In 2012, I read 15 volumes of graphic novels.

Series I continued to enjoy:

Runaways - I love these kids, smart and funny and brave, trying to deal with their powers and their place in the universe, plus everything the universe throws at them. This is a series that deserves to be continued.

Yotsuba&! - Yotsuba is a joy. I look forward to the single volume of this that comes out every year. This time, she discovers pizza, bubbles, and cameras.

Standalones I enjoyed:

X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga - It was cool to finally get to read this classic story, but I think it might be one of those things where you had to be there at the time, to get the full impact.

X-Men: Magneto Testament - Magneto's childhood during the rise of the Nazis and the Holocaust. As disturbing and powerful as it sounds.
meteordust: (Default)
In 2011, I read 36 volumes of graphic novels.

Series I finally finished:

Fullmetal Alchemist - A long time coming, but the perfect ending in every way.

Hikaru no Go - Five years on, the English translation is complete.

Series I continued to enjoy:

Otomen - Everyone else I know who has tried it has bounced off it hard, and I know the politics are terrible, but I can't help but be charmed by Asuka and Ryo.

Yotsuba&! - Still pure delight. (Only one new volume a year! How ever will I cope?)

Series I discovered for the first time:

Girl Genius - I've barely scratched the surface, but I'm intrigued by what I've seen. Promises to be a fantastical journey.

Runaways - I loved the meta aspects of this - these characters are very genre savvy! - which reminded me of Buffy. I also love that they live in the Marvel universe and talk about superheroes like we would celebrities.

Scott Pilgrim - Never warmed to Scott, never warmed to Ramona, but the final volume was a pretty impressive conclusion.

X-Men: Age of Apocalypse - A Dark Mirror universe where Charles Xavier died (in Magneto's arms! by taking a bullet for him!), and Apocalypse has taken over the world. Now Magneto leads the X-Men in the fight against tyranny. Some storylines are more interesting than others, but it's intriguing to see the alternate universe versions of everyone.

X-Men: Excalibur - Charles and Erik rebuild Genosha together. (With occasional domesticity!) The plot is a bit random, but the characters are pretty cool (especially Callisto), and I would have loved to see this series continue longer.

X-Men: Misfits - The mangafied version of X-Men where everyone looks bish, and Kitty Pryde is the only girl at Xavier's School for the Gifted, and gets mixed up with the bad boys of the Hellfire Club. Hilarious entertainment, though I don't know if I could take more than one volume.

Standalones I enjoyed:

A Drunken Dream - Moto Hagio is a master, and this is a brilliant showcase of her work. (I am *so* looking forward to Heart of Thomas later this year.)
meteordust: (Default)
In 2010, I read 45 volumes of graphic novels.

Series I continued to enjoy:

Fullmetal Alchemist
Hikaru no Go
Yotsuba&!

Series I rediscovered:

From Eroica With Love

Series I discovered for the first time:

Otomen

Standalones I enjoyed:

Calamity Jack
Colour Bleach+: Bleach Official Bootleg
meteordust: (Default)
In 2009, I read 83 volumes of graphic novels.

Series I continued to enjoy:

Fullmetal Alchemist
Hikaru no Go
Slam Dunk!
Bleach

Series I discovered for the first time:

To Terra
Oishinbo

Standalones I enjoyed:

Castle Waiting
meteordust: (Default)
In 2008, I read 142 volumes of graphic novels. Yeah, I don't know either.

Series I continued to enjoy:

Fullmetal Alchemist
Hikaru no Go
Tsubasa
Swan
XXXHolic
Dragon Voice
Fruits Basket


Series I discovered for the first time:

Bleach
Owly
Slam Dunk!
Yotsuba&!
Queen and Country
The Plain Janes


Standalones I enjoyed:

The Great Gatsby
Tales from Outer Suburbia
meteordust: (Default)
The last of this set of retrospectives, and about time too.

In 2007, I read 61 volumes of comics. I've pretty much stopped picking up single issues and am only reading graphic novels.

These are my highlights of the year:

New discoveries

Imadoki! by Yuu Watase (Volumes 1-5 complete)
Tanpopo is a cheerful and energetic girl who wins a place in a elite high school through scholarship instead of connections. Despite being bullied and belittled by the other students, she forges ahead with determination. A chance encounter with Koki Kugyo, school president, with whom she shares a love of flowers and gardens, begins an unlikely friendship. He is only the first of the students whose lives are changed by Tanpopo's spirit. Tanpopo is a great character, and as always, the art is lovely.

Dreamtoons by Jesse Reklaw (standalone)
Jesse Reklaw draws dreams. People from all over the world send their dreams to him; he turns their dreams into four panel comics. They are surreal and hilarious and freaky: like trying to parallel park an elephant, or waiting for a phone call from God, or getting beaten up by a mob of Hollywood stars. Reading these comics like taking a peek into someone else's brain.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Volumes 1-2 complete)
The autobiographical story of a childhood in Iran after the fall of the Shah. The daughter of intellectuals, raised to liberal thinking in a conservative society. A fascinating and funny account. I like how unashamedly honest she is in this telling, including showing the odd notions of childhood.

A Contract With God by Will Eisner (standalone)
These stories of growing up in New York in the 1930s evokes an era that remains alive in story: old tenement buildings, kids playing on the sidewalk, the dramas of ordinary lives. Fluid and flawless art.

Tramps Like Us (Volumes 1-8 of 14)
Tramps Like Us (originally called Kimi wa Pet). The opening makes me think of a het version of Zetsuai - protagonist finds young man sleeping on the street, brings young man home to live, unresolved sexual tension and interesting complications ensue. The main character is the driven professional journalist Sumire, whose cool exterior hides a human vulnerability. The young man is Momo, a dancer whose playful attitude is balanced with an unexpectedly mature side. The character dynamics are fascinating and remind me a lot of the tropes of BL.

The Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew (Volumes 1-2 continuing)
The adventures of a stick figure adventuring party, a parody of and homage to RPGs. Very funny and accurate, except for a couple of things that bug me. Available online as a webcomic.

Old favourites

Fullmetal Alchemist
Marmalade Boy
XXXHolic
Akiko
Dragon Voice
meteordust: (Default)
In Alan Moore's introduction to the collected V for Vendetta, he talks about his 'political inexperience' and 'naivete' when he started the comic in 1981, including his supposition 'that it would take something as melodramatic as a near-miss nuclear conflict to nudge England towards fascism.'

He goes on to say:

"It's 1988 now. Margaret Thatcher is entering her third term of office and talking confidently of an unbroken Conservative leadership well into the next century. My youngest daughter is seven and the tabloid press are circulating the idea of concentration camps for persons with AIDS. The new riot police wear black visors, as do their horses, and their vans have rotating video cameras mounted on top. The government has expressed a desire to eradicate homosexuality, even as an abstract concept, and one can only speculate as to which minority will be the next legislated against. I'm thinking of taking my family and getting out of this country soon, sometime over the next couple of years. It's cold and it's mean spirited and I don't like it here anymore."
meteordust: (Default)
"But it was my integrity that was important. Is that so selfish? It sells for so little, but it's all we have left in this place. It is the very last inch of us. But within that inch we are free."

***


I've read a lot of amazing graphic novels over the past year. Old classics like Watchmen. New classics like 30 Days of Night. But none of them had the same impact on me as V for Vendetta.

Alan Moore's story depicts a totalitarian Britain where constant surveillance is a fact of life and minorities and dissidents are sent to concentration camps. This fascist regime is shaken by a series of attacks by a masked rebel known only as V. Sixteen year old Evey meets V when he rescues her from death at the hands of corrupt police, and he teaches her the hard and precious thing that freedom is.

If you liked 1984, you'll probably like V for Vendetta. But if, like me, you hated 1984, you'll probably *love* V for Vendetta.

Because in this story, Winston Smith strikes back.

Alan Moore wrote V for Vendetta in the 1980s, during the height of the Thatcher years. But the sad and frightening thing is, it's just as relevant today. Even reading it through the sensitive filters of the post September 11 world - after all, V is an anarchist, and his actions can be morally ambiguous - doesn't lessen the emotional power of the story.

Still, I remain astonished that they are making a movie of it - even though, given the kinds of disturbing laws on the horizon, it's probably perfect timing. Unfortunately, I've been hearing rumours of key changes made to the plot, and Alan Moore has already decided to disassociate himself from the production. I'm hoping against hope that my doubts prove unjustified, because I would cheer to see a movie of V for Vendetta that even half lives up to the spirit of the comic.

Because sometimes art is for entertainment.

And sometimes it's to make people angry. And to make people care.

***


"An inch. It's small and it's fragile and it's the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us."

Day 3

Nov. 4th, 2004 02:56 am
meteordust: (NaNoWriMo 2004)
Word count:

Today - 490
Total - 1746

Still in the suckage zone, but somehow I don't think I'll be doing any more writing tonight.

Need to kill my internal editor. And unplug the internet maybe.

Oh yeah, today I picked up the latest issue of Rising Stars, after a hiatus of well over a year. In a spooky kind of synchronicity, it featured one prominent character running for election as President of the USA - in a storyline that had been set up months and months ago.

Spoilers for Rising Stars #22 )
meteordust: (Default)
This long weekend is turning into a helluva busy one. To kick it off, last night I saw Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Yay! Full review later. Come to think of it, I still haven't posted my review of Troy yet either.

Anyway, I had to get up early this morning for soccer. So far this season, XD Elite has had an interesting run. Our very first game was against SLUTS (AnimeUTS), who beat us - and have gone on to do the same to everyone else they've faced. Our second game was meant to be against Mac Anime Antics (AnimeMQ), but only one guy from their team showed up, so we decided the game with a penalty shootout, which we won. Our third game was against SeeDs (JAUWS), which was tied 0-0. Today we were playing against Crunky (AnimeUNSW). Unfortunately, they were just too good and outplayed us. Next game is in a couple of weeks, against Tsunami (SUAnime) - the only team we haven't faced yet. Who knows how it will go...

This weekend is also the weekend of the Ozcomics 24 Hour Challenge. Quite a few people I know are doing it today (and continuing all the way through to tomorrow morning). I was tempted to join them - yes, despite my crappy drawing skills - but the soccer thing kind of threw a spanner in the works. Then on the train home, a cool idea hit me, and now I'm definitely in. I'm not sure if I'm going to be sleeping much (or at all) tonight.
meteordust: (Default)
Last night I watched From Hell, the movie based on Alan Moore's graphic novel about Jack the Ripper. I'm often wary of Hollywood adaptations, especially when they involve classics like this, but they did a surprisingly good job this time.

Alan Moore's From Hell is a huge, sprawling graphic novel filled with a wealth of detail. I was curious about how they would adapt such a dense and multilayered story to the screen.

I was pretty impressed with the job the makers of the movie did. They succeeded in communicating the core of the story faithfully while creating a very watchable movie. The events of the plot were streamlined and compressed in an intelligent way. I was a little bemused by Abberline's acquisition of psychic powers, but I could accept that as a narrative device to convey information to the audience. The ending was slightly more upbeat than the graphic novel, but it still had the same bittersweet flavour.

I guess it's a good example of an adaptation that maintains the spirit of the original. Nice one.
meteordust: (save me)
From Comic Shop News #859:

Teen Titans Robin and Superboy guest-star in Superman/Batman #7, guest-illustrated by Dreamwave's Pat Lee. The two young heroes have forged a common bond - each working in the shadows of a prominent mentor, seeking to find their own identity in the super-hero world - and now work closely as teammates. Now they must deal with Robin's shocking discovery that Superboy's genetic makeup contains DNA not only from Superman, but also from Lex Luthor. Will they let their mentors know?

Maybe all those Smallville mpreg writers are onto something after all...

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