My posting about graphic novels in January mentioned some of Kazu Kibuishi’s work as did my review of The Amulet. I borrowed Flight Volume 2 and purchased Book 2 of the Amulet since.
Flight Volume 2
Kazu Kibuishi is the editor, of the Graphic Novel potpourri that is Flight. But readers are still lucky enough to be treated to his excellent work too. Kibuishi’s The Orange Grove is wonderfully touching; its uncluttered and clear style draws you in.
My favourite story, though, is Ghost Trolley by Rod Sechrist. Eerie artwork and an interesting story.
I also enjoyed Destiny Express by Jen Wang and Monster Slayers by Khang Le.
I’ve read three volumes of this series and have enjoyed them all. Recommended!
The Amulet Book 2
The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Book 2) is an excellent and exciting sequel to The Stonekeeper (Book 1). The story is a compelling young adult story (that’s still good enough for adults too) with a complex cast of characters and intricate plot. All that and it still manages to enthrall. I especially liked the talking trees! I will likely buy the entire series.
Very highly recommended.
The Professor’s Daughter published in 1997 by First Second (New York, NY) was drawn by Emmanuel Guibert and written by Joann Sfar. I didn’t find it delighted me as much as Gene Luen Yang’s books from the same publisher. This is a more whimsical topic, of course, and I did enjoy the drawings and water colouring. But I found the story too disjointed: it hopped from point to point with little to connect it or to motivate the reader to care about the urbane protagonists Imhotep IV and Lillian Bowell. Even the very beginning was rushed into from my perspective as reader.
Although very pretty I find this work too frustrating to recommend to anyone but those who appreciate comic drawing and don’t overly care for story.
I found two graphic novels by Gene Luen Yang at my local library and thoroughly enjoyed them both. They were:
- American Born Chinese, 2006 First Second, New York, NY
- The Eternal Smile by Yang and Derek Kirk Kim, 2009 First Second, New York, NY
American Born Chinese is really two stories intertwined in a coming of age tale. The first is that of adolescent Jin Wang growing up in America and, the second, the cultural story of Monkey King and Wong Lai-Tsao. As the title indicates, there is a meeting of America and China in these pages.
The Eternal Smile is three stories assembled together:
- Duncan’s Kingdom is about Duncan and his struggle to extricate himself from fantasy.
- Elias McFadden’s Gran’Pa Greenbax and The Eternal Smile is an intriguing moral and ecological tale. It reminded me of Scrooge McDuck stories. It was sad what happened to poor Filbert and the twins Polly and Molly were interesting characters.
- Urgent Request is quite a different tale involving Nigerian Prince Henry and the resilient Janet. I just wish I could have seen something bad happen to Mr. Hoffman.
Both books are quick reads and recommended, especially the first!
This animated ‘new’ fairy tale is from the book by Kate DiCamillo and is beautiful to experience. The Renaissance art influences are wonderful to simply bask in as you watch. I won’t dwell too much on historical inaccuracies like some since, after all, it is a fairy tale. I thought the plot elements involving the serving girl Miggery Sow (Tracey Ullman) were weak and didn’t especially add to the flow but that isn’t nearly enough to keep me from enjoying and buying this DVD.
I have placed Kate’s book on hold at the library as I want to see the source for this interesting story. I’m especially interested in seeing how she treats with Despereaux since he seems ultra brave and incapable of cowering at the beginning (like Reepicheep in the Chronicles of Narnia) but seems to change quite a bit when confronted with the nasty cat in the Rat Dungeon.
Still, very worthwhile.
I really enjoyed this documentary about Someguy (an artist in San Francisco who preferred to remain anonymous) distributing 1000 blank journals in random places around San Francisco and to people who requested to write in one over his website. There were few rules: only a request that the journal be returned at some point. What an interesting and hopeful idea and one with results no one could have expected. Here’s the stamp that accompanied each journal.
The Producer, Writer and Director was Andrea Kreuzhage, and director of photography was Ralph Kaechele. These two really provide an intriguing glimpse into this unique story about what can happen with an idea. Someguy wanted his brainchild to travel the world for him: and it certainly has.
Not all have returned to him but such is the nature of such an organic idea: perhaps they’ll come home to roost sometime in the future if they aren’t forever lost. It’s very exciting, really. The person who lead the discussion after this film was shown in the Alma Gallery said that Someguy has received 40 of them back to date. He’s scanned them and has made some available on the website and has even put together an exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art showing some of the entries (November 01, 2008 – April 05, 2009) and a book.
Another interesting consequence is the emotional attachment to the material by people who have poured a little of themselves into one or more of the pages. For some it took a long time (years in probably more than one case) to figure out exactly what they wanted to put down and others only minutes. And it extends beyond the time they have it too. One woman who was interviewed after comments made by another person to her entry was extremely upset about what she considered a personal attack. Such investment in something that transcends ownership. And yet, at the end of the documentary, there was a cathartic moment when she was on again and indicated how important the project was to her.
In another case the documentary focuses on several pages that were defaced (often literally) by another entrant. Even when blank pages were available. That brings up questions of artistic freedom, ownership (again), loss and, perhaps, the inability for some to do their own original thing.
The project continues anew at the 1001 journals site.