In Japanese, manga, Yukizo Saku on 2012/06/29 at 09:00
This is the book that teaches me the old lesson about judging books by their covers in the most literal sense. Way back in November when TCAF director and comics impresario Chris and I met with Akira Uemura, the editor of Erotics f, she filled our arms with delightful treats such as the Ono Kuma mobile phone strap that was on sale in the pop-up Natsume Ono cafe last year (something I really, really wanted, but which sold out before I got the chance to order it but which appears to be back in stock, so order away!), the most recent edition of Erotics f, and a standalone book called Kurokami no Helga.
When she slid a copy across the table to me, I was secretly rolling my eyes. Yawn. Pretty girl blushing, castle in the background, princely guy next to her staring wistfully into the distance? The cover screamed “princess rescue” or some other tired “for girls” storyline. And I have never cared for those storylines. Even as a kid, I was suspicious of these girls who were happy just to be married to the handsome stranger who carried them away from whatever peril they were in. Read the rest of this entry »
In Comics, English, Vanessa Davis on 2012/06/22 at 08:59
If there is a post that I am going to get hate mail about, it’s probably this one. It’s not that I didn’t like the book. I did, a lot in some ways. I like Davis’s drawing style, all elbows and knees optional. So reminiscent of Lynda Barry and I am a huge fan of her. (I took a writing workshop with her once, and when you read your work out loud, she would crouch down in front of your desk so she was a bit lower than you, listen attentively and then say, forcefully and somehow encouragingly, “Good, good!” That lady is more than alright.) Her work is less cluttered than Barry’s and definitely more realistic looking, but still, all those rubbery joints made me so happy.
And I like the mix of pieces in this collection, a variety of full-colour stories several pages long, stand-alone drawings (usually of a woman or women looking hot or rocking out somehow), and diary comics done in pencil where you can see the erased lines. I like seeing the various stages of her work, the various levels of her comics, and as a diarist, I am pretty charmed by her doing diary stuff in comics form. I am tempted to try that myself, but my drawings all end up looking the same. Years from now, when I looked back on my journal, I’d wonder which big-headed, dot-eye person was which. Read the rest of this entry »
In English, Leonore Tiefer, Nonfiction on 2012/06/15 at 09:09
Do you do this? Do you sometimes pick up a book, but you don’t really get it into it after the first chapter, so you leave it and then you come across it again months later and enthusiastically devour it? It’s not something that happens to be very often, but occasionally, the first time I pick up a book, I am just not in the mood to devote myself to that particular book, no matter how interested in it I might think I am beforehand.
And I usually read several books at a time (different books for different occasions!), so it’s pretty easy for me to disengage if I am not actually interested. I just push that lunchtime book to the side in favour of my afternoon reading book with the thought that I just want to read a few pages of this right now. And before I know it, the lunchtime book is buried under all the other books and may even make its way back to the shelf still unread. This appears to be happening with a book of short stories right now (although I am keeping an eye on that book, so it may make it back into reading rotation sooner rather than later), it’s what happened with Sex Is Not a Natural Act (high fives to publisher Westview Press for resisting the urge to add a subtitle below this very clear title). Read the rest of this entry »
In Comics, English, Jim Ottaviani, Leland Myrick, Science on 2012/06/08 at 09:09
My full-on love of all things science has been documented here before, but some of you may be doubting my science nerd credentials. I mean, sure, I have that degree in mathematics and everything, but all I ever write about here is comics and fiction with a side dish of social justice oriented non-fiction. Just where is the science? you might be wondering. Never fear, I am about to destroy you with my combined nerd powers: Science plus comics!
Here is how deep my science nerdism runs: This year at TCAF, the glorious festival of all things comics here in Toronto, I was interpreting for Kanata Konami, author of the adorable and slightly diabetes-inducing, but ultimately thought-provoking Chi’s Sweet Home, which meant that I spent the entire festival making sure her, her editor and her husband had someone to speak English for them at all times. (I also made sure they were fed new foreign treats with trips to an Ethiopian restaurant and a falafel place. Yes, as an interpreter, it is my duty to ensure that Japanese guests all taste the chick pea goodness that is the falafel.) And as much fun as I had with Team Konami (including the delightful discovery that Konami herself is also a huge fan of Ekoda-chan. We bonded), trailing them meant I had little to no time to check out the many great exhibitors and buy a ton of books myself. This is good for my long-suffering wallet, less good for my book-battling brain. Read the rest of this entry »
In Anthologies, est em, Japanese, manga on 2012/06/01 at 09:29
I think I can say that we were all pretty stricken by the tragedy of the earthquake followed by tsunami followed by nuclear disaster in northern Japan last March. (Except jackass racists, who took the opportunity to say horrible racist things, but jackass racists are not a part of any version of “all of us” that I carry around in my head.) And a lot of us in and outside of Japan were looking for something that we could do, some way we could help, make things better, even if only a little bit. We weren’t looking to do anything but help people in the affected areas get back on their feet after suffering such tremendous loss, but these feelings of sadness tinged with helplessness resulted in some incredible art and amazing performances.
In Toronto, there was the Toronto to Japan movement, with people in the city recording their own messages of support for people in Japan (here’s mine!), culminating in the Hope Blossoms event where Canadian literati turned out in force to lend their voices to fundraising efforts. Artists of the drawing kind got together to draw and sign some great art for auction at the Artists Help Japan event. And there was more, I just can’t find the links for everything now. But basically, artists all over town were doing what they could, namely, make art. Read the rest of this entry »