Friday, October 22, 2010

Pull up a chair...

This week's Book Blogger Hop brings up something I've thought about a lot.


As much as I'd like to say something quintessentially bookish, like "on the sofa with a pot of tea" or "in front of a roaring fire" or even "in my neighborhood cafe" but really, I read best on the subway.  Especially comics, because I have a decent subway ride to and from my comic shop, so it's a bit of a habit.  Granted, I also like reading in one of my neighborhood cafes, as you may have noticed if you follow my Twitter feed, but that's partly because that's where I can get my fancy coffee drinks with various forms of alcohol in them ^_^

FRENCH MILK by Lucy Knisley

As she stands on the brink of college graduation, cartoonist Lucy Knisley and her mother decide to rent an apartment in Paris for six weeks.  There, she indulges her inner foodie, immerses herself in the arts and history of Paris, and forms a deep addiction to creamy French milk.

A true account, written and drawn during her time in Paris, Lucy's travel journal draws you into her world.  Her cute drawing style invites the reader to indulge in the escape and repose of a Parisian vacation through her dreamlike eyes.  She eschews traditional comics panel layouts, instead letting her words and art float around on each page, showing that the story she's telling is not a sequence of events, but a collection of impressions.

Instead of trying to forge a sweeping narrative of personal growth, she gives an honest view of her experiences from glimpses of both memorable and quotidian moments.  And inevitably, many of these turn out to be one in the same.  I was struck, when she dropped a reference to the execution of Saddam Hussein, how much the real world was thrown into sharp relief, even in her cartoony style, by intruding on her otherwise pleasant repose abroad-- an intrusion she resents, wanting to hide as much from the news of the outside world as she does from thoughts of her future. Though she starts and ends her trip unsure about her future, she emerges from her refuge on the Left Bank with a renewed serenity, prepared to face it, no matter what it is.  And of course, a life-long love of French milk.

Browse an excerpt of French Milk here.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

HOPELESS SAVAGES: Greatest Hits, by Jen Van Meter and various artists

When Zero Hopeless-Savage wakes up one morning to find her punk rocker parents, Dirk Hopeless and Nikki Savage, kidnapped by fascist music execs, it's up to her and her siblings, martial artist Arsenal, mod theater designer Twitch, and the long-lost Rat--who rebelled and became a respectable businessman--to team up and rescue them.  But it is only the first of many quagmires that the family find themselves in.  In this bind-up volume collecting three previously published stories, this punk-rock family takes on enemies ranging from the paparazzi to international smuggling rings to high school administrators--and none of them escape the Hopeless-Savages unscathed!

I want to join this family so badly.  Forget the Cullens or the Weasleys, if I could join one fictional family, it would be the Hopeless-Savages.  Who wouldn't?  Famous parents, a badass older sister, a burgeoning rocker younger sister, a cool gay brother, and yes, even a corporate coffee shill eldest brother-- all of them forging their own paths in life, with the full love and support of their wholly unconventional family (though Zero did take it pretty personally when Rat "defected").  Nothing that comes their way in their awesome adventures can beat them as long as they're together, at least in spirit.  Supporting the main storylines are some "bonus tracks" and "B-sides" with some fun vignettes revealing, among other tidbits of Hopeless-Savage lore, the origins of Zero's band, the Dusted Bunnies, and how Twitch and Arsenal met their boyfriends.

Van Meter's writing is wonderfully scored by a range of fantastic artists, including the frenetic Chynna Clugston, the soulful Ross Campbell, and this blog's perennial favorite Bryan Lee O'Malley.  But don't take my word for it-- check them out, and then get the whole book:

Previews: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3


Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Return of Book Blogger Hop!

I've kind of given the Book Blogger Hop a by since I got back to school and haven't been reviewing too much, but since I'm starting to get back into it, I'm hopping back in!  This week's question: 


Inevitably, I convince myself I'm going to finish it, but then never pick it up again.  I usually have a few books going at a time anyway, so it doesn't seem like I'm skipping it or moving on or anything-- I'm just reading the other books more, that's all, honest.  Though this happens more with prose than comics, since comics are faster reads anyway-- I'll usually finish them before I realize I think they suck!  The only graphic novel I couldn't finish was Jeff Smith's Bone, which I know is utter blasphemy.  I didn't think it was bad--in fact I did find it charming--but it just didn't grab my attention.  Plus it was a library book and I was sick of renewing it.

In My Pull #2

Yesterday, I wandered over to New England Comic Con, which didn't really make up for me missing New York Comic Con last week, but I did get a lot of $5 trades!  (Several of which I plan to review here-- when I finally get through the backlog of other comics I want to review /o\)  So I figure it's time for my second In My Pull, featuring many of my NECC scores, and a few I've obtained since the last one.  Amazon links and descriptions under the cut.

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