Druid City Comic

RSS

Special Recommendation - An Age of License

ageoflicense

Lucy Knisley is an illustrator and writer who likes to make “travelogues” of her travels and culinary experiences. A collection of travelogues from her 2011 trip to Europe, which came about due to an invitation to a comics convention in Norway, makes up this particular book. Her book French Milk follows a similar formula from what I hear. Knisley has a new book coming out in 2015 and is available for hire through her website.

Summary: This travelogue takes Knisley to Norway, Sweden, Germany and France. She visits Norway for the comics convention, Stockholm to visit a lover, sees friends on their honeymoon in Berlin, and visits her friend and vacationing mother in France. Her experiences are journaled in drawing form very soon after they happen (from what I understood) and you get to hear her opinions and worries as they happen. Hindsight only enters in during a brief intervention telling off some weird convention bastards and at the end of the book in the form of letters sent to the people involved in the trip.

General Review: The book certainly does not appeal to me on any level. Normally when I travel I try and take in the sights and I’m not there to visit specific people, so Knisley’s approach of relating experiences she has with her friends rather than illustrating the scenery around her left me uninterested. Sometimes Knisley will have some shots of the buildings and architecture which I enjoyed, but they don’t show up very often.

Knisley’s art style closely resembles the styles of Jess Fink and Erika Moen of Oh Joy Sex Toy, and since I was introduced to the latter two women first and have more of an interest in their subject matter, Knisley’s artwork felt derivative to me. I’m fully willing to admit that this is probably just due to the order in which I’ve consumed these artists’ material, but some people familiar with the small press comics scene may find the artwork to be too common to be engaging in its own.

One of the decisions I will compliment her on is her decision to stay away from panels. It adds to the live action journaling aspect of it because space is clearly not thumbnailed ahead of time. It reminds me of the stream of consciousness comics that my younger brother would fill notebooks with that didn’t have a set plan, but he did run with it using that concept.

People who may like it: While I couldn’t get into the book at all, I can certainly see a demographic who would. People who are far more into food and some mild quirky experience relating would take to it well. The relationship/romance aspect of it isn’t a focus, so those who are avoidant of the sugary, gooey aspects of romance literature can find something to enjoy too I would dare say.

An Age of License on Amazon

An Age Of License

Asterios Polyp Video Review

—————-

My own Graphic Novel Series, Druid City, Two Volumes Out

Written essays on my website.

1st Scott Pilgrim Essay: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Diegesis

2nd Essay: Scott Pilgrim VS The World: Panel Composition and Transitions

4th: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together: Subspace as Metaphor

5th: Anticlimax in Scott Pilgrim VS The Universe

Facebook Twitter/ YouTube

Top Tier Graphic Novel - Asterios Polyp

Asterios-polyp-bookcover

David Mazzucchelli released Asterios Polyp as a near complete surprise in 2009. Mazzucchelli had retreated from work as an illustrator for DC Comics and started working on the brief independent sequential art anthology series Rubber Blanket. The spark for Asterios Polyp came when Mazzucchelli began work on his section of the fourth installment of Rubber Blanket, but found that the anthology format was too short for the idea that he had in mind. Halting his efforts for Rubber Blanket, he began work on Asterios Polyp, which ended up being a 344 page behemoth of creativity, illustration inspired by architecture drafts with a Greek influence, and a storyline that can only be appreciated if you pay attention to the artwork.

Plot Summary

On it’s surface, there isn’t much to take in about the narrative of Asterios Polyp. The story’s scope is rather limited compared to how engaging the visuals are on just about every page. The titular lead character is an accomplished “paper architect” who is consumed with theories and a dualistic world view. He is both brash and extremely eloquent when communicating his ideas, so during his swinging single years he was the center of attention and a popular academic. This attitude causes problems when he falls in love with a reserved and underconfident sculptor named Hana Sonnenschein (a name that roughly translates to “Flower Sunshine”. Asterios Polyp’s name refers to both asteroids and half of the cyclops Polyphemus’ name). Much of Asterios’ flashbacks involve their life together as a married couple, and clearly illustrates the personality clash that caused them to separate. The story begins with lightning striking Asterios’ apartment, and he flees the city to drive to the furthest location he can get to with just his pocket cash. There he gets lodging and a car mechanic job through a local redneck type with a hippie wife. Asterios imparts several gifts upon the family as he flashes back to his past. These flashback vignettes are narrated by the ghost of Asterios’ stillborn twin brother. Asterios decides to leave after losing his eye in a bar fight (essentially becoming a cyclops) and the rest, as they say, are spoilers.

Visuals

The one convention that makes the visuals in this novel instantly recognizable is the prevalent use of the print primary colors, cyan, magenta and yellow. Pretty much no black ink is used in the illustrations, with purple serving as the normal substitute. Each character is drawn in a distinctly different style, and when arguments break out or evaluations are occurring, characters take a distinct second look as well, such as Asterios being rendered sort of like the wireframe of an extruded 3d shape or Hana’s looser pen stroke construction disentangling.

It’s hard to not heap praise upon the design in the visual presentation of this work. Every element works to push toward one of the main ideas behind the characters and they are never more apparent than they are with Asterios. His rigidness is often portrayed by the shape of his head constantly being the same shape, even in the few shots when it isn’t show in profile. Profile shots of his head are often used when it wouldn’t make a lot of sense anatomically, so this adds to it. His head shapes pops up often throughout the story in silhouette to further take advantage of this visual conditioning. Further more, each character has their own speech bubble type and font. I’ve seen this sort of visual convention to distinguish characters before, but I’ve never seen someone stick with it for a whole 300 plus pages. To add one more thing, many of the landscape shots seen throughout the book help to foreshadow it’s ending, and I slapped myself when I didn’t see it coming due to all the clues I was given before.

Themes

There’s a number of themes that are recurrent through the book, many of which serve as some light flavoring for the main course. Many allegorical references are made to Greek tragedies in order to highlight Asterios’ personal journey during his otherwise rather uneventful excursion as an auto mechanic. The Odyssey and the Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice are the most prevalent literary references, and the Myth of Orpheus is the most explicit. It too serves to foreshadow the climax. What’s important to notice about all three of these stories, Asterios Polyp included, is that they are essentially about journeys taken to reunite with the lead character’s wife.

Outside of how they are accentuated by the visuals however, the narrative to Asterios Polyp is rather thin. A fair amount of time is spent on periphery characters that I’m sure could have been cut, especially to keep in the spirit of Greek theater, where the casts are normally very small. I originally thought of putting this novel in the Special Recommendations category because I didn’t enjoy much of the story, but reading through much of a great thesis on Asterios Polyp written by Christopher McCarthy helped me swallow it a bit better, and I can appreciate the work that was done here.

Overall

Asterios Polyp is certainly a must read for anyone who has an academic interest in graphic novels, or anyone like myself who aims to have a comprehension knowledge of the medium. I would place it up there with Watchmen and Maus as mainstays for study purpose, and it’s nice that this one is a recent release. I would like to thank Youtube user Gavin Smith for the review request and recommendation.

Asterios Polyp on Amazon

Asterios Polyp

Why Did Richie Tenenbaum Attempt Suicide?

Video review of a scene in The Royal Tenenbaums film.  Contains spoilers and a third act reveal for Moonrise Kingdom.

Like don't be a dick Scoob

tylersvathings:

ron't rive a ruck

I ron’t rive a ruck…

Art by scoobandshagtalk

Thesis: Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli

How to Play the Sax Solo Hot Patootie from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Sheet Music: http://i.imgur.com/nLlYMPS.jpg

Improvised sheet music for the saxophone bits in Hat Patootie (Bless My Soul)

Improvised sheet music for the saxophone bits in Hat Patootie (Bless My Soul)

Beyond Disbelief: A Critique of New Atheism

(Source: youtube.com)

A Matter of Life Review.  Written and illustrated by Jeffrey Brown

—————-

My own Graphic Novel Series, Druid City, Two Volumes Out

Written essays on my website.

1st Scott Pilgrim Essay: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Diegesis

2nd Essay: Scott Pilgrim VS The World: Panel Composition and Transitions

4th: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together: Subspace as Metaphor

5th: Anticlimax in Scott Pilgrim VS The Universe

Facebook Twitter/ YouTube

pumpkinonline:

Sooo we met our goal yesterday!However it’s still not over till it’s over. We’re really excited but, this was the easy part. Now the hard part is afterwards.  Thank you everyone so much for getting us this far. Once it’s all over I can thank everyone properly. Last 52 hours incase you still haven’t donated yet.Pumpkin-Online is a Harvest-Moon / Animal Crossing inspired mmo currently in development by indie game company, Pumpkin Interactive, we need a lot of support to make this happen so please follow, and spread the word about usPLEASE SUPPORT OUR KICKSTARTER! IT ENDS SEPTEMBER 18th.

pumpkinonline:

Sooo we met our goal yesterday!
However it’s still not over till it’s over. We’re really excited but, this was the easy part. Now the hard part is afterwards.  
Thank you everyone so much for getting us this far.
Once it’s all over I can thank everyone properly. 

Last 52 hours incase you still haven’t donated yet.

image

Pumpkin-Online is a Harvest-Moon / Animal Crossing inspired mmo currently in development by indie game company, Pumpkin Interactive, we need a lot of support to make this happen so please follow, and spread the word about us
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR KICKSTARTER! IT ENDS SEPTEMBER 18th.

Highly Combustible Graphic Novels - A Matter of Life

matter-of-life-1

Great, I’m reviewing a Jeffrey Brown graphic novel again. He has so many books released that it would have to happen eventually, so I decided to take the hit and see what his latest release was like. A Matter of Life was released by Top Shelf Productions in July 2013.

Plot Summary

The book features a series of vignettes featuring Jeff Brown’s family life, with a focus on his father and son, both of whom the book is dedicated to. Jeff Brown’s father was a minister, and Jeff Brown spent a lot of his time in church. The early portion of the book focuses on some experiences he had there, and then evolves into him researching religions and books on science. The only good laugh in the novel comes from his expectations when he picks up a book on Scientology, expecting it to be religion based on scientific concepts, but comes away from the reading disappointed and angry at the ridiculous claims of the faith. His son is born, and he shows some of the challenges he and his wife have had raising the child. Not much else happens.

Why It Sucks

Ugggh. So Brown’s ability to write simple dialogue has improved since his failed attempts from Unlikely. Much like Julia Wertz, who did the graphic novel Drinking at the Movies, the vignettes he showcases often have little to do with each other and mostly just end on a punchline of some kind, or as is the case in this book, a good few anti-jokes, some of which I think were unintentional. Wertz’s experiences were a lot funnier and more relatable to me because her situations are more similar to my own. I can’t say that I’ve experienced being married or raising a child, so perhaps his anecdotes would be more interesting to me if I had some similarities with him, but I can’t say that I do. One thing that I do like about Brown is that he writes and illustrates in a style that is commonly associated with children’s literature, but many times the topics of sex get brought up, even though Brown’s past self had a very limited scope of experiences in that realm until his late twenties presumably. But I can’t really say that these lived experiences of Jeff are interesting to me, and I may very well buy another one of his books that isn’t autobiographical in the slightest, because ol’ dude’s life is just boring to me.

——————-

My own Graphic Novel Series, Druid City, Two Volumes Out

Written essays on my website.

1st Scott Pilgrim Essay: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Diegesis

2nd Essay: Scott Pilgrim VS The World: Panel Composition and Transitions

4th: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together: Subspace as Metaphor

5th: Anticlimax in Scott Pilgrim VS The Universe

Facebook Twitter/ YouTube

Upcoming stuff - update on Volume 3

The next few reviews I’ll be doing are on Jeffrey Brown’s (yeah, him again) A Matter of Life and David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp. 

I’ve also started the first draft for Volume 3.  The original script was scrapped back last year when I was still working on Volume 2, and I started making a new outline.

pumpkinonline:

image

——- > KICKSTARTER PAGE HERE <—-

AND NOW THE FUNDRAISING BEGINS. 

We prepared for 8 months for this moment, to pitch this game to the public and see if we can drum up enough interest to help us get the budget we need to get the project rolling. More info about the Kickstarter soon. 


SIGNAL BOOST THIS FOR US IF YOU CAN THANKS :3

image

Pumpkin-Online is a Harvest-Moon / Animal Crossing inspired mmo currently in development by indie game company, Pumpkin Interactive, we need a lot of support to make this happen so please follow, and spread the word about us
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR KICKSTARTER! IT ENDS SEPTEMBER 18th.

Sep 8

Video Review for Gene Luen Yang’s Saints

——————-

My own Graphic Novel Series, Druid City, Two Volumes Out

Written essays on my website.

1st Scott Pilgrim Essay: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Diegesis

2nd Essay: Scott Pilgrim VS The World: Panel Composition and Transitions

4th: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together: Subspace as Metaphor

5th: Anticlimax in Scott Pilgrim VS The Universe

Facebook Twitter/ YouTube