We're post convention and post costume work, which means back to nerdery as usual. World War X, Mage, and even Sidereals are back on the table, while I re-engage in Persona 4. The latter in on the way to completion.

There are some spoilers, here, but I feel they're pretty oblique.

I tried a few times to review it in the past, and ended up getting bogged down in the particulars, so I guess I'll just start by saying that I read all 6 graphic novels and I enjoyed it. Reading it was quick, and the whole thing was really pretty light. I was impressed, in particular, at how O'Malley managed to create a character who was, on the face of it, pretty irritating, childish, and possessing little initial introspection and turn him into someone that, like the supporting cast, you're often irritated by but also pulling for.

That's because Scott, for all his seeming 2-dimensionality, grows and changes through the novels at just enough of a rate that you can believe that he's making a good faith effort. He's also, for all his obvious privilege, in a position that's honestly very trying for him. I don't want to compare it too much to the movie, because they're really quite different, but with 7 ex's to get through and only about 2 hours to tell a story, the movie becomes more like a kung-fu musical while the graphic novels spend a lot more time on character growth. So while Scott doesn't change too much before he 'gets it' in the flick, he comes to terms with himself and the world by degrees in the novels. In fact, while there's one major confrontation per book, they don't take up too much page count, while the rest is more like a story about a 20-something who doesn't understand himself very well, and is suddenly confronted by a reason he really needs to.

I guess what I like is that it's deceptively complex, and it treats its characters pretty fairly. Many (with some clear discrepancies) work the kind of unimpressive grunt jobs that you tend to expect people in their mid-20's to have, and they all demonstrate the kind of living conditions and lifestyle you tend to expect from people in their positions. Characters grow and change pretty dramatically over time, which not only adds to the realism but further underscores the reality of Scott's situation - that he's not the center of the universe.

So, there you have it, I guess. One of the reasons I liked the story so much is because I felt it got a lot of things right that I don't see represented in media very well, very often. When you get past the fairly sparse, manga-style, kung fu battles, it gets the messiness of relationships, how those relationships change over time, the perspective of many 20-somethings, and almost the dingy, small lifestyle-with-bright spots that this group tends to lead right. It's strange to say that, at least in my opinion, in a series of comics studded with rock bands, giant fights, media stars, and video game references, the demographic is almost un-romanticized, because it's being seen from within. 
atolnon: (Default)
( Jul. 18th, 2010 10:12 pm)
For several small reasons that politely compiled and presented themselves all at once, I didn't make it over to St Louis last night like I really wanted. Instead, I ended up staying in and, along with some visitors, whiled the night away with drink and games. I woke at 10:30 this morning to the sound of thunder and rain, which I adore, and was disappointed to see clear up almost immediately after I became a functioning person. 

The day was filled with activities which were, in their own ways, crucial to my happiness in the state that I've found myself in lately. I've been restless, nervous, and feeling nostalgic. In order to put that to rest, I really needed this weekend to restore to me a sense of perspective. The only must do item on my agenda was to have my hair cut. Having achieved this shortly after 3, I spent my time going to a fro; looking for Persona 4 or Fatal Frames at GameStops and Best Buy, going to the book store. I bought another copy of Sandman. I am on 8 of 10.

I  think I've talked about this before. About how I started reading this thing back in high school and I'm just now on number 8. I could very easily just buy 9 and 10, read them in the space of a few hours, and just be done with it. Such a thing would be as easy as it would be reasonable, but I don't, and I'm writing this to say why.

It's because I love this story. I love it to bits. And I like the whole process. When I'm feeling down, or I'm in hangover mode, or I'm feeling a bit adrift, I like to go to the book store. And among those aisles and shelves full of thousands of books, I pick up a Murakami novel, Sandman, or maybe something by Gibson that I haven't read. Maybe I get something totally new, like a cookbook or something for a game, or just an author I've never read. It's a process.

I take it home. I sit on our beat up red sofa, and sprawl out. I take exactly as much time as I feel I need, and with Gaiman, it's the duration of the comic.

And I love Sandman. I really do. I feel like Gaiman loved it, too, though he may be growing a bit tired of its legacy - I don't know. I feel like it takes me somewhere else, and when it's done, that it's come a full circle. Self-contained and while possessing a continuous narrative. And I feel like the characters are treated with a respect that isn't common in a lot of work. 
I don't know how other people do things. I know I've fallen into the trap where I'm doing something, not because I love it, but because I don't know what else to do and this is just something that I've become accustomed to. That doesn't happen with that ritual. It's always a genuine experience.

I'm at 8 of 10. I've been spoiler-ed a bit, of course, accidentally over a period of time. That's something that you can't really avoid. Eventually I'll be at 10, and I'll read it, and that'll be it. I'll have read the whole thing, and my first read through will be over forever, and all that's left is 2 and 3 and 4...
atolnon: (Default)
( May. 24th, 2010 09:18 am)
I laughed. The writer's block portion today asks if we've got any re-occuring dreams.  The answer is 'yes', but they're a little rarer now, to my infinite relief.

On Saturday, I sat down to talk about art and webcomics. I  have a job which is conducive to lots of short-term breaks, which is perfect for webcomics or news articles and bad for long term concentration. Perhaps that's why I've read almost all of the 'big name' webcomics and many of the smaller ones from beginning to end. There are some really obvious ones; Penny Arcade has been going on for more then a decade. When they began, it was just two guys, and now they're basically their own business. They have an office with Chris Straub and Scott Kurtz of PvP, who are just the other comic artists while they also possess a credible bunch of other staffers and they're responsible for the PA Expo (PAX) and PAX East. Megatokyo is another big one, though their star has faded somewhat due to a sluggish posting schedule. Megatokyo fans have been called the most forgiving of all webcomic fans, but Fred Gallagers pencil art is really pretty impressive.

There are others, though, that I feel are almost sublime in their excellence, though. Some more obvious then others. I've praised Pictures for Sad Children several times in the past. The story of Paul who is a ghost is maybe one of the most surreal, bleak stories in web comicdom while possessing a really pointed sense of humor. After that, it's a bit more hit and miss, since there's no longer a central narrative to give the comic a long term sense of character or perspective, but it still manages to be spot on way more often then it's off. I feel like I'd be remiss if I didn't push a few other comics, though.

Nedroid.com is another surreal comic with a more minimalist design. As it progresses, the artist shows a pretty considerable degree of sophistication. It's also a riot. I'm also a really big fan of Three Panel Soul, when it updates. Ian McConville and Matt Boyd, formerly of Mac Hall, collaberate on this comic which has really shown their growth as both artist and writer. In one interview in particular (1), Matt expresses his desire to trim the verbage on the comic as much as possible to allow direction and art to do the lifting. Matt's the writer, who by his own admission, would submit huge blocks of text to be converted into webcomicry. Between the both of them, though, they manage to generate haiku-like comic art in three panels.


1 : http://www.alltern8.com/library/comics_and_graphic_novels/ian_mcconville_and_matthew_boyd_part_1/l-5416.html - page 3
atolnon: (Default)
( Nov. 6th, 2008 07:10 am)
My friend [livejournal.com profile] nagarerutenshi  posted a stunning likeness of Obama looking a lot like The Smiler from Transmetropolitan the other day (and McCain as...the other guy.*), which reminded me that I've never read it and I've wanted to since high school. This is rediculous, really, but my problem here is layered.

Number one on my reading issues is that there are a slew of terribly excellent works I want to read and never have. They're definitive literature for the earlier half of my generation (bleeding, I think, into the previous one). Generation Y, X, or some such nonsense. (Incidentally, I can't be figured as a Millenial, I am actually part of the crossover generation called Cold Y, classified as a group that remembers the cross from the Space Age to the Information Age as their formative memories which, sure enough...) Before I get too far off on a tangent, I've never read The Crow in comic form, never finished Sandman, only this year read Watchmen, never read Transmetropolitan, and more recently, never had anything to do with the proto-goth comic literature that ran rampant in 2002-04 like Johnny the Homicidal Manic.

I'm not convinced that Vasquez is great lit, but Invader Zim is great, so. Besides, I doubt The Crow is less bloody.

So, money was an issue, but so was exposure. I lived (and still have a mailing address, so the past-tense might be a little premature) in the midwest, where having any access to non-cable anime was kind of a big deal in the 90's before Cartoon Network started its media exposure coast-to-coast. Research was a little more spotty. Picking up what I missed now, those things arn't ever really going to be apart of my formative experiences anymore - I ended up with early webcomics.

http://www.garethhinds.com/ is one artist that I read in high school.
http://www.garethhinds.com/deus.php is the comic I was reading. He was still doing 'Bearskin' at the time.
Locke's site at http://damaged.anime.net/ pretty inappropriate for work place environments. It's defunct now, and I was just trying to look up the url, not surf it (the intro page has nothing inappropriate about it) but it was blocked. So, I hope I don't get into trouble. Not trying to make a fuss. >_>
You know, there are also a bunch of others. They don't exist anymore; they're gone. That's the nature of the internet. And then there are the typical webcomics that are strikingly still around. (In Megatokyo's case, stunningly unresolved and set in roughly the same timeframe. It's not difficult at all to read it in one sitting.)

So, whatever. Everyone's got different histories, but it's weird to still be catching up to this other stuff, and I just never had the extra cash to pony up for it. I didn't eat lunch at school in order to buy Magic cards, so clearly I was pretty light on dough. These days, I do indulge in purchasing whims a little. I look for good, moving, and evocative books, movies, and comics where I've had a little luck. At the moment, I'm wondering what other people recommend, because I really buy very little sight-unseen or unrecommended.

More writing, now.

* I'm not up on my reading. That's what this is about, actually.

I read web comics. Over an extended period of time, I've collected and discarded a great many. Some I read today, and are holdovers from the very beginning. Others, I've picked up very recently. Brent informed me lately that he has reached the end of the internets, and is perpetually bored at work.

I know for a fact he is wrong!

But, well, I only could think of one comic offhand that he wasn't a regular reader of. However, in the interest of people looking to read web comics, I'll go ahead and list the ones in my bookmark. Brent, dude, do not read them before you go back to work, or you will be out of luck again. I will not curtail comics you read because you read them, because it is a lot of work to pick them out like so many grape pits! Besides, maybe other people want a chance. Did you ever think of that?

xkcd
three panel soul
a softer world
dresdan codak (when it updates, which is never)
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja
Dinosaur Comics
Questionable Content
Templar, Arizona
Scary-Go-Round
pictures for sad children
Keychain of Creation
Girls With Slingshots
dead.winter
Crap I Drew On My Lunchbreak (pretty defunct)
Cat and Girl
Order of the Stick
Real Life Comics
Nobody Scores!
Octopus Pie
DAMAGEd (really defunct and difficult to navigate)
katebeaton.com
Gunnerkrigg Court
F@nboy$
Malfunction Junction
Megatokyo
PvP
Dominic Deegan
Penny Arcade
Something Positive

Man, I think I forgot some. Never mind. I am not linking all those, that takes forever.
I think Brent reads or has read most of those. Whatever, yo! ^_^

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atolnon: (Default)
( Aug. 25th, 2008 01:00 pm)
http://picturesforsadchildren.com/

Pictures for Sad Children is the closest I've ever gotten to someone posting a comic with exactly my sense of humor.

Holy cow. It is the best comic ever.
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atolnon: (Default)
( Jul. 18th, 2008 10:16 am)
http://www.viruscomix.com/subnormality.html
Later on, this will be comic 449, so plan accordingly.
Amusingly enough, so far, my interviews have gone really well.

Anyway, it appears that it takes an hour and a half to get to this credit union by bus, and involves two transfers. I'm not a dude who's used to taking the bus. My most profound bus experience involves - get this - getting on the wrong bus and subsequently becoming lost. Also, the bus system at SIUE, which is a pretty closed circuit that even I was able to figure out with a minimum of issues. Aside from the fact that I realized I don't have the money to take one anyhow, since it requires the exact change of 1.50, and I think I've got a dollar, some pennys, and a nickel somewhere.

I wonder if I can switch the interview to  Monday, when everything should be worked out. In addition, I find some mirth in that it takes 1 hour and 15 minutes less to ride the bus straight into the heart of Seattle, but traveling several blocks into the next suburb takes so long and involves two different transfers. I don't really mind, but every additional part increases the chance I get nervous and take the bus heading for the dust bowl to the east. >_>

Edit: The guy called and rescheduled for next week anyhow, so I guess I'm off the hook for today anyhow.
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