Grotesque Anatomy
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
  Reviews I Agree With
Once again, too lazy to do my own comic reviews, so here are some good reviews I've run across recently:

Greg McElhatton on Drawn & Quarterly Showcase Book One:  Greg reviews the latest anthology from Drawn & Quarterly.  I've read it, and I think I basically agree with Greg's final thoughts on the book:  "Does Drawn & Quarterly Showcase Book One succeed in showcasing two up-and-coming comic creators? Very much so. After reading this book you'll definitely want to buy more comics from Huizenga sight unseen, and certainly want to see more of Robel's works as well."  I qualify my agreement because Greg may be a little more enthusiastic about wanting to see Robel's future work than I am.  I think Greg's earlier statement about Robel's piece was fitting:  "It hammers its points home a little too much, though, and what could have been a powerful shorter story seems to overstay its welcome by just a little too much."  I definitely agree that Kevin Huizenga's three-chapter tale is a winner, though:  Alternately mundane and mystical, it's an engaging, powerfully-presented story.

Christopher Butcher on Naruto vol. 2:  I like this so much I'm just going to reproduce the whole bit:
Meanwhile, back at ENERGY! Along with its fellow Shonen JUMP serialized title ONE PIECE, NARUTO is leading the way in the high-energy-comics sweepstakes! Every illustration and emotion leaps off the page, making for some bloody visceral comics reading. It’s interesting to compare-and-contrast with North American Comics’ best-selling “High Energy” title, THE ULTIMATES. Last week’s ULTIMATES issue featured Thunder Gods tearing space ships out of the sky, lightning strikes and robots and all that. Very pretty, very BIG stuff. But it was all… It was very much as if you were looking at the motion as a series of stills from a movie. Lovely, impressive, even dynamic to a certain degree, but it was only screen-captures of what must be a hell of a movie. Something like NARUTO or ONE PIECE, the characters dance across the page. There’s speed and motion and energy, you’re watching the movie, you’re playing the videogame, you ARE the protagonist, that barrier is removed. It’s a hell of a big difference and I think it’s phenomenal, and I think that’s one of the primary reasons that manga’s rising-popularity in North America is so popular. We’ve got big-budget-blockbuster movies already, we don’t need to see single-frames from them blown up and turned into a comic. What we need is comics that use being comics to their full advantage, and it seems the vast majority of the books delivering on that are coming to us from overseas.
I felt the same way when I read Akira not too long ago:  This was how to convey kinetic, high-energy action.  Naruto, while not one of my favorite serials from Shonen Jump, definitely succeeds in capturing a similar sense of motion.

(Aside:  In his comments on Walking Dead, Chris comments that he can't think of any other zombie comics out there to exploit the untapped SURVIVAL HORROR market.  Here are some recent ones that came to mind:  Lone, Goon, and several recent issues of Metal Hurlant.)

Chad Boudreau on Club 9 vol. 1:  In reviewing Club 9, one of my favorite manga, Chad captures part of what I think makes this series so appealing (at least from my heterosexual perspective):
The women of Club 9 have real-life sensuality to them, something that is missing in a lot of comics, whether North American or Japanese....The women that work in the club are not your stereotypical manga women. Sure, they have the wide eyes but these women are pleasantly plump and curvaceous, not muscled, long-legged and disproportionately endowed in boobs.
No wonder I'm so drawn to this manga:  I'm being subtly seduced by the charming, non-conventional beauty of Makoto Kobayashi's characters!

Closing Thoughts:  It should be obvious, but I'll come right out and say it just in case there was any doubt.  Because I agree with these reviewers, they are therefore RIGHT.  QED.
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Iron Fist

by John Jakala

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