Ayako was really good, thanks for the recommend. It’s funny, I even read the manga biography of Tezuka last year and I don’t remember it covering him transitioning to the darker Gekiga style. So this was a surprise to me! He was Tasumi’s hero, the manga god! Now I want to read more of his Gekiga work, recommend anything else written after ‘67?
Im happy you liked it!
It’s pretty late where im at and Tezuka’s library is so expansive, but the first thing that came to mind is The Book of Human Insects, which I actually haven’t read all the way through but have heard great things about. Unlike Ayako it deals in some supernatural stuff, but it still may be close to what you’re looking for in terms of tone.
Has anyone read DIE? It’s a new Image series that looked pretty interesting from the art i saw the other day.
So this is not going to be a super useful review BUT I flipped through the first issue at my local shop. The art is definitely gorgeous and my general takeaway is that I will be watching out for when the first trade paperback is publisher. Granted, I tend not to buy single issues at this point in my life so what I think I am trying to convey is that I thought DIE looked cool but I would feel better about reading a few issues in one go as the story in the first issue didn’t really grab me.
Hey, if anyone has been interested in the Transformers IDW comics, there’s a Humble Bundle on right now where you can get all of them for $15 USD (~$20 CAD), and I highly, highly recommend them. They are legitimately some of the best comics I have read, and have made me feel so much for these transforming robots. Getting all of them this cheap is a steal at 5x the price (especially at the price of comics nowadays). Best (worst) part is they’re finished so you won’t have to worry about following the series in the future.
The quick and dirty about the Transformers IDW comics is that they are a re-imagining of the G1 continuity, exploring their past (in flashbacks), their arrival on earth (Phase 1), and extending beyond their war (Phase 2). Full disclosure: I haven’t read all of them (I tried but the start is just so dry), but general consensus is that it really hits its stride with Phase 2. The things I feel it really does well are characterization of both Autobots and Decpeticons, and it’s refusal to allow either to ignore the consequences of their war (to be clear though, Optimus Prime and the Autobots are still very much the “good guys”).
IMO, the crown jewels of the bunch are the ones written by James Roberts (artists and colourists listed with the titles), in particular (in release order):
Last Stand of the Wreckers (5 issues) art by Nick Roche, colours by Josh Burcham
[CW: graphic robot violence]
Who do the Autobots send in when they need a job done, but have virtually no chance at victory? The Wreckers, that’s who. A good place to dip your toe in to see if you’re into it.
The Transformers #22 & #23: Chaos Theory (2 issues in Volume 6) art by Alex Milne, colours by Joana Lafuente
Who are Megatron and Optimus Prime? Who are the Autobots and the Decepticons? What was Cybertron like before the Great War? How did it start? A good primer on history, and how Roberts does characterization.
More than Meets the Eye (57 issues) art by Alex Milne, colours by Josh Burcham (issues #1-22) and Joana Lafuente (the rest? the credits are kinda confusing on this one)
[CW: occasional graphic robot violence]
The war’s over, so what’s left for the Cybertronians to do? The factions have no meaning, and Optimus Prime is… dead? Rodimus (née Hot Rod), and a bunch of other broken, lost, and lovable Cybertronians decide to head out on a quest to find the Knights of Cybertron, space adventures and hijinks ensue. Made me cry. Leads directly into Lost Light.
Lost Light (25 issues) art by Jack Lawrence, colours by Joana Lafuente
Continuing from MtMtE. More space adventures, same amount of crying. Finished forever.
If you want a breakdown of all the comics, a suggested reading order, an are fine with some light spoilers, SoulReaverDan on the /r/comicbooks subreddit used to do an annual introduction to Transformers by IDW, which served as my guide when I got these comics in a Humble Bundle a few years back.
I am reading Berserk for the first time and have some general thoughts and questions about the series. First and foremost, I got the new deluxe edition from Dark Horse and, once again, Dark Horse has delivered quite the impressive physical object. This is a big ass book and the quality of it is great! Definitely worth the price.
As to the Berserk as a work: it is fine and fun, but boy am I baffled about it being the massive hit that it is. Do not get me wrong, I am enjoying it but on a level similar to how I like the Conan the Barbarian stories or Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser–you know, appreciating pulp for what it is and not demanding any true depths to it. But I am having trouble getting how a sword and sorcery story has achieved the renown it has. Kentaro Miura is clearly talented and there are some full page spreads that are really incredible; at the same time, Guts, sometimes seems very wooden or stilted in his movements and I can’t decide if this is supposed to be satirical on Miura’s part (Guts is frequently posed like an action hero) or if it is because I am early in the series. Regardless, I am looking forward to seeing how his artwork continue to grow and develop as the series advances. If nothing else, he can create a hell of a tentacled monster.
General question for Berserk fans: does the story become any more substantive as it goes on? Does Guts grow emotionally/philosophically or is the appeal of Berserk watching Guts cut stuff in half? I think I can be happy either way but the latter definitely is more appealing to me.
Berserk gets much MUCH more interesting past that short initial story arc, which in some ways feels like a different comic from everything that follows. The Golden Age arc through the Eclipse is some of the best comics I’ve ever read (and after that it’s still very good), it is honestly astonishing how much better it gets both artistically and as a story. It’s really something special. Guts does have a lot of character development, as do (most) other characters but it’s definitely a slow burn in that department. There will always be a lot of Guts cutting things in half in ludicrously badass ways though! But as it goes on that becomes far from the ONLY thing it has going for it.
There are some frustrating and/or problematic aspects to the way certain parts of the story play out but I actually think it handles it’s darker or more painful themes better than the majority of action/horror manga.
The first arc just ended, and I’ve absolutely loved it so far. My read on it is as a kind of deconstruction of Dungeons & Dragons: The Animated Series, though it could probably be applied more broadly as a general deconstruction of the whole fantasy isekai genre. If you’re into tabletop RPGs, I’d highly recommend it. Hans’ art is on point and Gillen is killing it on the writing front. He’s clearly approaching DIE with a lot of love, which I’ve generally found lacking in some of his more recent works.
Yeah DIE is cool, but all of it could’ve been avoided if they just played a GMless game. Play Fiasco or something, people, chill. : )
Shocking no one with the avi I have, my favorite comic continues to be Snotgirl!
Clues regarding the overall mystery have always been drip-fed, but the dropper seems a little more loose than normal these past two issues! I think the series is probably best read as a trade, but I always make the trek into the next town over to my LCS for each new issues! It stays super funny, but even if there were no words, I would get it for Leslie Hung’s art alone.
(Also, love DIE! Stephanie Hans is another of my fav working artists.)
New Assassination Nation this week! Erica Henderson and Kyle Starks… truly, a match made in funnybook heaven.
Unfortunately the library system does not have a copy of The Book of Human Insects but there was a copy of Apollo’s Song by Osamu Tezuka (1970).
A man who has a pathological aversion to love travels in dreams through time and space and falls in love with the same woman over and over again. Intense, brief and tragic, Romeo and Juliet style love.
I think I liked the plot line in the “present” the most where the woman is a frustrated marathon runner with a shitty ex husband. BUT, the far future where she is a enourmous synthian (android) queen who sparkles and has no gentials is really good.
I’ve read a ton from this year, but right now, my favorites are probably Die, Assassin Nation, and the relaunched Lazarus: Risen.
Really excited for the Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen series too!
My copy of Our Dreams At Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare arrived in the post today. Been waiting to read it for a couple of years now so will probably be reading that, catching up with The Promised Neverland manga and Blood, Sweat and Pixels this weekend.
I loooooved our Dreams at Dusk and The Promised Neverland continues to be one of my favorite series! Did you watch the anime?
Graphic Novel/ Manga that I’ve read lately:
MW , another Osamu Tesuka manga that was written in the 70’s, very dark content. Revenge, sexuality - specifically how homosexuality is viewed in Japan at the time, a lot of murder and mind games.
Paper Girls vol 5, Vaughan and Chiang , great series continues
Showa: A History of Japan 1926-1939 and vol 2, 1939-1944 , Shigeru Mizuki. Historical and Biographical manga documenting the Showa era in Japan (the reign of Emperor Hirohito, 1926 to 1989) which frankly I know nothing about, was not covered in school at all and it seems very relevant to learn about this stuff today, specifically the decent into nationalism and fascism. It’s an excellent series but at the same time hard to read.
Delicious in Dungeon vol 6, Ryoko Kuji, catching up with another excellent series
Gideon Fallsvol 1, Lemire and Sorentino. Went in with no expectations and found a cosmic horror story that leans more and more into the cosmic, which immediately appeals to me. Such a strong start to a series. Small town, mysterious murders and a building that breaks the laws of time and space.
Actually I’m looking to read more comics/manga that were published this year or recently if anyone has suggestions. I prefer the trade paperback collections and my tastes tend to lean towards the dark and wierd.
I haven’t read Gideon Falls (though I really should), but if you liked it and are at all interested in superheroes, you should check out Jeff Lemire’s other ongoing series for Image called Black Hammer.
I’ve only read the first two volumes, but (so far) it’s a really cool mystery about a superhero team who, after fighting some Thanos/Darkseid-esque villain find themselves trapped this small town. Each character is an homage to classic comic heroes, but with some interesting differences. Think Watchmen, but more weird than dark. Also, just some phenomenal art.
Thanks for the suggestion, looks really promising. Put a few of the volumes on hold at the library.
Another thing that’s interesting about Gideon Falls is the artist chose to make the color black always covered in scratches, either brown or red, it’s a creepy effect i’ve never seen before. Makes it look like the black is painted on wood that’s peeled or splintered over time, which i think is the intention?
Thank you for finally encouraging me to read Gideon Falls. Read it this very rainy morning and it is very powerful but also remarkably subtle. Jeff Lemire is on an absolute roll these days and I cannot wait to see where this story in particular goes.
I picked up the first volume of Gideon Falls, still need to dig into it.
Curious if anyone else here has read A Walk Through Hell, who likes horror comics? I started reading it and read through the first volume, but then it got into some CW Nazis/spoilers weird Nazi horror/alt history stuff that I wasn’t super comfortable with given the aggressively liberal tone of the rest of the book. Curious if anyone else read it and stuck with it longer than I did. I don’t regret reading it at all–and I’ll say for anyone looking at checking it out, there’s some CW pedophilia/child murder mention stuff that might make folks uncomfortable.