Share one of your favorite works


#1

Video games, books, podcasts, comics, tv, music, even philosophy or traditional art–as creative mediums, they all inhabit very different spaces, and I don’t want to ask us to argue over which is “best,” or which has created the greatest single work of art. Rather, I’m asking you to share one particularly formative work, one piece that you think is under-served by the general public, or one thing that you think fellow Waypointers would be happy to discover!

I know it’s tempting to barrage us with a whole lot of stuff, and I know I want to post a whole bunch of stuff too–how am I supposed to pick between We Know the Devil and Sufjan Stevens? Between Sandman: Overture and Welcome to Night Vale? That said, I’d request we stick to one real pitch per post, though you can feel free to come back later and try to introduce another thing to a new audience! (Honorable Mentions are cool, though. Feel free to add a line of those as an appendix, because I know I’m gonna, and this is my thread, so I can at least establish the direction we’re starting out in. Careful, this power’s going to my head)

You’re welcome to simply post a link or a name, but I also encourage you to give it a little description–what draws you to this thing? How does it excite you, expand your horizons, and/or subvert your expectations? Is it comfort food or something that pushed you to new ideas? Are there particular themes, characters, technologies, or ideas that the work shines light on in interesting ways?

I’d say take care not to spoil the work, and there’s absolutely no pressure to slap a wall of text up here, but a few paragraphs from you about why you care about a thing strikes me as the best way to sell that thing to other people, so–have fun!


Me first then, I imagine.

I think I’m going to lead off with Evan Dahm’s Rice Boy, a luridly colored, down-the-rabbit-hole style webcomic.

Dahm’s more recent work has matured a great deal, and his current webcomic is much more of a rigidly structured long-form epic. Rice Boy, his first major work in this setting, feels much more whimsical and playful–which is not to say it doesn’t have epic stakes, just that it follows in the sort of ad-libbed, travelogue style of Gene Wolfe and the like.

These comics are masterclasses of creating an alien setting that… nevertheless feels familiar, rooted in something, and using symbolic allusion to subvert Campbell’s Monomyth. For how free-form the comic feels in the process of reading, it’s also rooted in a very defined scope and arc, however, and Dahm ties it back together neatly for a surprisingly deft and stakes-heightening conclusion that isn’t satisfied to reassert the status quo.

As another plus, the comic isn’t super long! It’s 400 or so pages, a whole and complete work clocking in around a single broad graphic novel–I imagine it would only take a few hours to read from top to bottom. And from there, Dahm’s other works are readily and easily accessible on his site!



#2

"The Flower Duet"
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwjt6MON3tDTAhVrrFQKHam0CnEQ3ywIKTAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DVf42IP__ipw&usg=AFQjCNGyyJrNyweHPChQo9h3J-SaGT24kQ&sig2=eosLvVajNudUtMJxk2COtA

It’s some of the most beautiful opera I’ve ever heard, and it’s usage in The Hunger warped my little mind back in the 80s. Highly recommended.

Also this, just because it made me happy:

http://www.giantfreakinrobot.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/rancor-e1354568917662.jpg


#3

Oh wow what a great idea! I just wrote something similar on Facebook to convince my friends to check out this show I fell in love with recently. I think it would fit well here too.

I would like to talk about People Watching.

People Watching is an animated series that digs deep into topics like depression, impostor syndrome, and coping with death. Seriously it’s… it’s way funnier and entertaining than that sounds. It’s created by Winston Rowntree, the creator of Subnormality, a webcomic infamous for having more text in it’s panels than art.

You can start anywhere, they do a good job of making each episode it’s own standalone thing but also create a loose continuity of characters. I suggest picking an episode that looks interesting to you. Don’t worry, if you like it you’ll watch all of them eventually.

In order to better sell you on the show, and to give you a taste of how it may affect you, here is a brief list of things People Watching has done to me:

  • It has made me cry more than once.
  • It got me to do hours of internet sleuthing to find that One Highschool Teacher Who Thought I Was A Good Writer so I could tell them how much their encouragement meant to me. I still haven’t told them yet.
  • It convinced me that it should be okay to talk in the movie theater which is a sentence that I never thought I would ever write.

When I try to describe what I think of as good writing I often say that it’s like a magic trick. The author reaches into their chest, pulls out their heart, and proceeds to describe every part of it in intimate detail. The trick is when you realize it isn’t their heart they are describing, it’s yours, and somehow they can pinpoint all the trauma and troubles and weird thoughts you thought were your own.

I have lost count of the number of times People Watching has described my own heart to me.

Give it a watch.


#4

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

It’s some of the most gorgeous manga art I have ever seen and I would argue that it is maybe Miyazaki’s best work. I adore it. If you have seen the movie you owe it to yourself to read the manga because the story is way better.



#5

I genuinely believe in my heart of hearts that The Leftovers (specifically season 2) is one of the best shows/pieces of entertainment/ works of art I have ever seen. It’s a show that is constantly challenging to watch. It frequently subverts any expectations you have. It makes you feel whatever pain, misery, grief, sadness, confusion, anger, etc, that the characters are feeling. It also forces you to grapple with really hard themes and questions. The show is built on the idea of science vs. faith, and what happens to that idealogical battle when an event that neither side can explain happens. The show isnt about the apocalypse, in fact the “apocalyptic” event that happens in the first minutes of episode one is very much just the backbone for more important stories. Stories about how people deal with grief, how they try to rationalize their fear of not having answers, and how people learn to live in a world that seems so oppressively bleak and empty. Conversely, its about hope, rebuilding in the wake of tragedy, finding purpose when you feel there is none, and above all (as cliche as it sounds) family. Sorry if this got a little long winded but im just so darn passionate about this show and IMPLORE anyone who hasn’t watched it to check it out!


#6

The album Isola by the Swedish band Kent. There is a English version but the Swedish one is the way to go. So no one here has probably heard it because most people here probably don’t know Swedish.


#7

As a big old nerd, I deeply enjoy the fantasy satire masterclass that is Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, but the one that hit hardest for me, and that I keep coming back to 15 years later, is definitely Night Watch. Essentially the climax of the character arc for burnout alcoholic beat cop turned nose-to-the-grindstone justice reformer Sam Vimes, it manages to be an excellently-framed and told story about the methods and morality of policing, the politics of revolution, and making a difference through community organizing. Of course, being a humor-oriented fantasy novel, it’s also a deeply unrealistic depiction of all of those things, but taken in the greater context of Pratchett’s Watch novels (and Discworld novels in general), it’s more than just a silly time travelling crime story. Much of the joy of Pratchett’s novels comes from the fact that he addresses big questions with incredibly approachable text, and Night Watch basically came at the peak of his writing abilities, before Alzheimer’s started to wear on him.

I honestly feel like a dweeb recommending this instead of something more challenging, but when it comes to works that I revisit endlessly, there’s just something comforting about a well-worn fantasy world that lets me think about the bigger issues at hand.


#8

So, I think one of my favorite works that I’ve gotten more and more used to pitching over the years is the anime Mawaru Penguindrum. It’s directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara, who is more well known for the series Revolutionary Girl Utena and for a lot of good reasons! One of the things about it that lessened its impact for me was how rigidly structured is was overall. The thing that really struck a chord with me about Penguindrum is how much of a goddamn mess it is in comparison. Ikuhara had a solid decade plus between directing these two series and it shows; Penguindrum is almost impenetrably dense in its plot and themes. The show is practically hinged on a philosophical debate of existentialism vs. determinism, while also looking at the cycle of violence and the sins of the father. It even ties those ideas in with the 1995 sarin gas attacks. Even the clever little trick the show uses of making all the background characters look like people in crosswalk lights to highlight the main characters (and also probably save money on animation) ends up kinda tying into the themes of the show in a pretty significant way. It’s a show that demands your absolute attention and I love that about it.

The soundtrack and art direction, much like all of Ikuhara’s work, are phenomenal to say the least. The original pieces for it break my heart, there’s a Coaltar of the Deepers song, and they even repurpose songs by an old machismo J-Rock band into J-Pop Idol bangers. This song makes me cry basically every time I hear it. https://vimeo.com/88233753


#9

This is ‘Still Life With Fish and Shrimp’ by Manet at the Norton Simon. The first painting that really moved me and made me want to be a painter. I don’t think it’s the type of thing that can be translated into text or be capture in an picture, but if you’re the type of person who can be floored by a brush stroke, it’s worth seeking out if you can.