Results tagged “graphic novel” from kwc blog

2006 Books in Review

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NOTE: you needn't follow along in my self-indulgent look back on my reading list from 2006. I'm merely trying to process for myself the threads of my reading.

I was a little disappointed with myself when I looked back over what I had read this year. I thought I had read a lot, but then I realized that it was mostly graphic novels and easier reading. I didn't quite challenge myself this year -- I won't be crossing any books off of "top 100" literary lists. I guess one of my New Year's resolutions will be to start picking up some of the more challenging stuff gathering dust on my shelves.

Biggest accomplishment

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I've been reading this since 2004, if not earlier. If feels good to check this one off, though that still leaves Confusion and The System of the World, which are both just as long and heavy. I enjoyed Quicksilver enough to attempt the other two books, but it won't be among my Stephenson favorites.

Recommended

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Fables: 1001 Nights comes at a perfect time for the series. Thematically, it dovetails well with the recent Fables: Arabian Nights release from the regular series, and it also provides a whole lot of character development/origins at a time when the series is ready for it. It also features art by Charles Vess, James Jean, Jill Thompson, Tara McPherson, and more. I'd probably put the other Fables books below on the recommended line, but I this collection stood out.

Old Man's War is John Scalzi's take on Starship Troopers, but instead of the young people going off to fight, it's the old folks. Scalzi provided a comfortable space in which to ponder this twist+homage. I've picked up Forever War as a result of reading this, so that I can continue the thought process.

What the Dormouse Said is a fun book for me, mainly because it pretty much places the companies that I've worked for in an alternate universe: LSD experiments, violent anti-war protests, Rolling Stone, and pot. And all of this lead to the modern computer and Internet.

Fiasco dissects the failures of the current Iraq War from a military strategic point of view. It was a new way for me to look at the failures of the Dubya administration :).

I've already said enough good things about Design of Everyday Things and Thud!.

Not recommended

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I generally like Queen and Country and McSweeney's, but not every release is a hit. I've previously described some of my dissatisfaction with Queen and Country: Declassified Vol 2 as well as McSweeney's 17.

Rest of the Reads

Whole lot of Lemony Snicket

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I'm not sure I felt fully satisfied by the end of Lemony Snicket, and that perhaps was Daniel Handler's intent. It was sadly fun, once it got out of the repetitive rhythm of the first four books and started gaining some continuity. My purchase of the Beatrice Letters falls in the McSweeney's clever packaging gimmick that I repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly fall for.

Whole lot of Usagi and Japanese-themed graphic novels:

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Usagi continues to delight -- Grasscutter I is one of my all-time favorite graphic novels. Soon I'll be caught up all the way through volume 20. Lone Wolf and Cub is dark enough for me that I don't think I will need any more of Tatsumi's depraved Push-Man-like stories.

Humor

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Terry Pratchett keeps filling that humor niche for me, though I'm testing the waters with Christopher Moore. I tried to see if Augusten Burroughs would be a good Sedaris fill-in: I was entertained but not impressed. I wasn't too impressed with Bruce Campbell's novel either, but it knew what it was and embraced it, so I respect that. On the graphical novel front, I've enjoyed filling in my historical knowledge of Penny Arcade, Groo, and Barry Ween. It's amazing how many good graphic novels there are to buy when you take 10 years off from collecting comics.

And the rest (good, possibly great, but no comment right now)

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In the absence of reviews for the other Queen and Country graphic novels, let me first start off giving a positive review to all those that aren't the title of this post. In general, I think Rucka has done a great job of making fun spy series that weaves its way through a variety of modern geopolitical dustups. Declassified Volume 2 is the first that I haven't liked, which was a combination of weak story and sloppy art. Volume 2 follows Tom Wallace's early career with a mission to Hong Kong during the handover back to China. Wallace's character development early in the book doesn't leave much room for the Hong Kong story to follow, I didn't actually feel that it was the same character being followed in both sections, and the political setup for the Hong Kong story was below average. Perhaps Rucka was being spread thin having to do two Queen and Country series in addition to his novels and DC duties -- I don't know, but Volume 3 was handed over to another writer in the Oni stable, Antony Johnston.

book cover Volume 3, the first to be written by a different writer, redeemed the fledgling Declassified spinoff series for me. The Irish Nationalist/SAS storyline with it's accompanying glossary was a welcome return to the immersive storytelling of Queen and Country. It's not without a few story cliches here and there, but overall it was the fun read I'm used to, Chris Mitten's art does a good job capturing the story, and I look forward to reading my copy of Wasteland, which is Johnston and Mitten's latest collaboration.

Tour de Comic-Con: Saturday's Stage

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I spent most of the morning killing time until Quick Draw, which is really the highlight of every Saturday for me. More will come on the Quick Draw panel later, but for now I'll say that it was as fun as expected. A bit more repetitive than usual with the types of prompts, but this panel always delivers year after year.

Next up was the Brisco County panel. Due to poorly managed long lines I got into this panel late, but I got to see a lot of the Q&A with Bruce Campbell, Carlton Cuse, John McNamara, and Julius Carrey. There weren't as many entertaining verbal ripostes as the Bruce Campbell one-man Q&A show, but it was full of plenty of fun moments in the semi-reunion. I may actually try to get the DVDs, though $65 ($100 list) is a bit steep to try it out.

After failing to get into the Spiderman 3 session, the day ended with watching the Masquerade on the projection screen in the Sails Pavilion. I don't know who won, but I think our favorite was the Nintendon'ts, which featured humorous interactions between various Nintendo characters, punctuated by the decapitation of Pikachu in a Highlander showdown.

Inbetween this was the usual schwag and sketches, as well as my first big points in the Credit Ruining Accoutremonts Classification (CRAC). I got a doodle from Dave McKean and sketches from Chris Mitten and Ben Templesmith -- the Oni booth is always fun to stop by and dangerous on the pocketbook, as I picked up three more comics: Julius (Antony Johnston), Past Lies (Weir and DeFilippis), and Wasteland (Johnston and Mitten).

Team Uni picked up some of the last available Attack on Endor sets. After winning two in the morning, we went back to the booth in the afternoon to discover that the prize heap had been reduced to worthless figurines. We considered it a job well done, walking away with seven sets by my account, for a total retail value of $140.

The big CRAC points came from buying an Usagi Yojimbo original drawing that has Usagi jumping up into the air. Next year I might commission a drawing from Sakai as it's the same cost, though it's not very important as I'm really happy with what I have. I'll scan and post it in a later entry.

House of M

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A visit to BookBuyers today made me think of this series again... (spoilers ahead)