Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Widow Reminisces Over A Plate Of Vegetables

From the random stack of unread comics.

Title: The Widow Reminisces Over A Plate Of Vegetables
Date: 2003
Publisher: Alexander Danner and Stephanie Smith
Writer: Alexander Danner
Artist: Stephanie Smith

Stephanie Smith (Stephanie Brown) illustrates a poem by Alexander Danner in this 6-page b/w minicomic.

The comic shows a widow living alo
ne, remembering her husband, an avid hunter to his final days, the ducks that he would shoot and bring home for dinner, and the work involved in preparing the meal.

This has great use of detail as it goes through a powerful reflection on the nature of marriage and grief. Straightforward, even as it takes some unexpected turns, the story is charged with emotion in spite of the illustrations of simple routine tasks.

Rating: 8.5/10

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Vintage Chinese Tintin Comics

Old Chinese comic books come in a 9 cm x 12.5 cm squartebound format that looks like it is adapted from printing newspaper comic strips. Antique shops in tourist areas sell plenty of Chinese titles (I have photos of a couple in this entry), but there I have also found a fair amount of Tintin reprints. Here are a couple that I bought yesterday at a shop new Shanghai's Yu Bazaar.

These are dated 1987.

As usual, I don't review comics I can't read, and my Chinese has a ways to go before I know enough characters to get through these, but I still thought they were a fun find.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Myths Stories (Chinese Classical Stories Series)

I picked this up at the gift shop of the Shanghai Museum and read it with the Kiddo (currently age 9, but only for a couple more weeks).

Title: Myths Stories
Date: September, 2012
Publisher: China Intercontinental Press (Chinese Classical Stories Series)
Writer: Xiao Li

Softcover full-color graphic novel of about 200 pages, telling a dozen stories from  Chinese mythology, beginning with a creation myth.

This was a nice introduction to Chinese legends, with a variety of characters and stories, all brought to life in vivid color. The art style was fun, with manga facial expressions and particularly nice work on the clothing and hairstyles of characters. All of the action is a bit cartoonish, even in the case of a couple of the stories that take a grim turn.

Aside from the first couple of stories, there is not a lot of connection between the tales, and there isn't much context provided as to where these stories fit into Chinese mythology as a whole, but it was still an excellent sampling of a real wealth of lore that will be unfamiliar to many Western readers.

The dialogue has some moments where the translation could have been better, including the odd inclusion of the name "Hercules" for what is clearly meant to be a Chinese god or demigod.

But the book keeps the dialogue short and simple, and the artwork fills in gaps and smooths over the minor translation issues. All of the text and dialogue is presented in English and Chinese.

Rating: 7.5/10

Total L.A. Tot: A Palindramas Collection

From the random stack of unread comics.

Title: Total L.A. Tot: A Palindramas Collection
Publisher: Dan Mazur
Writer: Dan Mazur
Artist: Dan Mazur

This is a minicomic collection reprinting cartoons from Dan Mazur's Palindramas webcomic, which originally appeared on Webcomics Nation. No date given, but I believe this is from around 2005-2007 or so.

The premise is pretty straightforward: Mazur illustrates Palindromes. The results are quite amusing for anyone who enjoys a bit of good wordplay, and there are some fun sight gags incorporated into the illustrations.

I also enjoyed the couple of cameos by classic Universal Studios monster characters.

Rating: 7/10