Monday, September 27, 2010

Read this: Let's Get Visual: Warm-Up Exercises

A discussion series of sorts started up at Soliloquy in Blue a while ago, where Michelle Smith and Melinda Beasi get together and analyze page layouts in manga. It's an interesting read for seasoned comics fans, but perhaps even more useful to people still learning how to read comics. Their insights are a great guide on how to interpret what's happening in a panel (or even what's suggested in the spaces between panels.)

There are two things in what you’ve said that really resonate with me. Firstly, I’m struck with the import of the door. I almost feel like I’m back in tenth grade, analyzing poetry, but now that you’ve mentioned its abrupt clarity, I’m convinced that there’s some pretty heavy symbolism behind that door being so conspicuously and firmly shut.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Quotes On Comics

Found a neat little site to use up minutes on: Quotes On Comics, which you can refresh to reveal oodles of quotes about comics - making them, reading them, explaining them, and so on.

Many of the quotes also have links that you can follow, to read them in-context.

Friday, September 17, 2010

This looks interesting: The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans

Find this graphic novel at [Amazon] [Borders] [Barnes & Noble]

Description from the publisher (NBM Publishing):
Nights of terror! A city awash in blood! New Orleans right after the First World War. The party returns to the Big Easy but someone looks to spoil it. Grocers are being murdered in the dead of night by someone grabbing their axe and hacking them right in their own cushy beds! The pattern for each murder is the same: a piece of the door is removed, the axe is borrowed on the property, and the assailant aims straight for the head! Why? How could he fit through that piece in the door? The man is never found for sure but speculations abound which Geary presents with his usual gusto!

See what some reviewers have to say about this graphic novel:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Read this: Shojo manga: navel-gazing edition

Recently in the manga-blogging scene, there's been a lot of back and forth about shojo manga (Japanese comics for teen and preteen girls.) Long recap short, it's sprung up a series of mini-debates about maturity, melodrama, and all the other issues of literary merit that follow teen girl entertainment around the world.

Melinda Beasi of Manga Bookshelf has written a great essay on what draws her to shojo, even as an adult.

Who am I? Who do I want to be? Whom can I trust? Does this person love me? These are all questions that still loom large in the life of this forty-something. When I cried for a half an hour after reading volume four of We Were There, it wasn’t because it reminded me of the pain of adolescence. It was because it reflected pain I was experiencing right then at the time. When I see Shugo Chara!‘s Amu struggling to reconcile the variations in all her would-be selves, it speaks to my ongoing career angst and the many decisions I have not yet made, even at my age.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Read this: Jen Wang's "Koko Be Good"

Shaun Manning talks to creator Jen Wang about her upcoming graphic novel, Koko Be Good:

I'd originally intended the book to be in black and white, but First Second publishes their books in color. If I wanted to work with them, that was a deal-breaker. I didn't want a hired colorist, I wanted to color it on my own, but if I did it digitally it would've taken me forever. So the compromise was to keep it essentially one color but have it painted so it would look more varied. I do a lot of watercolor painting, so it was a style I was comfortable with for 300 pages.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Yen Plus launches online (officially!)

YA lovers with a PayPal account, rejoice! Yen Plus, the anthology magazine discussed on this very blog some time ago, is officially open to subscriptions. $2.99 (and, depending, some tax) a month gives you access to the two most recent issues. And those issues aren't flimsy little things, either - each one clocks in at a couple hundred pages of comicky goodness.

The bulk of the magazine is manhwa (Korean comics) and adaptations of popular YA novels, like Gossip Girl and James Patterson's Daniel X. This issue brings us the online edition's first Japanese comics: Yotsuba&!, which you may remember me gushing over, and K-On!, a brand-new series about an all-girl high school rock band. (See those exclamation points? Even the titles of the comics are excited to be involved in all this.)

This online edition is a continuation of the Yen Plus print magazine, so several of the series are a dozen chapters or more in. Recap pages should help new readers ease into these ongoing stories. Yen Press also has collected volumes of each series, for those who just have to know what happened before.

Interested? Swing by the Yen Plus page and sign up! If it doesn't thrill you, you can cancel the subscription at any time.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Recommend: Runaways

Find the first volume at: [Amazon] [Borders] [Barnes and Noble]

Parents. Most kids think theirs can be a little boring, clueless, or embarrassing. The teens in Runaways find out they have it a lot worse when they decide to sneak a peek at what they thought was a charity organization - and discover their parents are actually an evil, superpowered cult called the Pride.

So begins one of the most successful mainstream comics series of the past decade. That success isn't just a fluke. The lovable/love-to-hate-able characters and perfect blend of teen drama and comedy have drawn in some of the best writers in comics, including Joss Whedon, creator of the TV shows Firefly and Dollhouse (and a little supernatural series known as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) The artists are no lightweights either, with hilarious visual gags and utterly gorgeous chapter covers.

Later volumes tie in more closely with the main Marvel Comics universe, but don't worry if you're not well-versed in superhero history. The stories in Runaways stand well enough on their own for a reader to enjoy without studying up.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Read this: Hope Larson talks comics

Chris Arrant at Robot 6 talks to writer/artist Hope Larson about her upcoming projects, including a graphic novel adaptation of Madeline L'Engle's science fiction classic A Wrinkle In Time. (Pictured above is her design for the protagonist, Meg.)

One of the hardest things about doing graphic novels is having to sit on them for so long, absolutely. I wasn’t even allowed to say I was working on A Wrinkle in Time for months, and that was a miserable time! There I was, plugging away, working on this project every day, and to anyone else it seemed like I wasn’t doing anything. It’s probably the reason I’m so active on twitter. “Yes, hello, here I am, drawing comics! Writing comics! Please don’t forget about me!”