Wednesday, February 29, 2012

American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese is a great graphic novel about embracing who you are and not trying to change to be like everyone else. It’s a super relatable topic. I think most everyone has felt as some point that they would like to be someone else, especially during adolescence. I can’t imagine the difficulties that come along with being a different ethnicity in a white dominated society, but I can understand the wish to be someone else.
The way the story is presented, with the three separate stories that come together in the end, was brilliantly done. At first I was a little sad that it strayed from the main character Jin so much, but at the end it was all worth it. Its cool how the concept of the book is told in three different ways. The Chin Kee story is very comical, the Jin story is pretty normal and set in our day and age, and the monkey story is done in an old Chinese fable sort of way. I particularly liked how the Chin Kee story had a laugh track like some bad sit-com. I also liked the bit about being a transformer. It was a very clear metaphor for what the main character goes through in the story.
The art style that is used is very nice. I love clean graphic art. I do wish I could have gotten more out of the main story of Jin. I wanted to know more about him and have a few side events go on before the comic ended. I really did enjoy this though. The message was clear and useful and the comic itself was an easy read.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Maus was an amazing graphic novel. Doing a Holocaust story in that format really brings it into reality. At points I felt like weeping. Stories like this really bring to light the depths of human cruelty. I was considering that while reading it, how amazingly cruel humans are. We seem to be the only creature on earth that goes out of our way to torture our own kind.

I can’t fathom how Vladek was able to survive the hell that he went through. He had so much ingenuity and resourcefulness. I found it really interesting how real Vladek was portrayed. Art Spiegelman finds him so annoying in present day times. You would think that when doing a story like this one you would need to cast Vladek as a hero, as to honor him, but Spiegelman makes him so human and that really brings the whole book into reality for the reader.

I found it really interesting that Spiegelman choose to portray everyone as animal people. It serves as a nice way to identify what side everyone is on, while also giving them built in characteristics that we would associate with the animal. Having the Jewish people portrayed as mice and the Germans cats was obviously brilliant. All the animal choices are clever on so many levels.

I found it really depressing that Spiegelman’s mother committed suicide. To have lived through so much only to take your own like seems almost… I feel bad saying this, but, disgraceful. I mean I imagine life afterwards would be very hard to live with the memories, so I could see how she would want to. I was waiting through both books hoping that Spiegelman would eventually find her diaries so we could her her side of the story. I was convinced that book two would be from her perspective; I was sad when it never came. It’s a shame that her story will never be told, but I guess it is lost like so many other people who were in the holocaust.

This book will haunt me for weeks. It just puts in perspective how good I have it in life. It also reminds me how sick and terrible people can be, which makes me want to be the best person I can be to combat this. It was a comic that was definitely worth the read.


Monday, February 6, 2012

A Contract with God and Blankets

A Contract with God by Will Eisner was very well done. It's stories are more dark and gritty than you see in a lot of comics. Every ending had a bitterness to it that left you worse off then before. It reminded me a bit of the movie "Requiem for a Dream"; not really for the plot but more of the downward slopping story arch. I imagine Eisner himself must have been a dark and depressed sort of fellow. This sort of comic really  emphasizes the fact that comics are not just for children. There was nothing in it that would even be acceptable for a child. I think the inking style that Eisner uses really enhances the dark dirty city feeling that goes throughout the whole book. I really loved reading this. It is the type of comic that I am into; real stories filled with tragedy and sadness. I think the story with the little girl and the tenement Super was the most disturbing. I feel bad for the super getting killed, but you really can't feel to bad because he paid a little girl to lift her shirt up.... but you can't feel to bad for the girl either because she was scheming to steal his money. I guess the only real victim in that story ist he super's dog she poisoned... Eisner did a great job setting that up and making both the little girl and the Super unlikeable characters. He does that in all of the stories really. Eisner is a master of his craft.

Blankets, like Contract with God, deals with some darker subject matters, but unlike Contract with God is has a lot of beauty. When I read Blankets if felt really poetic. I really enjoy readying biographies so this comic was great for me. I admire Thompsons candidness about all the bad things that he went through as a kid. It must be hard to have to relive those events and draw them for all the world to see. I looove comics that are inked with a brush, and Thompson handles it so well. This was my second time reading Blankets, but it's such a great comic I could probably read it again. It's beautiful.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Jack Cole and Plastic Man

When I first picked up Jack Cole and Plastic Man I was pretty unenthused about having to read it. At first glance it didn’t really look like the sort of comic I would typically read, but after I got through the first story I was really enjoying it! It’s so ridiculous and campy; It reminds me of the old 60’s Batman movie. In the first story the villain is so ridiculous. What type of villain hoards cute kids to extort money out of people! I very much like the art style of this comic. It’s so graphic and appealing and it’s made all the more interesting by how they printed the comic to look like a old original copy (random stains and all). Going from panel to panel feels a little choppy in the comic. A lot is left up to the words to tell you what is happening, which is ok. Its nice that they put these extra pages in this book that talk about the comic. They are pretty interesting to read. I think now that I’ve read it I will have to go get the newer comic that they came out with and watch the TV show too!

I also read one of Carl Bark’s Donald Duck story. I found it really cute and cartoony. It was a lot different then Plastic man. Although it did have some of the silliness that Plastic Man did. I read a story about a horse race between Donald and his nephews, and all through the story Donald is trying to cheat to win the race, but then at the end it turns out the last place person is the winner, which is just a silly way to end it. It was a mild punch line, and I kind of wished it had ended more cleverly. It’s funny, having grown up with Duck Tales, it’s really hard to read a comic about it and not put in the voices from the show.