and Glory: A True Hollywood Story
By Brian Michael Bendis
Oni Press 2000
Probably just like everyone else on the planet, I've often thought
that I could write a great movie script (at least better than what
Hollywood turns out now!) and sell it to a studio, make a bundle,
and thus acheive fame and fortune. I'll bet many of you out there
have had much the same dream. Brian Michael Bendis' memoir Fortune
and Glory, with much sarcasm and his usual keen sense for dialogue,
hilariously shows just how such a venture can go. He headed out
to Hollywood twice, one trip for each of his acclaimed graphic novels
Goldfish and Torso.
If you've ever wondered just whether all those steretypes about
"the biz" are true, well, just read on, my friend.
review by robin
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by Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir, and Jose Garibaldi (illustrator)
Oni Press, 2003
Frankie Pirelli's cousin Maria is getting married, and the whole
family's coming to the wedding-- including his gay brother Joseph
(and his new husband), his homophobic aunt Giula, his drug-dealing
cousin Mark, and his cousin Carla, who delights in nothing more
than stirring up trouble. No one's entirely happy with Maria's choice
of a spouse-- Victor Dybow is a bit of an insensitive jerk-- and
between that and Joseph's recent wedding (pointedly not attended
by half the family), everyone is on tenterhooks waiting for someone
to say or do something so unacceptable that they all get drawn into
a messy fight.
Can Frankie-- who is known to be outspoken-- and the family matriarch,
Nonna, manage to keep their family together? In this touching story
about people overcoming their differences for the sake of family,
Frankie comes to realize that sometimes tolerance and forgiveness
can go further than strident proclamations of other peoples' intolerance
and pettiness. This book's black and white art (with grey toned
shading) is very simply drawn, centering the reader's attention
on the characters.
Review by gina
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than True Romance
By Jeanne Martinet
Watson-Guptill Publications 2001
Comics have always crossed the genre lines, and in the 50s, 60s,
and 70s, one of the hottest lines of comics were romance comics
-- pretty much soap operas poured into 20 pages of saccharine, happily
ever after goodness. Comedian Jeanne Martinet grew up reading romance
comics, and after coming to the conclusion that they had permanently
warped her take on relationships, she decided to fight back in her
own way. Happily for us, she published the product: she took the
images from particular romance comics and then rewrote all of the
dialog to create new stories. Hilarity definitely ensues!
review by robin
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Your Whole Family is Made Out of Meat: The Best of Dinosaur Comics
by Ryan North
This is a compilation of an internet comic called Dinosaur Comics. The simplest way to describe Dinosaur Comics is as an experiment in the comic form: each comic is composed of six panels with exactly the same images on them: a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a close up frame of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Tyrannosaurus Rex stepping on a house while a Dromiceiomimus looks on; a Tyrannosaurus Rex stepping on a woman while a Utahraptor looks on, a panel with just the Tyrannasaurus Rex and the Utahraptor, and a final panel of the Tyrannosaurus Rex all alone. Every day, Ryan North adds different words to these same six frames to create a continuous and hilarious story that meditates on the issues of life (and such strange things at the Canadian punctuation system). But beyond the formal experiement, this comic is humorous, introspective, and it has a huge online presence. Though the six frames remain the same in every comic, Dinosaur Comics transcends being an experiment in form to become, in T-Rex's words, "so awesome!" The comic is exists online at www.quantz.com.
review by gina
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Eroica With Love: Volume 2
by Aoike Yasuko
In life, one needs the help of friends. Major Klaus Heinz Von Dem
Eberbach AKA "Iron Klaus" has a slew of agents at his disposal,
all named after letters of the alphabet to make his life easier.
Earl Dorian Red Gloria AKA "Eroica" has James, his very stingy accountant,
who also happens to be madly in love with him. These are the main
players in From Eroica With Love, a classic shonen ai
comic originally written in the late 1970s. In my review of From
Eroica With Love volume 1 I was amused to finally be reading
a comic I've heard about so often over the years, but a little unsure
where the story was taking me. Volume 2 is where I finally started
to understand the sheer addictiveness of this incredibly strange
and wacky comic.
In volume 2 all the ridiculous hijinks continue. This time we've
got jade statues, Russian spies, and international criminal and
government conferences being held next door to each other. Klaus
and Eroica inevitably meet, Klaus is as annoyed by Eroica as always,
and Eroica hits on him as much as ever. Somehow, in the midst of
all this, we also manage to have a plot dealing with shipping deals,
terrorist plots, and secret microfilms. That's where needing the
help of friends (and enemies) really comes into play.
From Eroica With Love is light, amusing, fast paced fluff.
There still isn't a whiff of actual sexual content for readers to
worry about, but there is a constant presence of homosexuality which
some readers may not be comfortable reading about.
Actually, that theme probably bears a bit more discussion. Many
of the characters within the story are gay and in every case either
extremely flamboyant, effeminate, or both. These depictions probably
had a much more painful bite to them when this was first published
in 1976, but within the context of 2006 the over-the-top characters
in their wild 70's clothes don't offend so much as serve to make
the story all the more absurd and humorous. These are stereotypes
that are so big, so ridiculous, and so removed from today's reality,
that most modern readers wouldn't be able to give them legitimacy.
It also helps that the expressions of homophobia within the comic
are all made by characters that are just as over the top and during
moments that are just as ridiculous, thus assuring that the no one
in the comic has the credibility to really argue or prove something
to the reader with these stereotypes. All of this is my very long-winded
way of saying that ultimately From Eroica With Love seems
to me to be fun and harmless, not offensive or cruel. This is a
charged issue though and your mileage, as well as the opinions you
hold going into this, may vary.
Review by Katie
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