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The Comic Book Thread

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Why do you say "even" comics?

Because, while an amazing medium, the sheer most of them are, inexplicably, even more retarded than movies. Only small handful of comics genuinely achieve something.

Is it true that only a reduced number of comic books achieve something? Is this situation worse than any other medium? Are comic books reduced to this due to some of the best they can offer being relegated to obscurity? And what does the sequential art have to offer in its approach and in the original stories created for it?

When I read some posters say they didn't know Tintin prior to the 2011 film, I thought on opening this thread so we could share comic book works that might happen to be unkown for other posters but they might find them enjoyable, although later I forgot about it.

I think that some of what I have in mind are classics inside the world of comic book readers but are little known outside of it, others are more obscure, and others aren't obscure at all. My idea is describing comic books of all kinds that I find to be genuinely awesome.

So I thought I'd start with one of my recent loves.

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Hungarian Rhapsody (Vittorio Giardino, 1982).

In 1938, after the destruction of the Hungarian Rhapsody, a French spy group operating in Budapest, the French secret service forces ex-spy Max Fridman to leave his home at Genova, his daughter and his business to investigate the murders. Soon he meets the lone survivor and finds himself the target of every organization in the city.

I'll be honest. I can't help gushing here. The best possible word to describe this book is elegance. The artwork is wonderful, meticulous. I love some he plays with shapes to fit small details like reaction shots. Giardino makes the most out the 30's setting, recreating this moment in a time in a way that seems right out of an old film. I also notice great beauty and expression in his women characters; it turns out he's also drawn erotic comic books.

Giardino's world of spies is anything but romantic, however, the humanity of the characters makes it worthwhile.The author makes great use of conventions of the medium; the pace whithin scenes and whithin the whole book is clocked to perfection, managing a very delicate balance of danger throgrhout a story that goes further than it seems initially and that reminds myself of classic novels of the genre. The characterizations are quick and exquisite, and Max Fridman is probably among my favourite spy characters after 90 pages.

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This work destiles an absurd amount of cool at every page. Thankfully, there's more, as this particular series continues in a few more books, with more settings in Istanbul and Spain during the Civil War. Yay for me.

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I think that croc was referring to American comic books in his post, which are indeed dumb as fuck.

European comic books, on the other hand, have way more to offer.

Heheh, I can see his point. The USA has a big mass market and some philosophies of publication that alone are completely annoying. However they also have good stuff, with actual endings and everything :lol:. European/Soth American comic books is what I've more commonly read. Now I'm interested in Japan too.

I like this sort of art and composition in comics. Very rich in mood, very clean, reminiscent of Hergé.

Yeah it has that anally detailed Herge quality but with more dinamism. Great work with figures too.

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...I'd forgotten I'd made this thread!

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BLACKSAD

In the USA after WW2, John Blacksad is a charismatic old school private investigator... and a pissed off cat, as all characters here are antropomorphic animals.

Somewhere Within the Shadows follows Blacksad on the track of the murder of an old lover. In Artic Nation, it's about the kidnapping of a girl within a plot on racism that gives the hero another headache. I haven't read the rest yet, but the series (written by Juan Díaz Canales) seems to have a lot of fun picking ideas from the old noir novel toolbox without any sort of shame at all. Killers, loosers, politicians, corrupt people, policemen, people hiding secrets, inter-racial violence, sexual repression, economic depression and some murders right off some classic movie. It works wonderfully! Artist Juanjo Guarnido, who has worked as designer an animator for Disney, FUCKING KILLS IT, graphically speaking. His style evolves through the merely two entries I've read and these watercolours rock my world. Plus some of the character designs are hilarious and spot on. It's full of detail everywhere yet not unnecesarilly bloated. John Blacksad is a fun, vulnerable character, thanks to the instinct of the writer and the well thought out and extremely detailed (yet not bloated in the slightlest) narrative style with a brilliant flow.

This series is currently rocking it through Europe. I need to read the following entries.

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Meanwhile, the cover of the fifth entry in the series has been revealed.

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This book (comics?) is a great read. Helps to set apart comics from any other art.

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One of my favorite comic books ever will be From Hell. Absolute masterpiece of language and artwork. It's also 572 pages long!

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This Blacksad thing looks interesting.

Karol

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I'm exactly halfway through All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison - about to start chapter 7 out of 12.

So far one of the best Superman comics I've ever read - funny, witty and full of imagination.

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EDIT: Few hours later...



And just finished it. It's really good, captures Superman character in a way it only rarely happens.

Karol

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Hayao Miyazaki's retirement from cinema comes with perks: he's now working on a comic book about swordfighting samurais set in the time of the warring kingdoms, a subgenre which has its own name in Japanese but I can't remember it.

I still must read Miyazaki's Nausicaa.

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beowulf.jpg

BEOWULF is a kind of badass interpretation of the poem, turning its literary devices into pictorial art that exploits the medium with every intention of kicking you right in the face. Sticking quite closely to the tone of the legendary story, we follow again this narrative about four monsters (with minor deviations, omissions, and additions) all the way to an awesome ending that's as abrupt as it is appropiate. BEOWULF is not a reinterpretation for modern audiences: the new creators know that their characters live a world with motivations that are odd to us, and that only make sense in its cultural context. As simple as it might be, it's fun (and depressing), and I loved many of its ideas and splashes of expressively red nightmares.

I got a colour drawing of Grendel in my copy by the artist, as I love Grendel :)

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I have bought a huge amount of new comic books in the last couple of months. I got hold of the full Grant Morrison Batman Run, plus his All Star Superman.

I also started reading Preacher and Bone in TPB format, and those two sagas are absolute treasures

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All-Star Superman is definitely one of the better character interpretations out there.

I myself have bought Alan Moore's/Malcolm McLaren's Fashion Beast today. Wanted to wait for this paperback edition so I don't have to go through each of ten issues. The project has been in the making for many years. It was originally written as a film script back in the late 80's for the two gentlemen to collaborate on. Now, it came out as a comic book. Very excited.

Karol

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Nope! I'm excited to finally read it. Love the film!

I have to finish Sin City first though. I'm three books into the whole collection there.

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I'm head deep into Grant Morrison's Batman saga, and this is some of the most fascinating and original mainstream comics I have ever read. It's a real trip, and constantly surprising

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Les Passagers du vent (Passengers of the Wind) - François Bourgeon.

This story was published in several parts between 1979 and 1984. There's a sequel, La Petite Fille Bois-Caïman, that I haven't read.

It's bloody awesome. That's all I can say now, having just finished it. This is for those who like actually badass adventure stories. There's a lot of stuff on it, but I finished so quickly because I couldn't stop reading. Awesome research work, great art and attention to detail, striking characters and situations. Wonderful!

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I'm revisiting Naüja, a rather outlandish story which is relatively short (there are only three volumes).

Love the colors, love the drawing style, love the atmosphere that emanates from it. Didn't remember the story much, to be honest, so I'm rediscovering it as I'm rereading it, which is quite fun!

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I recently read Godzilla: Awakening, a prequel to the new movie. It gives some back story to the mysterious Monarch group and why the military wanted to use the atom bomb on Godzilla, to the protest of Serizawa's father, who's telling the story as it's laid out in the comic.

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