Friday, June 03, 2011

Meanwhile, at Blog@Newsarama...

Truer words have never been spoken. So look, I have a review of Yuichi Yokoyama's Garden up at Blog@Newsarama. You can read my review here, you can see a preview of the book here (at the bottom, below the interview that I didn't read for reasons explained later in this post), and you can find more details about it at publisher PictureBox's website here.

It's a great comic book, one of the better one's I've read in this first half of 2011, and meets and leaps over my own personal criteria of what makes for a great comic—a comic that does something no other comic (or, in this case, creator) really does. I still feel weird recommending it, although I do think everyone who's into comics and what they can do, should read it—it's a thrilling read, but it's non-narrative nature means it's probably not a comic the masses might enjoy or feel necessarily entertained by. Hell, if Present Me created a wormhole in time and visited Teenage Me and gave him this to read, Teenage Me would probably punch Present Me in the face (And then ask how much longer he would have his long, luxurious blond hair before going bald).

Two quick anecdotes about this book...

Anecdote #1: On my first attempt to read it, I brought it to a niece's gymnastics practice as reading material, to read while I sat in the stands as she tumbled and whatnot. It's printed right-to-left, as it's translated manga, so I started reading it left-to-right like a standard Western comic. Because of the complicated, wordless climax, for about four or five minutes it was the most intense, most disorienting, most perplexing thing I'd ever read—I remember thinking "My God, 300 pages of this?!"—before I checked the cover and realized I was reading backwards, like an idiot.

Oddly, it's still pretty disorienting and perplexing read from beginning to end, but not nearly as much so as when read from end to beginning.

Anecdote #2: I procrastinated a little bit longer than usual in reviewing this book, because as I was reading it I was sort of scared to try and explain it. It's...not an easy book to tell someone about, and is much easier to simply hand to someone and say "Here, read this," you know? Now, while I love reading criticism of all kinds, particularly of films and comics, if I know I'm planning on reviewing something, I always hold off on reading other people's reviews, for fear of their thoughts polluting my own. (This is particularly true of serious or literature-like work; if I was reviewing a Steven Seagal or Rob Schneider movie for the paper I used to write for, I wasn't such a purist about avoiding others' opinions, as condemnation was always fairly universal). This was incredibly hard to do in the case of Garden, as I really wanted to hear what other folks had to say about it but, given the abstract nature of so much of it, felt like reading other reviews would almost certainly impact my own ability to judge it effectively, so I assembled a sticky note of other peoples' reviews to read as soon as I finished my own. Here they are, if you want a second, third, fourth and fifth opinion on Garden: Douglas Wolk, Sean T. Collins, Chris Mautner and Someone At Publishers Weekly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I -adore- Yokoyama. 'Travel' is pure momentum: a real experience to read. Make it your next book.