Archive | March, 2009

Clumsy – Jeffrey Brown

19 Mar

This is a very honset story about a romantic relationship start to finish. The back sleave reads, “Clumsy was drawn between April 20 and July 14 of 2001 and depicts events that occurred between July 3, 2000 and June 27, 2001.” Having this little bit of information makes the story so much better.

It is incredibly cute, and easy to relate to if you’ve ever been in any sort of romantic relationship. Everything is covered, every little embarassing story, as if this story was taken from a journal, or from sketches taken during the relationship.

The two characters live in seperate states and the graphic novel is mainly set when tey are together at each other’s homes on visits, but some of the small sketches are done over the phone.

I have nothing really horrible to say for the graphic novel, I thought it was fabulous, however the drawing was very sketchy, very unpolished. Now I’ve thought that maybe because it is called, “Clumsy,” that it is okay for the drawings to be lazy. Then sometimes I really see the art in the characters body shapes, and yet other times I’m just frusterated, because I can’t read the font, or really understand what the character is doing.

However, it is still worth reading if you are a graphic novel fan.


The Madame Paul Affair – Julie Doucet

19 Mar

Julie Doucet is a fabulous artist, as well as graphic novelist. She is known for her award winning graphic novel, “My NewYork Diary,” which is fabulous. This smaller book, “The Madame Paul Affair,” is just as excellent.
Every story feels very autobiographical, as though all the stories come from her every day life, which fascinates me. The autobiographical novelist, is the most interesting to me, because it’s so ordinary, but it also feels like you’re looking much deeper into someones personal life, like in Clumsy by Jeffrey Brown.

One thing that really stood out to me in “The Madame Paul Affair,” was that her speach bubbles, are set behind the heads of the characters, which does two things, it draws your eyes to really look at the characters face, to read what they’re feeling, it also is like symbolism for being inside their head. I really find that quite interesting, and it works to draw me into the story.

The story is a slightly strange story about an apartment that she lived in with her boyfriend “Andre.” It’s laid out almost like a cheesy mystery, which always gets me, regardless as to how cheesy it is!

The art is very typical of Julie Doucet’s style, which is comforting. After this I’m onto reading, “My Most Secret Desire,” which is another one of Doucet’s


Blankets – Craig Thompson

17 Mar

This is a graphic novel of a young boys first romantic relationship, and the only twist is that he’s been raised in a very right-wing baptist family.
Therefore he has all sorts of preconceptions and ideas that may or may not be true, all sorts of rules that he’s following, and he’s only five.
While he is a child, he is very unhappy, not really understanding why or how people follow all these rules, and basically figures the only reason he’s following them is because life will be better in heaven. When one Sunday School teacher thwarts this dream it’s like she sends him on a downward spiral emotionally.
Finally he meets the girl, and starts to discover who he is.

This story was really interesting to me, because I was raised baptist, and could really relate to a lot of the stories and feelings that this guy went through (I forgot to mention that this was an autobiography, shaped like a fiction). It was easy for me to remember all sorts of situations that were identical to that of Craig Thompson’s.

This is a really good book for anyone, but especially good if you were raised Christian, as it may shine a light on whatever it was you were questioning as a child.


A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

17 Mar

Once you learn the Nadsat language all by your oddy nochy, it’s really a horroshow book to viddy.
If you viddied the film at the sinny, then you know the vesch.
Need a glossary?
grahzny – greasy, rookers – legs, nogas – feet, crasting – breaking in etc.

This book did take awhile to get into considering you had to learn a whole different language of slange (nadsat) before it made any sense. Here’s an excerpt,
“They had no license for selling liquor, but there was no law yet against prodding some of the new veshces which they used to put into the old moloko, so you could peet it with vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom or one or two other ceshches which would give you a nice quiet horroshow fifteen minutes admiring Bog And All His Holy Angels and Saints in you left shoe with lights bursting all over your mozg”
and so it continues…

Anthony Burgess was really quite ahead of his time. He was writing A Clockwork Orange before hippies, and LSD was commonplace, and while this novella is simply packed with the stuff, ten years later it would actually come into reality.

The clothes, the music, the slang, it was all predicted early on by Anthony Burgess…

This story of an incredibly violent teenager being brain washed into being good, and then released to his old self, may seem too violent, or too harsh, but the truth is that Anthony Burgess himself witnessed an extremely violent evening that included the raping of his wife in the first world war, which was the catalyst to write a novella questioning violent nature and humans position in it.

It really is an interesting book 10/10

Catastrophe Waitress – Belle & Sebastian

17 Mar

My goodness! I can’t describe how happy I was when I finally heard this tasty album.
I have a permanent smile.
The semi-retro sound mixed with multi-instrument indie madness is enough to make anyone happy for a day.
You can relate to every song. Every story, every guitar riff, every piano solo, it all is completely relatable.
I love honest work, and this is very honest.
I’m in love.

Black Hole – Charles Burns

17 Mar

What a fabulous graphic novel!

The back of the book wrote,
“It was like a horrible game of tag…It took awhile, but they finally figured out it was some kind of new disease that only affected teenagers. They called it the, “Teen Plague,” or, “The Bug,” and they were all kinds of unpredictable symptoms…For some it wasn’t too bad – a few bumps, maybe an ugly rash… others turned into monsters or grew new body parts…but the symptoms didn’t matter…oncce you were tagged you were “it” forever”

Yea, so it sounds a little cheesy, but it has been recognized in many graphic novel anthologies for two things, one, it’s very creative thought provoking story, and two, for it’s beautiful black and white drawings.

I got into graphic novels a few months ago and have been on a reading rampage, everything from Art Speigelman to Julie Doucet. I first delved into them because I had been doing some pen and ink drawings, and thought that I could draw inspiration from the drawings in the graphic novels, shortly thereafter I fell in love with the way that a graphic novel tells a story. It’s not just a story with pictures, or kids stories, it’s an incredibly creative way of sharing a story or personal thought, relating to pictures. It’s fabulous.

At the beginning of Black Hole, I was a little turned off by the idea of teenagers in the, “mid 70s” that scene has been scrutinized by authors, and playwrites for at least a decade, and I was sick of it, but Charles Burns is able to portray a very realistic portrait of teenagers in the mid 70s without blowing things like drug use, or ex-hippies out of proportion. I quickly put aside my feelings and fell in love with the story.

This is definately worth reading, and I’d give it a 8/10.