The Subtle Life

THIS WEEK: The Wishlist AND What I actually ordered

“These in part taught me what graphic novels could be, along with Kingdom Come, Frank Miller’s Dark Knight and Moore’s own League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series. But more on those respective stories later.”

As Dougal’s Rabbit graph once displayed on Father Ted, dreams and reality are far far apart., and one must live the subtle life between them *ANGST WARNING*

The Wishlist:

1. Superman Red Son – Mark Millar

> An Elseworlds tarradiddle of the DC Universe.

To explain: I am very anal retentive about my reading; I like my stories to have a beginning, middle and an end. Oh, by no means does a character or plot arch have to be confined to one text without sequel, but I do like any one issue/episode/book/film to have some sort of ending in an of itself, even if if it is predicated upon its conclusion in a sequel.

As such, I’ve never really been au fait with reading the mainstream comics, with thousands of issues, hundreds of the different writers and artists, and many, many reboots of continuity. Brief archs are ok, but overall it somewhat goes over my head.

Therefore, I like characters (when reading illustrated texts) that are one shots; that have that unity of action where they can be killed, or maimed, or crazed, or finished, without seeing it changed back next week. I want that capacity of the development of a multi-million dollar property like Superman, Batman, etc., and the security of a one-shot’s conclusion.

Also, I find its much, much cheaper.

DC’s Elseworlds is therefore my dream come true: Steampunk Batman, Green Lantern Batman, Vampire Batman, Superman but raised as Batman, Supergirl as Superman . . . even a series based on the films of 1920’s German Expressionist Cinema.

Red Son is one such series – Baby Superman lands in Stalin’s Russia rather than Kennedy’s America. Tipping those international scales, the impact is interesting as it is shocking. I’d read about, heard it recommended, and it seems like a good way to start an Elseworlds adventure.

*Successfully Ordered!

2. Hellboy Vol 1: Seed of Destruction – Mike Mignola

This essentially is the first Hellboy film’s basis in the comic. With the Golden Army imminent, and the awesome of the first movie, I thought I’d read up on it. The first film was by no means a strict adaptation, but apparently Mignola approves del Toro’s work so I think I can give it a try.

My particular attractions here are: Overtones of Lovecraft, John Constantine, Rasputin, alternate history and evil fish frog people in the british aristocracy. I’ve seen the artwork before, and it does indeed seem to be artwork, so hopefully it fufils on the whole, as the showgirl said to the vicar.

*Successfully Ordered!

And here is where it all goes wrong . . .

3. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen : The Black Dossier – Alan Moore

As my glomping on this series in earlier rants should indicate, I do love a little Alan Moore in general and The L of EG in specific.  The Black Dossier isn’t necessarily a strict succession to the first two volumes, but also a way to showcase the Black Dossier of the title, which recounts various league adventures of the past to the present day, with that usual omnivorous mix of fact, fiction and myth that Moore has so mae his own in this series. A Tijuana Bible, a Wodehouse style adventure with the Elder Gods, Woolf’s Orlando recounting his/her 3,000 year history . . . . ‘ Tis the stuff of book nerd dreams. There was 12 pages of this type of stuff at the end of Vol. 2, and it just made my mouth water for more.

Alas, however, its not available for retail here.

You see, the first 2 volumes heavily referenced works by authors whose copyright had expired – H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, etc. However, the Black Dossier uses much more recent and copyright relevant authors like George Orewell, Virginia Woolf, H.P. Lovecraft and so on. As such, while available in America, its not available here in Europe.

*NOT Successfully Ordered!

4. Eagle: The Making of an Asian American Presidency.

A fascinating, short manga series about an Asian American senator’s fictional run for the American Presidency against what appears to be Bill Clinton. Apparently its a smart, political take on this concept, with West Wing style views of the next President’s campaign and reign.

Not that I wouldn’t want Bill Clinton to win an American Presidency again, or Hillary to win the next one: I’d prefer either Clintons to either of the George Bushes. I say this as someone who has no residency or vote in America nor much care for its affairs except for the Big Red Button. In this capacity Ifear the Bushes: People who believe God tells them what to do, believe they are right with God, act in his name and fear none but him, these are the people that can willfully bring about Armageddeon. No, I want the man whose screwing around and wants to put off Judgement Day as long as possible, or the woman sufficiently patient to stick by her husband in the face of national scandal to stay with her own political aims.

All props to Obama of course. Only one American personality of sufficient weight could decide between an African American President and a female president, and Oprah did make her choice wisely.

Alas, it too is not available here.

This however is just the slow process of manga filtering in to the Irish market. Perhaps, one day, I will fulfil my dream of humming Turning Japanese while reading an American-Political drama.

*NOT Successfully Ordered!

5. Emma – Kaoru Mori

Emma is a manga set in Victorian England. Not Steampunk England, not Victorian style Future-England, not dancing robot-pretend Victorian England. Why therefore is it a manga? Thats right – Emma is a maid. In love with the son of a rising trade family, hopelessly so due to there ambitions for his marital opportunities, Mori has crafted a heartwarming plot in a setting of intricate detail to the period.

As those of you who picked on my Jane Austen comments may guess, I likes my Victorian England marriage plots and to see one presented so unusually in format is so very interesting to me. That, and I like maids. Not in a weird, whips and leashes type way, but more maids with guns, nurses with knives, catgirlswith three-inch steel claws and bunnygirls with so much articulated kick in that bent back leg to separate ribs. I like juxtaposition of formats and themes, characters and situations, and the sound of a Victorian manga maid makes me feel theres a social revolution I’m missing somewhere.

Alas, it is of indeterminate status. Published by CMX manga here, unlike Eagle its far more likely to be avaialable, but seems to exist on an eerie orderable but not necessarily receivable netherworld on my retailer’s order list.

*NOT Successfully Ordered?

Next Week: The Dark Knight review you all deserve. Briefly: AWESOME! More on that story later.

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2 Responses to The Subtle Life

  1. Revenant says:

    Yes, Red Son is good. Gets a little weaker towards the end, but still manages to stay interesting and twist a little too.

    True Brit on the other hand, is muck. I don’t care if John Cleese co-wrote it, it was just plain bad.

    I note you are a fan of the alternative manga. Good. I generally just read mainstream Shonen Jump titles, but I’ll read anything interesting that my sister picks up, like the Kurosagi Corpse Deliver service. Dark stuff.

  2. flannelcrat says:

    True about Red Son: It might have been better in a format longer than 4 issues. Also True about True Brit – Superman magnum opus as saving a member of the Rutles? Bleh. Its one of the Elseworlds I shan’t be touching with my ten-foot touching pole.

    >”I’ll read anything interesting that my sister picks up”
    -Who do you think turned me onto this stuff? Stories of manga about a woman talking about a broken doll, only it turns about to really be about her daughter . . . those were the type of stories that got me into manga.

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