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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Continuing library adventures

Continuing some comic book reading from the library, more 20th CENTURY BOYS (pretty good), a six-volume adaptation of THE STAND (tiring, some good bits, don't get the ending), the memoir MY FRIEND DAHMER (very interesting if disturbing) and the second volume of HEREVILLE (a good read, but not really written for me).

20th CENTURY BOYS Vol. 4-8
I've gotten to the 1/3 mark of Naoki Urasawa's 24-book series since last I wrote. Apparently the last volume just came out in English. Unfortunately, just checking now, it looks like my library hasn't gotten more since Vol. 19.  I guess when I get there, if the library hasn't picked up more by then, I'll have to decide if I'm still enjoying it enough to buy the last five books. Doesn't seem to be available digitally, unfortunately, which I'd be more likely to get.

As it stands at the 1/3 mark, I'd probably be inclined to buy the last few books. Urasawa is doing a pretty good job of adding to the complexity of the storyline and bringing in new characters. There are frustratingly slow bits, and I think he's gone to the "Here comes the big reveal! Oops, misdirection!" well on the identity of Friend a few times too many already. I've been avoiding spoilers, but from what I've been unable to avoid it sounds like there's more of that coming and that's what soured some readers on the series by the end.

THE STAND Vol. 1-6
An adaptation of the Stephen King novel by Mike Perkins and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, originally published in 31 parts. I've never really been a Stephen King reader, the only prose stories of his I can recall finishing were the short stories adapted in film as STAND BY ME and THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, and both of those I read only after I'd seen the movies. And in addition to being shorter than most King stories, they also lacked any horror/fantasy elements. But this post-apocalyptic story seemed interesting enough, so I thought I'd give it a try. There were a few good bits, but overall it was a bit of a slog to get through, maybe twice as long as it needed to be. Perkins does a decent enough job on the art, but there are long patches where there's not very much interesting for him to draw. I guess overall I just missed the point of the story, since I kept thinking a post-apocalyptic story would be more interesting if it were about real people, instead of people being manipulated at every turn by the forces of good and evil, where the climax could have happened just as easily without the actions of the protagonists. Not sorry I read it, but really glad I didn't pay for it.

This is a memoir/biography by Derf Backderf, who went to high school with Jeffrey Dahmer in the 1970s, partly drawn from Backderf's own memories and partly from interviews with Dahmer and accounts from others on the teen years of the notorious serial killer. This was a really compelling read, even with the disturbing subject matter. I never really followed the Dahmer case, so I only knew the broad strokes about his background and crimes, so most of that was new to me, and Backderf goes a good job of mixing his personal experiences and thoughts at the time with what he's learned in retrospect.

And for something completely different...

This is the second volume of Barry Deutsch's series of humourous fantasy adventure comics about Mirka, an 11-year-old orthodox Jewish girl, following HEREVILLE - HOW MIRKA GOT HER SWORD. It's an enjoyable read, mixing in some imaginative fantasy with a look at some the real-world but almost as odd to me culture of orthodox Jewish life. I'm way outside the target audience for this (and lately I find for some reason I'm more in tune with stuff written for very young readers or for adults than stuff in the middle), so I'm sure readers in that audience would like it even more than I did.

On deck to read, more 20th CENTURY BOYS, the various Alan Moore written TOP TEN books, the second FATALE book and maybe, because I never learn, J. Michael Stracynski's run on THOR.

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