So I did some shopping while I was away

I do not think I am made for big cities. I am a walker, and I will accidentally walk for far longer than I meant to. Particularly trying to find places to eat in the CBD. I don’t know why it was so hard, Brunswick St was overflowing with places. Fitzroy in general was more comfortable for me, like the difference between Cuba Street and Lambton Quay. Only instead of streets, you have areas the size of my whole city.

But big is definitely better when it comes to book stores. And comic stores: I walked around Minotaur for about half an hour with my mouth open. All these things I wanted, that I would usually have to order in. Just sitting there. AMAZING.

It should be no suprise I bought a lot of books. The ones I have read so far:

A Drunken Dream and Other Stories – Hagio Moto

Gorgeously put-together collection of short comics. I like how everyone is not necessarily pretty in Hagio’s comics. My favourite of these is probably ‘Iguana Girl’, about a girl whose mother’s negative response to her leads her to see herself as an iguana. She’s a very likable character, and her relationship with her mother is clearly and cuttingly defined.

Many of the stories in this volume deal with parent-child relationships, or sibling relationships, and they’re probably also the strongest ones.

‘The Willow Tree’ is particularly bittersweet and gorgeous, a nearly wordless comic. When one of the characters does speak, it’s key to understanding the whole comic, though at the same time, it’s the least effective part. The wordless panels work best.

Now, for Fantagraphics to bring out more of her work! Please!

Apollo’s Song – Tezuka Osamu

Whenever I read something of Tezuka, I wonder why people don’t mention how weird his books are. They’re never what I expect. They are, though, completely compelling.

Apollo’s Song is about a young man who scorns love; his habit of killing animals that show any affection to one another leads to his being committed, and after having electroshock treatment, he sees himself judged by the gods, and condemned to live out hopeless romances for eternity. It then skips between the ‘present day’ and the Shogo’s other lives, in the past and the future, which may or may not be real.

It feels very of its time, and some of the attitudes shown really don’t work for me – the conflation of heterosexual desire and procreation with love, for instance. But I still bought and rooted for the characters.

Palimpsest – Catherynne Valente

Really I should have read this before the Hugos. (Also I should have remembered to vote.) But I feel quite ambivalent about it – there was a moment where I could feel the shape of something bigger, but it never quite eventuated for me. I admire it, but it didn’t really grab me hoping.

Changing Ways – Justin Randall

Graphic novel by an Australian artist. Gorgeous, gorgeous art – quite sketchy in the linework, with beautiful colouring – I think actually incorporating photos in some of the images? I was reading this by the light of the bedside lamp in the hostel, and I think it is something I will have to revisit in natural light!

It has quite an apocalyptic feel to it, with some kind of magic going on. Am definitely intrigued for the next one.

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl – Peter Milligan, Nick Dragotta and Mike Allred

X-Statix, which started off as a new run on X-Force is an early 2000s comic series, where the superhero group is manufactured for maximum profit, and the characters regularly die and are replaced. This volume, from two years after the original series was cancelled, takes that even further: nearly all of the characters are dead.

I find this a far more entertaining critique of the superhero genre than anything Alan Moore ever wrote, though I prefer the original run, which takes on the media as a whole more. I don’t know how well Dead Girl would work if you didn’t know the team already – that said, I don’t know anything about Doctor Strange, who also features, and I probably miss a bit just because I don’t really read superhero comics.

But I liked the ridiculousness of it. The thing Dead Girl and Doctor Strange have going. Mr Sensitive’s emoness reaching epic proportions (and U-Go Girl’s reaction to him). It’s a very silly comic.

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