July 6, 2009

Lazy Summer Reading

Hey nerds we are in the middle of the summer, time to go outside and tan that pale body of yours! While cooking in the sun you might notice that it is a perfect time to pore over some fine manga. Here are some good books that are long enough to sustain a day in the sun:

coverSolanin by Inio Asano, Amazon.com
PEOPLE WITH PROBLEMS. Coming out of college, stuck with a pretty well-payed job that you hate, not knowing what it is you really want to do and playing in a band, yup it's been done before. The characters are average people living average lives is average Tokyo but are so well developed that I read the entire book cover-to-cover. Then I read it again. And the artwork is beautiful.

coverA Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Amazon.com
Because it is probably the manga of the year, and last year, and the year before that. It is also thick. The most amazing thing about this book is that even though it is over 850 pages the most common complaint is that it ends too soon.

coverA Patch of Dreams by Hideji Oda, Amazon.com
A Patch of Dreams is the story about the main character Renei's descent into something that appears to be madness as her dreams and reality blend together. She talks about life with her dead friends, her living friends and God while the reader tries to understand what is really going on. The sketch-y artwork and the mystery theme is perfect for the summer, but sometimes it feels like it is trying too hard to be clever.

coverTravel by Yuichi Yokoyama, Amazon.com
Not a single word is uttered in Travel. The plot is nonexistent, three men board a train and we get to watch the scenery and the insides of the train until they reach their destination. The point is Yokoyama's artwork. I find myself staring at pages for minutes, sometimes in order to figure out just what the fuck I am looking at, sometimes because I'm convinced that the page I'm looking at is the most perfectly crafted comic page ever, sometimes both.

coverCat Eyed Boy by Kazuo Umezu, Amazon.com
Cat Eyed Boy is the best boy manga yōkai spectacle you'll ever read (until GeGeGe gets translated). Umezu's art is dense, his plot is thin and his mosters are gorgerous. It is thick, brainless and perfect for a quick summer fling.

coverOde to Kirihito by Osamu Tezuka, Amazon.com
Kirihito re-established Tezuka as a Great One in the west, Buddha got the ball rolling but was too big of a commitment to really reach the masses. The 800+ pages twist and tumble around a mysterious disease called Monmow turning people into dog-like beasts, rivaling doctors searching for a cure, a nun struggling with the disease, the discrimination of the affected, slavery, racism, religion, madness, love and foul play. The whole spectacle is framed by Tezuka's most inspired paneling and sense of movement.

Now go the fuck out!


Karel Veselý said...

Great stuff! Solanin is great, I love contemporary slice of life and this story was a little bit as if my life turned into a manga :) Ode To Kirihito essential and impressive, maybe too lenghty. Now I am reading A Drifting Life, half way through after three days and hardly doing anything else then reading this and finding references... perfect for understanding history of manga. Travel I found a little bit self-indulgent. I loved New Engineering a lot, but I have problems to get myself into Travel. I'll check the rest, thanks.

RSS said...

A Drifting Life is great! I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel :)