Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Two brief points

-Hey, guess what I bought today? That's right, the issue of The Comics Journal with all those best of 2007 lists. I'll try to have the final master list up tomorrow.

UPDATE: The computation is done, but it will be tomorrow before I can put it all together with my comments. Adding TCJ data does change the bottom of the top ten, but the impact is greater on numbers 11-20 or so. At least that's my preliminary observation; I haven't actually done the ranking yet.

-Continuing the earlier discussion of the best of 2008 from the other day: I finished reading Blue Pills and Paul Goes Fishing this weekend. I thought the former got a little better in the middle, especially as more details about the reality of living with HIV came through. I really wasn't crazy about the ending with the mastodon, and there was something about Peeters' art which I didn't like--it's like the least attractive combination of Brian Lee O'Malley and Craig Thompson possible. I also found the characters hard to relate to, and there was something about the translation which seemed especially impenetrable ("Idiocies! Idiocies! Idiocies!" for example). Some people probably consider it a positive that the idiosyncrasies and rhythms of the French language remained intact, but I found it distracting. Blue Pills has its moments, but I found it disappointing on the whole.

On the other hand, I was really impressed with Paul Goes Fishing. I'd read a few of Michael Rabagliati's shorter Paul stories, and always found them winsome and engaging, but not especially deep. I really need to read the longer volumes, I guess, because Paul Goes Fishing greatly exceeded my expectations. I was especially taken with how subtly the ending recalled earlier themes about the intersection of technology with nature. I guess I still think Little Nothings is the best thing to come out in the first 1/6 of 2008, but Paul Goes Fishing is a strong second. Given that the most-ballyhooed releases are still to come, it's looking like a really good year for comics.


Chris Mautner said...

I haven't read Fishing yet, but the other Paul books are quite excellent, especially Paul Leaves Home.

I agree 100 percent about Blue Pills too, right down to the awkward translation. Quite the disappointment for me.

Matthew J. Brady said...

That's actually a really good description of the art in Blue Pills. Kudos for that one. I didn't mind it, for the most part, although, as I mentioned in my review, I was weirded out by the depiction of female characters (namely Cati). Actually, I quite liked it aside from that aspect.

Also, I had originally intended to comment on the translation in the review, but it didn't seem to fit. I noticed a lot of ellipses, for one thing. I mostly chalked it up to, as you say, the rhythms of the French language, since I think I've noticed a similar style in other French books (I can't think of any specific examples though; maybe The Rabbi's Cat? Or Vampire Loves?). Again, it wasn't something that bothered me, but it was notable.

So, I don't know. To each his own, I guess.

(I'm really bad at internet discussions, aren't I? I should be lambasting you guys for your poor taste right now, or calling you names because you didn't agree with me on every point. Sorry to be boring and civil.)

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