Tag Archives: Graphic Novels

Even though I’m predictably irregular with year end resolutions which were only put through proper observation during few initiated months of the new year and logarithmically dissolved into daily soup of chores by the time year ends; I can still count myself pretty overachiever while considering challenges related to reading. Reading has been emerged with renewed ferocity with each passing year. With end of the one more successful reading year 2018, here’s summary of good, bad and ugly with courtesy to goodreads.com for organizing it in accessible way with spiced-up stats.

As evident below, 2018 is the year with most number of completed reads of all time which is due to large numbers of graphic novels and comics.

Most popular read this year was, as expected, belongs to literary classics: Crime and Punishments from Fyodor Dostoyevsky which is in continuation to my ongoing tradition with Russian classics after Anna Karenina.

Let’s take the trip down the reading lane for past year and have some reminiscences of most special and most boring read.

1. Tomie by Junji Ito: Scary-cum-body horror mix is potent and effective. Weirdness is mutually offset-ed by Japanese manga presentation and horror heightened due to minimalistic but effective black & white clean art.

2. Miracleman Book 1: Collection of short stories told artistically in universe of Miracleman. Some are really strange and some allegorical considering Gaiman at the helm.

3. Origin by Dan Brown: Dan brown can still connects real location world-wide with real scientific research and some interwoven fictional tale with most famous “symbologist” doing what he is good at. But still Origin was balloon whose air is fizzling out as time passes. Still good for Dan Brown fans.

4. Swamp Thing Vol. 2: This years my Alan Moore read continuing brilliant Swamp Thing saga.

5. Patience: Time-travel story with emotional central plot. Bit muddled and not as good as Clowes’s Ghost World.

6.wytches: Completely new urban take on traditional witches with eye-popping color splatter art in the wake of Jackson Pollock.

7. Murder on the Orient Express: Foray into Agatha Christi’s world. I am fan of closed room mysteries and this is as good as I was looking forward to.

8.Fun Home: One of the best read of 2018 or of any year. Sharp, poignant and at the same time touching.  Bachdel’s quest for exploring her complex sexual leaning along with relationship with her father, in turn makes her understand her father more profoundly. It is the tale which sounds more serious than the way its told.

9. Grindhouse: Cheap comic-con “earn” which was good considering value for money.

10. The Trip: One more new-stand pick-up fast read; picked up in Comic-con 2018.

11. Whiteout: Nice wintry chilling read.

12. The Alienist:Victorian age serial killing mystery set in Newyork – And I’m sold. Though it missed the mark of hitting the “Jack the Ripper” goal. Still readable for clever writing and historical research.

13. Summer of Night: Homage to Stephen King’s very popular “It” with very similar horror plot involving kids in some suburban US town. But its very good homage at that. Dan Simmons has uncanny ability to advance story through characterization. And that is very good sign of any famous author. Story take its own time to get into grooves, but that’s what the recipe of the good taste; let it be cooked on slow burn.

14. Harley Quinn Vol 1,2,3 (New 52): Dripping with feminism and bravura of style and art. Incorporating various artists for single story seamlessly is fun to read (and goggled over)

15.Maggie the Mechanic: One more title which celebrates the feminism with tale of band of girls in futuristic world where large complex machinery is the way of life and effective mechanics are reverential. Its collection of short stories, characterized by light weight tone of its nature even in the face of sheer calamity.

16. Crime and Punishment: Every year I shall indulge myself with one (or more) literary classics and I was flattened by last year’s Russian take of classics like Lolita and Anna Karenina. So continuing the trend, I attempted Fyodor Dostovesky. If the whole year reading list was consisted largely of comics and light read then it might be because of Crime and Punishment, as if I could not afford more serious read. It was dark, satirical and at the same time brilliantly translated as well as elaborated.

17. Preacher Book one: Garth Ennis’s pulls no stop in this ultra-violent offending story. Its good and serves what reader expected from such adult comic read.

18. Zero Hour: Short sci-fi story collection of the early comic golden age era. Some good, some thoughtful and some borderline geeky; but all entertaining.

19. The Outsider: Stephan King’s latest (but not best). Story is gripping and if it could have been 100 pages short than it would be more fun. Still lovely King experience all and all.

20. The Revolutionary Genius of Plants:  Humankind actually not liking the spicy taste (spicy is not actually a taste belongs to primary tastes but sensation), we are addicted to it. And plants of pepper family has deliberately made us addictive. Interesting !! There is lot more in this revolutionary new book throwing new light aided by latest research. Excellent and enlightening.

21. Black sad: With popularity of Graphic novel medium arising immensely, aided by large number of adapted movies, some of the European gems are sipped to mainstream US market. Blacksad is one of the lot. Blacksad has to be seven course meal laid out for eyes. Excellent color filtered panels with water-color feel should leave you keep staring at each page for eternity. Noir crime drama is perfect match for such beautifully presented panels. Must read for anyone.

22. Four Color Fear: One more anthology of short campy horror tales from 50’s and 60’s decades. Not all are very enticing, but still comfy reads on wintry dark nights.

23. Sherlock The Great Game: Last season episode of very famous series Sherlock presented in Japanese manga style. Artist has done great job with sketches which resembles real characters of the series precisely.

24. A Study In Emerald: One more story referencing most famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Given the fact that Neil Gaiman has written this short, expect lot many other famous literary references and allusions. Not for everyone but Gaiman fans.

25. Magpie Murders: Anthony Horowitz has done some great job to revive the classic characters like Sherlock Holmes in House of Silk or James Bond in Trigger Mortis. Magpie murders was homage to Agatha Christi’s style of murder mystery. Though written well, for me, it was bogged down by its own set high expectation. Little vapid all and all.

26. The Troop: Story is waffer-thin. But you don’t read horror for only story. Story of band of children stranded at island with something inexplicable- sounds very familiar and scary. It is more of body horror and sometimes King-style snippets of news articles and interviews embedded between chapters, won’t have desired effect. But still good beach read all and all. P.S. Go for classic “Lord of the Flies” to which Troop pays homage.

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End of one more year occasioned me to slap and shake my sleeping personal blog to wide awake and review what has gone well in lost year of 2016 and what’s promising in upcoming year 2017 on measuring scale of reading. At time of typing, I am still 2 books short of my over-enthused resolution of completing 24 books in a year. And that will be the case if I am not able to finish my ongoing massive Japanese thriller Six-Four and Russian classic Anna Karenina; both few hundred pages left. Anyway so maintaining the norm and using the GoodReads provided data, following is my current challenge status.

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Though I easily surpassed all my previous years in terms of number of pages read. Also in terms of number of books.

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My Dickens-obsession grew more and finished two of his classics in 2016. And that will also give me opportunity to declare “Bleak House” as most engaging read of the year. Let’s have the read books be explored in different manner this time. I awarded some weird and whacky titled which will identify specific read absolutely pertaining to me only. Read it and see if it’s fitting to you also.

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Hate Economy, still going to love the book about Economy: The Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt

I knew Japanese Horror, but never prepared for this: Uzumaki by Junji Ito.

Never knew Indian origin Graphic Novels are this better: Devi & Ramayan 3392 A.D.

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First time ever, Movie was actually bad but still quite good than its source:  Suicide Squad

Something alluring about J. K. Rowling: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (All these Robert Galbraith adventures are not that much powerful if you compare with other thriller/mystery genre books available. But there is something in writing which will always compelled me to read ferociously once I start)

Never felt that depressed by object called Book: From Hell

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Fillers from my favorite author can be most arduous effort to finish: Bone Labyrinth by James Rollins

Scientific absurdity and enlightenment: What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

Story and deep philosophical message without speech bubbles?, Yes Possible: Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli

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Gouging the current reading trend of myself, there will be lot more classics in upcoming years with more of Russian classics lit thrown in. And they all shall be huge. So number of books going to dwindle but pages going to surmount. Still best part to which any reading aficionados agree to be never premeditate anything, you will never know when you come across best read of your lifetime.

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I shall end, announcing my reading resolution as quoting the favorite

“Please sir, I want some more.” – Oliver Twist.

 

Mumbai Comic Con 2015

One more checkbox is ticked off from the back of the game box titled “Real Life” where all the desires and dreams are listed out to make the “Life” worth “buying”. To attend expos which has “Comic” as their main subject was one of my desire; at east once in a lifetime. As planned out, I was proficient enough this time to attend my first-ever Comic Con held in Mumbai, India on 19-20 December 2015. And how was that, you may ask. I must admit, considering anticipation and excitement, saying that it was fun is gross understatement. It was blast. Though not as big and thundering as its western counterpart, but still noisy enough to notice with mouth wide open in utter amazement.

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Yes, that tiny happy fleck bursting with joy is me

Getting up at 4:00 in the morning and catching a cab for 3 hour drive to reach testosterone imbued highly energetic and insomniac city of Mumbai was refreshing enough to wear down all the lethargy and laziness of the early start. Reaching to venue well in advance of more than 3 hours has its own advantage of seeing volunteers and management completing the necessary activities before the fun begins. Amid handsome faces and beautiful hearts, Comic Con was guaranteed to be as exciting as expected even before it started. When it really started it was more than what I expected. While entering, I was no different than that ogling child jumping with joy and happiness at each new encounter along with us with it’s parents. There is no age of fandom; there is no age bar for Comic Con.

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Super Fan pass for both days has already sold out a month before.

Cos Play on high note, Announcements aired incessantly from various booths and mingling and adding to the cacophony of others, people pouring in from everywhere to get glance of the new on offer and takeaways, superhero quizzes and competitions getting the attention, large center stage accompanied with necessary technological advancements for latest release and special guest interviews, everyone trying to imitate superhero/villain belonging to both DC and Marvel, Plethora of “Jokers” (Most of Heath Ledger version) floating around, superb Indian sketch talent on display with send artist also pitching in, Pop culture dripping out from every nook and cranny; All fitting well to produce the ambience of new and different. It was courageous winning effort for Indian artists and all the publishers of Indian comics. It is not easy to find so true fandom and geekiness, all gathered and geared up among mass of billions until such events. It was special. Like belonging to brotherhood. Feeling is of absolutely satisfaction and joy that so many people are like you and you are not alone.

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If anyone need Medic due to high anticipation stress….

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Harley Quinn was getting popular with DC’s new 52 Suicide Squad comic series along with upcoming movie

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Best platform to display your sketching and drawing skills

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Unfortunately this was only for promotion and not for sale.

At last, I must also make special note on guest available at this year’s extravagant Comic Con. There were three international guest from Rob Denbleyker (Author: Cyanide and Happiness), Joe Harris and Gavin Aung Than (Zen pencils); Also special guest appearance by Sylvester Mccoy (Actor: Doctor Who and in The Hobbit as Radagast). Along with this there were many Indian artists to interact with such as Vivek Goel (Who’s amazing personal persuasion convinced me to buy entire “Aghori” series), Shamik Das Gupta, Abhijeet Kini, Saumin Patel, Reshmi Chandrashekhar, Leena Swamy and many more.

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Launch of new Indian title

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One of my friend has put up so genuine deranged look and style that if Nolan would have encountered him then he must have planned for Dark Knight 2

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Yaa…right. When exiting the Con, I was considerably lightweight with joy and of wallet.

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Resting out super villain personas for little refreshments.