Welcome again to Comic Book Cache. In this section, we have another three readers tackle some comics and let us know about their interpretations! To see Round 1 for Comic Book Cache, check it out here. Check out Monique’s review of Maus, too! And, to see the master list which gives you the opportunity to join in on the fun, check it out here.
Name: Sophie Blamey Age: 19 Occupation: Student
Book: Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Prior to reading Watchmen, I had read a few graphic novels (Fun Home and Persepolis: loved both), but my experience was clearly very minimal. To be perfectly honest, I picked this book because my roommate owns it and, being a student, I’m broke. But beyond that, I knew it was a movie as well and I really enjoy watching movie adaptations of books to compare them.
This super-hero style of graphic novel was totally new to me and truthfully I was pretty skeptical. I’ve never thought myself the type to enjoy action and fighting and leggings, but I was wrong. Turns out, I love leggings. And fighting. When they’re combined. What took the novel from just a little book of gore and bright pictures was the psychological depth with which the characters were depicted. Reading Watchmen felt like diving into the minds of the “super-heroes” and finding out why they do what they do, which I must say, I was much more interested in than the gory scenes. I cried, laughed, cringed, and wondered my way through Watchmen in less than three days.
I did not think I could ever like graphic novels as much as I love written novels because I thought I would miss the imagery of the words. I didn’t think I would appreciate literal images in lieu of the words I had come to love. I predicted that the part of reading that requires your imagination would be eliminated. I was wrong on all counts. Firstly, the words are just as beautiful as any novel I had read and secondly, contrary to the pictures detracting from the use of imagination, they only enhanced it. I was very impressed with the way the book twisted between a few different plots and my favorite parts were the effortless juxtaposition of Shea’s graphic novel-within-a-graphic novel with the current events troubling the newspaper salesman.
In fact, as difficult as I thought it would be to get through such a long and detailed graphic novel, it wasn’t difficult at all. Though at first I was on the lookout for every tiny detail, and trying to commit everything to memory, I quickly realized that it wasn’t necessary to do so. Once I realized that reading it wasn’t going to be an exhausting tax, I settled into it and really enjoyed the experience. I can’t say that I responded more to the words or the artwork because the two worked together so well. I was surprised at how much the artwork actually contributed to the plot, far from being just a backdrop for the words each frame was a crucial piece of the story. The experience of reading Watchmen was a very enjoyable one and I can’t wait to pick up my next graphic novel… I’m thinking I’ll go for Lagoon next! (:
Selena Aston, Age 20, Student/Gallery Attendant
Book: The Lagoon by Lilli Carré
I found The Lagoon by Lilli Carré to be very pleasant. This was my first comic book reading experience and I enjoyed it. The artwork has a very simple and charming style, and I like the way she uses her lines to give things character. She has a unique way of drawing people that emphasizes their quirks, like the mother’s chaotic hair and the grandfather’s oddly shaped head. One thing that distracted me though was the black shadow that appears next to all the characters’ noses. It looks a bit out of place to me, especially in drawings where there is low contrast except for that nose shadow. I suppose its part of her style which is fine, it just kind of made me feel weird. I like the flowing look of the trees, smoke, fabric, and various background textures. There are also some really cute details, like the main character has a cat clock in her bedroom (it may have been a bear or a mouse clock, I couldn’t quite tell but it was cute). Overall, the art was good, and it was what made this book for me.
I was confused by the plot the first time I read this book and was equally confused the second time. This is what I gathered from it: an elderly man tells his daughter Zoey about a monster that sang a beautiful song in the lagoon. He sings the song to her, much to her annoyance. At night, she finds him in the lagoon looking for the monster. During the next day he picks all of the flowers from the family’s lawn. A few nights later, Zoey’s mother meets with the lagoon monster to smoke a cigarette and talk about her life while her husband is asleep. This interaction suggests that the family had some connection with the monster in the past. The rest of the plot consists of people drowning in the lagoon while listening to the monster’s song, cats singing, logs burning, and Zoey’s grandfather cutting her hair. After pondering how these events are related and what they might symbolize, I came to the conclusion that this story is beyond me. I decided to make my peace with this fact and just enjoy the nostalgic yet marshy nature of this book.
My name is Nikki Jermaczonak, I’m 21 and currently a Junior at the Art Institute of Portland majoring in Media Arts and Animation. I’ve been very interested in comic books and graphic novels since I was in middle school, though I didn’t really delve into the Western side of it until my last year of high school. Some of my favorites are Tank Girl, Empowered, Detroit Metal City, and Scott Pilgrim.
I’m a Scottaholic, so much that I have a part of my room devoted to my merch and it overwhelms people with how much I want to talk about it sometimes. But enough about me, I’m here to tell you about Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley. This is the first of a six volume series and does an amazing job pulling the reader in for the start of a wild ride. O’Malley’s art style is bold and refreshing, showing heavy influences from Japanese manga. Emotions and movement are easily conveyed through simplistic faces and bodies and sound effects, and their clothing is well researched and interesting to look at. The art is unique, memorable and only gets better in later volumes.
The writing is superb. O’Malley knows how to write a good story, never skipping a beat with some laugh out loud humor or a videogame reference (but not so much that it’s annoying). The story is straight forward and takes something as simple as dealing with someone’s Ex-Boyfriends to a whole new level. There are themes of romance, music, action, and drama and this is just the beginning! The flow is fantastic, never leaving a boring moment or getting overwhelming.
Out of everything though, the thing I enjoy most about the book is the characters. Everyone can find someone to relate to in here, whether it is the loveable loser Scott, cold and sarcastic Kim, awkward Young Neil, or the rest of the cast. It’s fantastic to watch how they develop throughout this book and the rest of the series and to find a bit of yourself tucked inside one of them.
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life is an entertaining and easy read and leaves you wanting more. I would recommend this book to both hard core and casual comic readers; it’s the first thing I give to all of my friends when they ask me for comic recommendations. This is also a fantastic series for anyone wanting to transition from reading manga to Western graphic novels. Delivering entertainment in a complete package, Scott Pilgrim belongs in everyone’s comic collection.