Michael Chabon and some comics.
One of CHabon's lesser well known works is a little novel called Gentlemen of the Road. in the afterword written by Chabon, he jokingly says the working title of the book was "Jews with Swords". Jokingly indeed. Taking place around 950 AD in the Caucuses mountains, Gentlemen follows Zelikeman and Amram, two Jewish soldiers for hire. When there isn't a war on, the two friends make ends meet via a handful of quick con jobs. After making the aquantance of a dethroned prince, Zelikman and Amram have to decide if it's worth their skin to help the prince (who isn't exactly who he says he is either) avenge his family. Parts of this book are impossibly for me to take seriously, and others are smooth and beautifully rendered. I vastly appreciated the references to ancient Jewish practices, but I felt lost when Chabon was talking about obscure cultures that I know nothing about. I think in parts, Chabons similie filled writing style gets in the way of him getting his message across. I really enjoyed the beginning of the book, and i loved the end, but the middle left something to be desired. that said, i must read and experience all things Chabon!
In other Michael Chabon news, I picked up a few more issues of his Dark horse comic The Escapist. Very good, and very fun. Highly recommended. sure, they are obviously contrived and more a "fan project" than an actual series, but that doesn't bother me. I’m hoping I can convince the library to buy this for their graphic novel collection. If you enjoyed Chabon's The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, then you will appreciate The Escapist.
In fun Manga news:
Fullmetal Alchemist #18 is out, and I have a copy!! I’ve read it twice now, and things really are starting to come to a head. All the pieces are in the right place, if you know what I mean. Kimblee is politely holding Winry hostage, and offers Ed the philosophers stone in exchange for Ed becoming a human weapon. Kimblee is the perfect sociopath, no wonder the homunculi support him. Speaking of, how is Riza going to share her secret? Perhaps little Hayate may be of some help.
I just can't get enough manga. my house will be full of it, and i will still be aquiring more.
Revolutionary Girl Utena – the best way to describe this manga is pure zany. Tomboyish Utena is raised by an aunt who lets her get away with just about anything, including designing her own fuschia colored school uniform in a boys cut. Every year, Utena gets a rose scented letter from a mysterious man. Each letter is written on the back of a picture, and the final picture is of the wealthy prep school Ohtori Academy. Utena is accepted into the school, and immediately, accidentally picks a fight with a member of the school council. The fight turns into a duel, and as winner of the duel, Utena “wins” a young woman named Anthy, who is the “Rose Bride”. Anthy becomes Utena’s personal servant, and “belongs” to her. As melodramatic and somewhat sexist as this sounds, it really is a comedy, with Utena constantly questionting the sanity of everything going on around her. Determined to meet the mysterious sender of the letters and protect Anthy from abusive members of the student council, Utena stays at the academy. I’ve read two volumes, and I’m looking forward to reading more.
Blame . . I'm slowly purchasing this series as I can find it. It's out of print, and i'm pretty sure i'm the only one who enjoys it. Killy is working his way up through abandoned cities, where humans have been wiped out by the machines (think the matrix meets terminator, plus insane AIs?). I really enjoy this manga for the artwork and the cyborg designs, and pretty much the design of the whole thing. Sure, there isn't much said, but it's mostly just Killy and his gun, so who is he gonna talk to anyways? he's a pretty shy, quiet guy. Not a series most people will gravitate towards, but i like it.