Tuesday, September 22, 2009

30 31 32 are set in my country

30, 31 & 32. Resident Tourist Part 1 to 3, Troy Chin (own, graphic novels, reread)

There was going to be a long essay on this but I couldn't be arsed to do it. Regardless of my laziness, Resident Tourist is an absolutely lovely graphic novel about a man who returns home to do comics. The comic follows Troy as he realises that the home he came back for has evidently changed. He has became a tourist in his own country.

The Resident Tourist
Resident Tourist is an autobiography. Troy Chin draws the events in his daily life into the graphic novel. Practices such as 'seat choping' are depicted in humorous - totally true - way. Most important is the underlying message of fulfilling your dream. I do believe that Troy is one of the luckier people who, in this country obsessed with success, is doing precisely that. Perhaps that is why I identified so much with Resident Tourist.

If you are looking for beautiful art style, you will be disappointed. The art style is simple and clean and works well for this comic.

Okay. I can't write more. You can read it online at Troy's website.

Resident Tourist can also be bought at Kinokuniya, Ani-Play and G&B comics.

30 / 100 books. 30% done!

Monday, September 14, 2009

29 sees so many butterflies

29. i see so many butterflies, chin yew (own, alternative/indie comic)

As with Jack Doe, the black and white cover, which looks as though a child has its happy way with a black crayon, pulled me in from a distance; I was walking to another booth at STGCC when I chanced upon it. A closer look reveals that it is not mere scribbles but butterflies drawn haphazardly all over.

i see so many butterflies is not the typical action hero/ninja/deathgods/superhero shit that you normally see. The plot centres on a writer, Eron, who has a writer's block. Eron sees butterflies everywhere. He also has strange dreams of an insect-like creature wearing a sweater with the number 4, requesting him to write down what he sees. Meanwhile, he struggles to pen anything down and struggles to extract the most value of his remaining money. Things becomes worse as the day goes on, eventually reaching to a point where he snaps and gives in.

I did not like the comic on my first reading. However, in the subsequent readings, it has endeared me to liken it better; although the little bits of sequel may have played a part in it. To me, the insect-like creature is the uglier side of Eron, representing death - 4 is known for its connotation to death in the Chinese culture - while the butterfly represents life and destiny. If he follows the butterflies, he can change to something else. Not himself now, but not the ugly creature obsessed with the death (can't write more or I will spoil the plot) either. If he follows what the creature says, he can break through his writer's block and possibly make it big. However, he will also give up his ideals. Do I sense some criticism on mainstream shows?

The art style changes throughout the book. I particularly like the parts where he uses the brush like style (what do you call that?) to emphasise on Eron's tension. i see so many butterflies reminds me of a storyboard - I suck at those - probably because Chin Yew does films. The story is shown in pictures with limited speech and allows the parts with conversations to be more poignant.

i see so many butterflies is not all positive. At S$25, it is expensive, especially when the paper quality is not quite fantastic. That, is not the worst. I left it on my sofa (please don't keep it near anything that is leather) for a night and discovered that the black butterflies have transferred some parts of themselves over. The lovely cover is not so lovely after all. It is going to be a pain in the arse to get rid of the black marks on my red sofa.

I am uncertain where i see so many butterflies can be purchased. Please contact the creator if you wish to buy.

May update this post with more photos on another day. Never happening.

29 / 100 books. 29% done!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Graphic Novel? Comic? Here's 28!

28. Jack Doe: Anonymous, Shawn Yap et al (own, graphic novels)

Jack Doe: Anonymous is the collaborative work of Shawn Yap (main writer & artist), Gabriel Chua and Xander Lee. It was part of the monthly - and expensive - local comic magazine Mugen and had finished its run some months ago. Normally I wouldn't buy English graphic novels/comics but I wanted to support my country's struggling artists. When I saw Chuangyi's booth at STGCC '09 last month, based on the very superficial factor of the cover (I blame Hotel Dusk), I purchased Jack Doe: Anonymous over Hu Jingxuan's Lament.


The comic is about a detective who has no identity. He comes from a family of detectives who gives up their names and takes up Jack Doe's to solve crimes. The current Jack Doe is also the last in his family. Everyone else has been murdered. When a good friend dies, he is dragged into a conspiracy and he will need to act fast before he is the next to die.

Sound interesting? Good for you. I thought so until I hit the plot twist. I bought it because I was attracted to the film noir feel of the cover, and expected a detective mystery. Instead, what I read is something else involving supervillains - thankfully no superhero, unless you count Jack Doe - and the strange plot twist.

Shawn Yap
The plot twist works but it's such a waste! It could be much better. I wished it is a genuine mystery rather than the surprise that spring out near the end. The background which the comic is set in is boring. Supervillains creating monsters and yadada with more villains plotting to take over the city. I am more interested in The Pattern and how it works. The use of the cards seemed to be limited to some circumstances. A murder, perhaps?

Since the team is limited to 6 chapters, it must be hard to develop the characters. Most of the characters, including the villian-who-wants-to-take-over, are rather flat and dull. Is there any other motive for Judas Black? Most of the characters just flash and disappear. Maybe the comic might be better if there is another volume to flesh out the characters more. For instance, the females in this comic are so decorative. Cassie, the love interest of Jack, is (sort of) fine. However, I can't even get much of a feel for Rene who looks like a clone of Cassie.

I am also irked that the murder of Jack's family is never explained. Who is the mole? Or is Shawn Yap planning to explore this further in a second volume? There are also parts where I feel that the story gets a bit confusing, especially in the ending.

There's potential in this comic (the concept and art style!) but it could have been so much better. It's definitely a good piece of work and I expect good things from Shawn Yap in the future.

Jack Doe: Anonymous is sold at most major bookstores at $8.50. Please support our local talents!

28 / 100 books. 28% done!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Prepare for Bad Haiku

I wrote some vague sentences that might be haiku on twitter.

Pain struck through the leg,
nothing left but to watch them,
running pass ahead.

Soft buzz of the wings,
a bee flew past a flower,
attacking a man.

Rows after rows of
humans stood in attention,
awaiting their deaths.

Chaos wreck the mind,
But composing this haiku,
A sense of peace comes.

1. marathon running. cramp hurts.
2.thought of this when I was in the loo. strange how I get ideas when I'm in there.
3.inspired by this picture.
4.the word chaos accurately sums up my mind.