A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{November 11, 2012}   Comics and manga of the week (66)

7 Shakespeares, volume 3 (French) by Harold Sakuishi

  • Shakespeare begins to suspect Li’s oracular powers and bets on the results of his upcoming play. Li’s poetry might be just what he needs to finally beat the wine sellers. His future on the stage rests on his victory.

Coelacanth, volume 1 (French) by Kayoko Shimotsuki

  • This manga blew me away, it wasn’t at all what I expected. I picked it up for the gorgeous pastel cover, hoping for a quiet, lovely romance. What I got was a story of mystery, murder, loss, abuse thinly veiled by a High School romance. The tone is more contemplative than horrific but the quiet misery of its characters really hits home. I cannot wait for the second (final?) volume!

How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by The Oatmeal

  • A collection of The Oatmeal’s cat themed web comics, featuring the bobcats! A lot of good fun. And if you doubt that your cat is a murderer, check out his more recent comic (not included in the book) that explores How Much Cats Actually Kill.

Momo Lover, volume 1 (French) by Miko Mitsuki

  • Another adorable, well-executed baby-centered manga. In it Chieri discovers that her sister has left her infant daughter in her care without explanation. At the same time two gorgeous boys declare their love for her and are determined to help her raise the child. If that weren’t enough for the young orphan, strange men are trying to kidnap the baby. This story goes far beyond a simple gag but it’s worth it for baby Momo’s animal outfits alone.

Paul au Parc (French) by Michel Rabagliati

  • In this volume of Rabagliati’s semi-autobiographic comic, he explores Paul’s year in the scouts and his first romance. But behind this innocent childhood fun is the shadow of the FLQ and the October crisis. Beautiful, nostalgic and unexpectedly tragic.

Punch Up, volume 1 (French) by Shiuko Kano

  • Punch Up takes place in the same world as Kano’s previous series Playboy Blues. It is the love story between a playboy architect and a young construction worker with bad luck in relationships. The story is well told and the sex is hot. Kano has a crisp, mature style that really appeals to me. Plus adorable kitties!

Shenzen (French) by Guy Delisle

  • This comic recount Delisle’s 3 months directing a animation team in Shenzen in Southern China. The art is sketchier than in his award-winning Chroniques de Jerusalem but it is amazing to me how he can talk about such a boring, lonely period of his life and remain funny and engaging.

Switch Girl, volume 2 (French) by Natsumi Aida

  • Just as Nika decides to act on her feelings for Arata, they are targeted by a pair notorious for breaking up couples. I love that Nika stands up for herself and refuses to be bullied. Though this is a series about concealing your true self from the world, Nika really knows and is true to herself.

Thermae Romae, volume 3 (French) by Mari Yamazaki

  • The Roman senate tries to strike at Hadrian’s popularity through his architect Lucien. But their plots lead Lucien back to modern Japan where he discovers hot spring town and other innovative ways to enjoy baths. He is also finally able to share his knowledge with the Japanese. Yamazaki continues to impress me with the varied and fascinating ways in which she can talk about baths. You can feel her passion for her subject in every panel.

Virtus, volume 1 & 2 (French) by Gibbon and Hideo Shinanogawa

  • In ancient Rome the people demand bloody games in the Coliseum and emperor Commodus is more than happy to provide. But the oracle Marcia is convinced that Rome has moved away from its founding values. She brings a group of prisoners from modern day Japan to turn the system on its head. Among them is Takeru, a judo world champion and convicted murderer, who may be the “Virtus” she seeks. Judo, history, constant life or death peril and beautiful, realistic (if at times gruesome) art. I’m in love.

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