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Manga and Child Hating
After a month’s hiatus (due to unforeseen circumstances), the on-location episode is back! And for the March visit to Valhalla Games and Comics, the topic is completely open. On this recording Derek is joined my several of the shop regulars including Craig, Matt, and Tristan. Among the many topics they cover are the recent Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad miniseries; the latest (and one of the best) X-Men films, Logan; the news surrounding the production of Star Trek: Discovery; and lots of manga talk. In fact, from the amount of time everyone discussed Japanese comics, it looked like this might turn into the month’s manga episode. Along the way the guys discuss Stephen Hillenburg (the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants) and his recently announced fight with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, legally permissible uses of the word “mutant,” Derek’s shame at being so behind on Marvel’s Netflix and Fox series, and Tristan’s utter dislike of children.
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Gwen and Andy are back this month to discuss two new graphic novels for young readers. First up, they discuss Monster (Amistad/Harper Collins), a book for teens by Walter Dean Myers, adapted by Guy A. Sims and with art by Dawud Anyabwile. Based on the multi-award-winning young adult novel by Myers, the graphic novel version of Monster chronicles the tension-filled trial of Steve Harmon, a African American teen being tried as an accessory to the murder of a convenience store clerk. Gwen and Andy both agree that Anyabwile’s stunning black-and-white art delivers a powerfully effective treatment of this famous novel and in some ways enhances an already stunning look at how society looks at race and identity.
Next, the two people with PhDs look at a book for younger readers, Barry Deutsch’s Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish (Amulet/Abrams). If the title sounds familiar, that’s because How Mirka Caught a Fish is actually the third book in the Hereville series, following How Mirka Got Her Sword and How Mirka Met a Meteorite. But no worries! Gwen and Andy give you just enough info about the first two books to bring you up to speed without giving away any major spoilers. Mirka is an 11-year-old orthodox Jewish girl who has adventures fighting trolls, encountering meteors, and even time-traveling, and as much as Gwen and Andy like the first two volumes, they think this third may be the best of the bunch. And while Monster and the Hereville books may appear to be vastly different, Gwen and Andy find that they share some interesting similarities.
As an added bonus, Gwen and Andy also discuss four additional current titles that listeners will want to check out. (But you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out what those books are!)
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For July’s manga episode, Shea and Derek discuss two distinctly different titles. They begin by looking at Naoki Urasawa’s Monster series published through Viz Media. The fifth volume of the new Perfect Editions was just released last week, so the guys thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce listeners to this dramatic saga. Monster is the story of a brilliant young surgeon, Dr. Kenzō Tenma, who’s accused of murder and then goes on the lam to find the real killer: a boy that he had perviously saved from a traumatic head wound. Tenma’s search for the enigmatic and elusive figure, now growing into young adulthood, becomes the driving force of the narrative, with Urasawa introducing a variety of characters and unlikely scenarios along the way. The itinerant nature of this series reminded Derek of the old The Fugitive TV series starring David Janssen. And Shea, in fact, thought that the episodic feel of the title began to wear thin as the story progressed, with Urasawa introducing diverse characters in an almost formulaic manner so as to keep teasing out the drama. But this is a highly engaging series with clean, detailed line drawing and rarely flagging momentum. Next, the guys turn from seinen to josei with Moyoco Anno’s In Clothes Called Fat (Vertical). This is a one-volume story about eating disorders, body image, and the dark side of fashion consciousness on young women. Anno herself comes from a fashion background, and her insights on cultural psychology are the underlying bedrock of this narrative. In fact, both Shea and Derek are highly impressed by the ways in which Anno gets into her characters, adeptly revealing how they think and the complexities driving their actions. Body image isn’t the only focus of this story. Anno shows how social pressures, groupthink, and low self-esteem undergird many of our dysfunctional relationships. While Shea likes the book but isn’t completely satisfied with its ending — he feels the pacing shifts too dramatically in the conclusion — Derek is impressed with Anno’s style of narration, allowing characters multiple modes of expression that represent the psychological mechanisms at work. In all, this is an important and socially conscious work for male and female readers alike.
Mike is boycotting the Oscars for their inherent hispanic racism in not nominating Machete for best picture (and that being the only selection). So TJ and Kev bring you girl talk about sex and the city and the nanny, well TJ does but Kev tires his damnedest to inject some balls back in the show. Marvel shows how retarded they really are by having a book called the Fantastic Four that only has three members, for now. Monkey brings us into a great discussion on our fantasy crew aboard the Enterprise. Carpica is discusses and Rick Berman is denounced yet again. The little Ewok that is George Lucas is dismissed and comics are spoken of. We have Starman and Congorilla, We got some Shadow Hawk, hell we even have some manga with Urasawa’s Monster. Plus much more, Give it a listen i think you will enjoy!
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