Just a quick visit after lunch to pick up some more books for Comics February! As well as more books for the kids.
Wonderland – Tommy Kovac, illustrated by Sonny Liew
Among the numerous curiosities that have gone unexplained in the classic tale Alice in Wonderland, perhaps the most perplexing might be who, exactly, is the “Maryann” that the White Rabbit mistakes Alice for at the beginning of the story? Lewis Carroll first made us ponder this and, years later, Walt Disney again made viewers wonder who Maryann might be in his classic feature length film based on Carroll’s book.
Now, the amazingly talented folks at SLG Publishing, through a licensing deal with Disney, have finally answered this age-old question. In their beautifully executed comic book series, WONDERLAND, readers experience Alice’s fantastic world as they’ve never seen it before. Writer Tommy Kovac’s Wonderland is missing Alice herself, but it’s still populated by the other characters that make the world such a curiously exciting place. The Queen of Hearts is present, barking orders to lop off people’s heads, as is the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter and the rest of Wonderland’s beloved cast. And there are some new faces, too, including the book’s main protagonist, the mysterious Maryann herself. All are beautifully illustrated by Wonderland’s artist, Sonny Liew
Apollo’s Song – Osamu Tezuka
The gods with their poetic justice, can be unrelenting. Just ask the young cynic Shogo, who sinned against love. Electroshock therapy was only meant to bring him face to face with his own violent misdeeds, but instead landed him in the court of a stern goddess.
If the encounter was a hallucination, then it’s a hallucination that starts to encroach on reality in this unforgettable tale penned by manga-god Osamu Tezuka and inspired by Greek myths of divine unforgiving. Sharing with his longer work Phoenix the themes of recurrence and retribution as well as the spirit of high invention, Apollo’s Song explores the meaning of love and the consequences of its absence.
Shogo’s mother is a bar hostess, his father could be any one of a dozen of her regular patrons. Growing up, he learns nothing of genuine love and tenderness, and when he witnesses his mother in the nearest approximation of which she’s capable–lustful embrace–he receives a merciless beating soon afterwards. Shogo comes to hate the very notion of love. But goddesses, who are neither the Buddha nor Christ, do not excuse misfortunes of upbringing.
Apollo’s Song reaches Olympian heights of tragedy as the story proceeds from a boxcar bound for a Nazi concentration camp to a dystopian future where human beings are persecuted by an ascendant race of their own clones. Will Shogo ever attain redemption, or, like the human race itself, will he have to relearn the lessons of love forever? Is it better to have loved and lost if the heartbreak must recur eternally?
Love, propagation, nature, war, death–Tezuka holds his trademark cornucopia of concerns together with striking characterizations, an unfailing sense of pacing, and of course, stunning imagery.
Though marked by a salty pessimism, this unique masterpiece from Tezuka’s transitional period is also unabashedly romantic–and, at times, profoundly erotic. Combining a classic tale of thwarted love with cognitive ambiguities reminiscent of the work of Philip K. Dick, Apollo’s Song is guaranteed to plumb new depths of the human heart with each rereading.
Ode to Kirihito – Osamu Tezuka
It may or may not be contagious. There seems to be no cure for it. Yet, Monmow Disease, a life-threatening condition that transforms a person into a dog-like beast, is not the only villain in this shocking triumph of a medical thriller by manga-god Osamu Tezuka. Said to have been the personal favorite of the artist, who held a degree in medicine, and surprisingly attentive to Christian themes and imagery, Ode to Kirihitodemolishes naive notions about human nature and health and likely preconceptions about the comics master himself.
From pregnant vistas of the Japanese countryside to closed rooms full of sin and redemption, Tezuka astounds for more than eight hundred continuous pages, his art in turn easefully concise and flamboyantly experimental, his inquiry into our most repugnant instincts and prospects for overcoming them unflinchingly serious. Incorporating elements of the often lurid and adult-oriented “gekiga” style for the first time, Tezuka entered into his fruitful late period with this work.
A promising young doctor, Kirihito Osanai visits a remote Japanese mountain village to investigate the source of the latest medical mystery. While he ends up traveling the world to discover what it takes to be cured of such a disease, a conspiracy back home attempts to explain away his absence. Hinging upon his fate are those of his loved ones: an unstable childhood friend and colleague trapped between factions of the medical establishment that nurtured him; a fiancée emotionally transformed by Kirihito’s mysterious disappearance; and a stranger who becomes his guardian angel, a sensual circus-act performer with volatile psychological secrets.
From plutocratic Taipei and racially divided South Africa to backwater Arabia and modern Osaka, ambition and desire beckon “normal men” to behave uglier than any beast. Riveting our attention on deformity and its acceptance like The Elephant Man by David Lynch, Ode to Kirihitoexamines the true worth of human beings through and beyond appearances