Monday, June 22, 2009

Ford's Focus - June 15th 2009 to June 21st 2009

Written by: Ford Thomas


*Action Comics Annual #12

*Batman: Streets Of Gotham #1

*Supergirl #42

*Jack Of Fables #35

*Madman Atomic Comics #16

*Incognito #4

*Tales Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #59

*20th Century Boys Vol.2 TP

*Starman Omnibus Vol. 3 HC

*Lazarus Jack GN (library)

*Blessed Thistle GN (library)


*Oishinbo: Sake TP

*Zero Girl #1-5

*Zero Girl: Full Circle #1-5

*Fun With Milk And Cheese TP

*French Milk GN

*Popgun Vol.3 TP

*B.P.R.D. Vol. 3: Plague Of Frogs TP

*B.P.R.D. Vol. 4: The Dead TP

*B.P.R.D. Vol. 5: The Black Flame TP

*(finished) My Inner Bimbo TP

*Starman Omnibus Vol. 2 HC

*Everything ‘bought’ except for Starman Vol.3 and 20th Century Boys

Food and comics, two of my favourite things, they rarely cross over and food might not seem like it could do so successfully beyond a visual point or as prop in a scene or as tool to bring characters together. But both French Milk and more so in Oishinbo prove that it can take centre stage in a comic book.

Lucy Knisley’s French Milk is an illustrated travelogue of her trip to Paris with her mother their birthdays (22 and 50 respectively). Not directly about food but on almost every page there is either a mention of food, an illustration of food and more often than not, both. The candidness of the writing at first seemed like it could be off putting but within a page or two I’d found that its honesty was positively charming, which was a relief because I had been looking forward to reading it for a very long time.

When I saw the cover last year in Previews I was instantly attracted to it because of it’s blend of photo and ink drawing, one of few times I’d seen this done well, which was exciting and good to see because when I was ten I had wanted to make a superhero comic using these mediums. Then the book lived on my Amazon wish list for many months. When Free Comic Book Day came around, I picked up a few things which have been sitting in my to read pile but have kept saving for later because I didn’t want them to be over if they were as good as I was hoping they would be (I’ll get to Athena Voltaire very soon). Needless to say French Milk lived up to and even surpassed all expectations I had. From the beautiful line work to the constant barrage of exciting food to the dilemmas of being an early twenty something, it was a pleasure to read.

Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki’s Oishinbo follows Yamaoka Shiro and Kurita Yuko on their unenviable task of creating the Ultimate Menu for Tozai News. Each volume of the series focus on a different subject, the first tackled Japanese cuisine and this week I read the one focusing on sake. Next in my pile is ramen and gyoza, forthcoming are on subjects such as sushi and sashimi, vegetables, etc.

On the surface this may seem like a very dry subject for a series but it is far from that. Each ‘chapter’ is about twenty pages and usually focuses on certain aspects of the food or drink that is featured. There is a constant story running through each volume that is easy to get into and is mainly there add more to the journey. At the same time as being extremely informative and interesting it is also filled with great moments of light hearted humour. The characters are depicted in a ‘cartoony’ manner while panels depicting buildings or food are highly detailed in a photo realistic style.

This could be a good introduction to manga for those who think that it is all speed lines and two or three panels per page. Most pages have six-ten panels and are dialogue heavy but never in an over used fashion.

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