Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What I read this week... Oct 11

So another week and even better books this time around. This week was filled with hacking and slashing, lots of punching, and some historical facts for a chaser.

I spent the majority of the week reading Shaman Warrior Vols 2 through 7 of 9, written/drawn by Park Joong-Ki, published by Dark Horse

Although stylistically similar to manga, Shaman Warrior is actually Korean Manwha. The series begins as a mystical shaman warrior is assassinated by his general. Batu, the shaman warrior’s servant takes his masters infant daughter to raise as his own. Years pass and all the shaman warriors are now hunted by the army they once served. Batu is drawn back into battle and must try to save his masters daughter while appeasing his own desire for vengeance.

Joong-Ki has written one hell of a good story. It is complex with lots of characters interwoven into a complex scheme. Joong-Ki takes the time to develop the back story for everyone and there are very few throw away characters. Probably the most interesting part of the story is how tragic almost every character is. All of the heroes manage to be heroes despite some really bad things happening to them along the way. Add just the right hint of foreshadowing and there is a sense of impending doom for all the heroes in the book.

Unlike some manga volumes where entire books are nothing more than one battle, Shaman battle moves at light speed. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of people chopping each other into little bits, but there is just as much characterization in each book. It’s an incredible balance that keeps any single book from getting dull. To be fair, the first volume is one long fight scene that sets up the story for the rest of the series. It can be skipped without much trouble.

In between everything else, I read bits and pieces of Comics Interview the Complete Collection Volume 1 By David Anthony Kraft. This monster tome is 680 pages and collects the first 10 plus issues of the classic comics magazine. I cannot even begin to say how exciting this has been! It has interviews with everyone, and anyone, associated with comics. There are interviews with letterers, colorists, bull pen over seers, editors, writers, and artists.

Believe it or not one of the best interviews so far has been with Jim Novak who worked as a letterer for Marvel from the mid-70’s until the 90’s sometime. The interview was conducted in the early 80’s and was very insightful. Novak talks not only about the craft of lettering but also the impact it can have on comics. Lettering is definitely one of the most overlooked aspects of comics and this really put it in perspective for me. The fact that Novak was responsible for the logo to the movie Creepshow just made it all the more exciting. Finally, he claimed credit for the final development of the Stars Wars logo. Suzy Rice is credited for creating the Star Wars logo, yet in the interview, Novak states that he “Marvelized” the logo and that’s what was finally used.

Overall, another great week.  I'll finish Shaman Warrior next week and probably read Comics Interview over the next couple of months so there's lots to look forward too also.

No comments:

Post a Comment