It's been a long time since I've felt I could walk into a bookstore and just buy everything I wanted. Ah, I miss the days when I had no bills and no debts. However, Borders was having a buy four, get the fifth free graphic novel deal. Probably better deals elsewhere (I'm sure Gene will point me the way), but if you figure I saved twenty bucks and got five books, not too shabby, eh?
So, here is what I got (and no, not much manga, oddly enough -- too cheap per volume to make it a truly sweet deal. And they were out of the Tezuka titles that I wanted).
I got Moore and O'Neill's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier which just came out. I did read it last night, obsessively. Even all the fine print (perhaps, don't read if you don't want to be spoiled). What I liked: I always dig Moore's multi-media format. I like the text stories and the parodies of the ephemera of a past that may have never existed (especially funny was the short porn piece about sex in a 1984 scenario). I even liked the 3-D effect which could have come off as gimmicky (as is 3-D's claim to fame but the "third eye" on the viewing glasses was cheeky).
What I didn't like: I know that some of my gentle readers will really like this volume so at the risk of being contrary, gosh darnit, tell a story. It became too much like a game of "do I recognize this literary or famous personage" which is fun, I'll admit. At least my million dollar education can do something for me. But, it gets tiresome when that seems to take the place of narrative. It's an endless borrowing of other people's narratives. Just a bit too meta for even a meta-lover like myself (whoops, almost wrote meat-lover -- keep it clean kids). Elements come together in this volume that I have detected in other Moore's works. What I liked in From Hell were the grand visions which seemed to be the conspiratorial, yet maybe true, ravings of a madman. I like that dance of maybe, maybe not. Or the phenomenal apocalypse at the end of Promethea which was definitely in service to a story (or stories -- maybe even THE story). Also the references to big brother and politics, as in V for Vendetta and even Watchmen are really cool, but such an afterthought in this current volume. All in all, I'm disappointed.
Okay, what else have I bought but not really read yet. One I know that Gene has the Saturday works of "Dream of the Rarebit Fiend" by Winsor McKay. I figured I needed that on my bookshelf. Maybe I'll even hurt some students' brains with it later this semester.
I bought Ware's Best American Comics 2007 because I'm tired of teaching Maus and wanted to see if this is something I can use. (why, oh why can't Persepolis be better than it is? Don't get me started although I will probably see the movie).
Also, Adrian Tomine's Shortcomings. I never really got into Optic Nerve but after flipping through this book, seemed mildly interesting. I suppose I'm tired of the quiet, pseudo-autobiographies that dominated a lot of comics work for a while, with the exception of Fun Home. (In general, this has been my attitude: "quit your bitchin' and drink your coffee").
And finally, for the comics 5 for 4 price, I bought Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan which is set in Israel. Also, a possibility for teaching and something different.
I re-applied for that summer teaching course about pop culture, but I'm hoping I'll be considered for the graphic novel course. It's good to dig into what's out there for now.
I also bought two volumes of poetry (another New Year's resolution is to buy more poetry). One is of Iraq war veteran Brian Turner, who visited my campus last year. Really good, moving, crying stuff. I gave that to my neighbor in thanks for being a surrogate parent to my animals ("here is my gift to you, something that will make you cry") The second was Mary Oliver's latest volume. If you haven't read any of her work, you are missing out, buddy.
Last, but not least, in service to my manga article, I purchased the magazines, Shonen Jump, and Shojo Beat. Jump was good and am considering to subscribe. Beat, less interesting (did you know that my astrological fruit is the grape? Don't you feel better that you know that?).
Well, it felt good to drop a chunk of change at the bookstore. All this working must be good for something at least. I'm beat.