I. Opus [1995/96] by Satoshi Kon – ★★★★
I am a huge admirer of Japanese director Satoshi Kon (1963-2010). In his animations Perfect Blue , Millennium Actress  and Paprika , he created worlds that fuse reality and fantasy, playing with such concepts as memory, identity and perception. Opus is his manga work that was released before his first animated debut, and it also mixes up reality and make-believe to a curious effect. In this story, Chikara Nagai is a manga artist who is creating a manga series titled Resonance. One of his characters is special agent Satoko who has telepathic powers and who is set to bring down the leader of a mysterious cult known only as the Masque, who, in turn, has a goal to “brainwash” the Earth’s population. Nagai draws the ending to his manga instalment, but then realises that one of his characters does not want to submit to his sad fate, as Nagai’s real-life and fantasy worlds collide. This is a tale of a creator who “lives and breathes” his work, and, in consequence, is becoming lost in his own creation (similar to A-ha’s music video Take on Me), but the focus is also the characters, who all start to experience an existential crisis.
Continue reading “Japanese Graphic Novels: Opus, The Strange Tale of Panorama Island, & The Solitary Gourmet” →
I do not read many graphic novels/comic books, but, once in awhile, I love reading thought-provoking or emotional graphic novels that introduce me to another culture, way of seeing the world, an interesting central character or to a mystery to consider and possibly solve. Below are ten comic books that I enjoyed reading in recent years (they are in no particular order).
I. Daytripper [2010/2011] by Gabriel Bá & Fábio Moon
The creators of this graphic novel are twin brothers from Brazil who were ambitious enough to make their graphic novel about life and what it means to live, hope, love and have no regrets in life. The opposite of this is to despair and not be brave enough to follow one’s dreams. The creators’ slightly transcendental journey centres on one obituary writer in Sao Paulo who learns his life lessons by experiencing his life in reverse or sometimes jumping through his life events. Emotional, with deep and important messages, Daytripper is a very memorable book that stays with you.
II. V for Vendetta [1982 – 1989] by Alan Moore & David Lloyd
I am not indifferent to the vision of Alan Moore, a British comic writer. His graphic novels are often very insightful and thought-provoking, grappling with interesting issues (such as personal revenge and redemption), and introducing intricate, often misunderstood and complex characters. They also provide for great film adaptations. V for Vendetta may now be better known as the 2005 film, but, in my opinion, the graphic novel has a subtler and more realistic vision, as well as more coherent picture in place, as it introduces a dystopian setting that can rival Orwell’s 1984 and – V, a mysterious character whose extreme methods at doing away with the unfair regime would push our sympathies for him and his cause to the very limit. Continue reading “My 10 Favourite Graphic Novels/Comic Books” →