The Walking Dead Compendium Three

WalkingDeadCompendium-3-covAfter watching the ninth season of the Walking Dead TV series, I wanted to go back to the comic book to compare the storytelling. I was not sure with which volume I stopped reading so I borrowed the latest big compendium at the library. The third compendium (published in October 2015) covers volumes 17-24 (issues #97-144). According to my borrowing history at the library, I should have read until vol. 25, but I don’t remember any of it so it is good that I read all that again to refresh my memory before going on with the next volumes. I still have seven volumes to catch up on (since the latest issue [in May] is #191 and the latest compilation is vol. 31 [#181-186, released last March — although vol. 32 (#187-192) is coming in August 2019]…

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This third compilation covers the Negan story arc (vol. 17-21) and the beginning of the whisperers story arc (vol. 22-24). Reading the comic after having seen the TV series provide quite a strange experience: some events happen on TV, but not in the comic and vice versa. Which is more troubling is that some events happen in both but not to the same characters and some characters are dead on the TV series but not in the comic (and vice versa). Really weird. It’s like having a peek into a parallel universe! Very confusing…

I don’t want to talk much about the story itself, to avoid spoilers, and anyway detailed synopses can be found on fan sites. The storytelling is excellent. It is fluid, easy to follow and has lots of twists, downturns and surprises. Of course, in such epic like the Walking Dead or Game of thrones, you cannot have any real “happily ever-after”. If not there wouldn’t be any story. And, when you are dealing with the end of the world as we know it, bad stuff keeps happening and you have to expect the worse case scenario. 

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I like Kirkman & Adlard black and white art. It is realistic and dark, detailed and fluid enough so you can clearly understand what’s happening and follow the action. It has improved considerably since the beginning. However, there is something I don’t like in the way they draw the characters’ faces (I am not sure what: is it a little static? Too much shadow?). And, of course, there is a lot of graphical violence, although less as the story progress (or is it that we notice it less?). Anyway, overall, it is a well-written and interesting story that makes for a great comic.

I have never been a big fan of zombies but what interested me into this story is its post cataclysmic aspect. It is a setting that not only has good story potential but also allows to push the human psyche to its limits and reveal our true nature. In the beginning it was a story of survival, but now it becomes more and more a story about rebuilding a society. I can’t wait to see what will happen in the next volume, what will be the differences with the TV series. From now on, I’ll go back to read the comic volume by volume, as the next big compendium (#4, covering vol. 25-32) will only be released in October 2019. 

You can also read my comment on the TV series and the first eleven volumes of the comic — which I wrote in January 2011 !

The Walking Dead Compendium Three, by Robert Kirkman (story) and Charlie Adlard (art) [with inking by Stefano Gaudiano, gray tones by Cliff Rathburn and lettering by Rus Wooton]. Berkeley: Image Comics (Skybound imprint), October 2015. 1088 pages, 25.9 x 16.9 cm, $US 59.99 / $C 79.50. ISBN 978-1-63215-456-9. For mature readers (18+). See the back cover. stars-3-5

For more information you can consult the following web sites:

[ AmazonBAnQGoodreadsGoogleWikipediaWorldCat ]

© 2015 Robert Kirkman, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Capsules

Mai, mois de la BD

Mai, c’est le mois le plus beau mais, au Québec, c’est aussi le mois de la BD. Celui-ci s’exprime au travers de deux événements distincts.

1754D’une part, les bibliothèques de Montréal organisent de nombreuses activités (conférences, rencontres, ateliers, etc.), expositions et concours autour du thème de la bande dessinée. La programmation de cette soixantaine d’activités est disponible en ligne. 

Cette année la BD se décline au féminin dans les bibliothèques. En effet, avec la participation de son personnel et de treize personnalités publiques féminines, les bibliothèques ont produit une brochure qui offre un peu plus d’une cinquantaine de suggestions de lecture BD (une infime partie des 400 000 BD de ses collections) créées par des femmes. La brochure est disponible dans les bibliothèques mais aussi en ligne.

Malheureusement, on y retrouve que deux manga: Nana par Ai Yazawa chez Declourt/Akata et Isabella Bird, femme exploratrice par Taiga Sassa chez Ki-oon — que j’ai lu et recommande moi-même très chaudement. C’est avec honte que j’avoue n’avoir lu qu’un seul autre des titres recommandés: Persepolis de Marjane SATRAPI (que j’ai également très apprécié). Un autre titre se trouve cependant sur ma liste de lecture: Cet été-là par Mariko et Jillian TAMAKI chez Rue de Sèvres.

FBDM-bandeau-710x399L’autre événement de ce mois de la BD, c’est le FBDM. La 8e édition du Festival BD de Montréal sera orientée sur l’international. Avec des volets francophone et anglophone, le festival se veut un carrefour entre l’Europe et l’Amérique, en y faisant la promotion des talents tant québécois que canadiens. L’événement, qui est tout public, bilingue, et gratuit, se tiendra du vendredi 24 au dimanche 26 mai 2019, à L’Espace La Fontaine (Parc Lafontaine).

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The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker

CompleteCartoonsNewYorker-covI acquired this phenomenally huge book in a sale earlier this fall and I paid only fifteen dollars for it. I have always liked the single-panel cartoons (often referred to as “gag cartoon”, in the likes of what you find in the series “For Dummies”, or in Herman or Bizarro, and, of course, in newspapers’ editorial cartoons) and the most iconic of those could be found in the magazine The New Yorker. So I was quite pleased with this acquisition. However, it is the type of nightstand book that you savour slowly and it took me a couple of months to go through its 655 pages and over 2,000 cartoons (about two weeks of actual reading). Unfortunately the used copy I purchased did not include the two CDs with all 68,647 cartoons ever published in the magazine (if so it would have taken me much more time to read!).

A New Yorker cartoon is usually made of one drawing (but sometimes of the sequence of two or three), plus a funny caption. Most of the time all the humour is in the caption… Here are some examples:

 

The cartoons are organized into the eight decades during which the magazine was published (from its founding in 1925 until the publication of the book in 2004) and each period is introduced by an essay by one of the magazine’s most distinguished writers: 1925-34 (introduction by Roger Angell), 1935-44 (Nancy Franklin), 1945-54 (Lillian Ross), 1955-64 (John Updike), 1965-74 (Calvin Trillin), 1975-84 (Ian Frazier), 1985-94 (Mark Singer) and 1995-2004 (Rebecca Mead). The book starts with an Editor’s Note by Robert Mankoff and a Forword by David Remnick, and concludes with an index of Artists.

In addition, for each era, you find a brief overview of a predominant theme (the depression, drinking, nudity, television, cars, the space program, slipper dogs, business culture, the internet and politics) as well as a brief profile (including a mini-portfolio) for a key cartoonist (Peter Arno, George Price, James Thurber, Charles Adams, William Steig, Saul Steinberg, George Booth, Jack Ziegler [about whom I’ve already talked], Roz Chast, and Bruce Eric Kaplan).

In a way, this book chronicles the history of the magazine, but also the history of the American society. Therefore, it is much more than just a funny reading as it provides great insights and understanding of the socio-politics of each era.

For me, the cartoons were funny most of the time (not LOL, but a chuckle or quiet giggle), but I also often didn’t get it (particularly the older ones — I guess culture change with time or the context was lost to us as sometimes you needed to be there to understand). However, I enjoyed reading this book immensely. If you have a chance, it is worth the time and therefore highly recommended. stars-3-5

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ AmazonBiblio MtlGoodreadsGoogleWikipediaWorldCat ]

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Capsules

Pictorial chronicle

Today’s bounty

Today I took a day off at the library to go… visit another library! This afternoon, my wife and I went to the Atwater Library and Computer Center. Founded in 1828 as the Montreal Mechanics’ Institution (the first in continental British North America) to “educate workers for the emerging industries”, it is now registered as charity and acts as a community library, digital learning centre and meeting place. It is a private library but it is opened to everyone (for an annual membership fee of $35 — and, as they say, “[u]nlike municipal libraries, we don’t ask people to show ID documents or proof of their address”). Like all anglophone cultural institutions it relies mostly on donations and volunteer service. It receives over 100,000 visitors annually as it offers “courses and workshops to help young and old master technology in the digital age, (…) literary and educational events, financial literacy sessions, exhibitions on literature and history, (…) and much more.” The library is housed in a heritage building (built between 1818 and 1820) located in Westmount (1200 Atwater Ave., corner of Tupper St.). It is a beautiful place. The floor of the mezzanine is made of glass panels. It has a respectable collections of books and audio-visual documents (nearly 40,000 titles).

Our main reason to visit the library was its Annual Fall Books sale. The donations of documents that doesn’t make it to the library’s collection are sold to help raise funds. There’s a wide selection of new and used books, CDs, DVDs available at very reasonable prices (between $0.50 for paperbacks and $1 for hard covers, to a range of $5 to $20 for larger art books). There was a lot of interesting books, but I had to limit myself because most of them were rather voluminous. I found quite a bounty.

Today's Bounty

It purchased only two books but they were quite a find. First, I got The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker ($15, a huge book of 11.25 x 13.25 inches, 2 inches thick and weighting about six pounds!) which presents a collection of the editorial and comical illustrations published in the famous magazine since its founding in 1925 up to 2004 (date of publication of the book). I really love those cartoons and can’t wait to read that (although it’s quite heavy to manipulate)! [ Amazon / Biblio / Goodreads / WorldCat ]

Since I am currently writing about Books of Hours, it is quite serendipitous that the second book I purchased was The Belles Heures of Jean, Duke of Berry ($5). It offers colour reproductions (with commentary) of every folio of the beautiful devotional illuminated manuscript (now hosted in The Cloisters Collection of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art). It was commissioned around 1409 by Jean, duc de Berry to the Limbourg brothers just a few years before they also illustrated the more famous Très Riches Heures for the same patron. It is a very beautiful and amazing book. It will probably take me a while before going through it.  [ Amazon / Biblio / Goodreads / Wikipedia / WorldCat ]

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March, Book 1: Civil Rights history in comics

“Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper’s farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president.” (…)

March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.”

(Text from the publisher’s website; see also the back cover)

Congressman John Lewis wanted to be a preacher. He grew up on his parents’ farm in rural Alabama taking care of the family chickens (to whom he was practising preaching!). The story starts in his congressional office as he is preparing to go assist at Obama’s inauguration. A black lady comes into the office with her children to show them up a place where history was made. Instead they meet with the Congressman himself who takes this opportunity to tell them a little about himself and the history of the civil rights movement. With the help of his uncle Otis and Martin Luther King, Jr., to whom he wrote a letter, he succeed to go to college in Nashville. There, he contributed to the Student Movement and, inspired by Gandhi’s nonviolent protest, took many actions to fight against segregation.

The storytelling is excellent and the art is pretty good. It is a superb idea to bring back to life Congressman Lewis‘ memories, such as his actions of civil disobedience, for a new generation to understand what the civil rights movement was all about. It is very educational and it is probably even more relevant today than when it was first published (considering the “Black Lives Matter” movement and the fact that I discovered this book through a CNN report about President Trump insulting Congressman Lewis, saying he was “all talk and no action” !).

All in all, it’s a nice way to teach the history of an important moment of our Western Civilization, but also an excellent occasion to talk about good moral values. The life of great role models like Congressman Lewis need to be recorded for the posterity, but not only in history books or museums but also as part of our popular culture. It’s a good reading for the Black History Month and I cannot recommend it more strongly.

March: Book One, by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. Marietta GA: Top Shelf Productions, August 2013. 128 pg., Softcover, 6.5″ x 9.5″, 14.95 US / $19.99 Can. ISBN: 978-1-60309-300-2. stars-3-5

For more information you can check the following websites:

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Weekly notable news [week 31]

Here are a few notable news & links that I came across this week:
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Funnies

Non Sequitur: Monday, March 21, 2016 (The two-party detour)

Dilbert: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 (The Elbonian Religion)

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Funnies forever

Here (after the break) are a few notably funny comic strips that I found in the last few months…

Starting with Unshelved, the web comics about the staff (and patrons) of a rather dysfunctional library. I caught up on several months of strips to realize that artist Bill Barnes decided to take a break and was replaced by occasional contributor Chris Hallbeck. It doesn’t change anything. Here are a few of my favourites (believe it or not I’ve experienced many of those situations):


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday, March 28, 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

And now a few more of various kind (I’m slowly catching up on my pile of funnies):

Between Friends: September 1, 2015 (I feels like that often)

Dilbert: Wednesday October 07, 2015: Computers Program Humans (It’s so dickian !)

Dilbert: Thursday October 15, 2015: Visualize Your Contribution To Society (Ah! Work !)

Rhymes with orange: Monday November 02, 2015 (the litany against idiocy)

Dog Eat Doug: Sunday January 03, 2016 (magical libraries)

Dilbert: Monday January 11, 2016: How Work Is Going (no comment…)

Bizarro: Saturday January 16, 2016 (historical truth)

Dilbert: Monday January 25, 2016: Doubling Percieved Lifespan (…)

Bizarro: Thursday February 11, 2016 (reminds me of “Vacances de Jésus & Bouddha” manga)

Stone Soup: Sunday February 14, 2016: (Thanks to my wife!)