A writer celebrating books, comics, music, movies and art of all kinds.
Manga Monday: Bakuman
Bakuman (Volume 1) Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata
Bakuman is the latest book from the creators behind the super-popular manga Death Note. The story follows Moritaka Mashiro, a middle school student who's getting ready for his high school entrance exams, when a fellow classmate gets hold of his notebook and discovers what a great artist he is from some sketches he's done. The classmate, Akito Takagi, happens to want to be a manga writer and has been searching for the perfect collaborator to break into the industry, and he's chosen Moritaka, and eventually convinces him to go all-out for this dream of becoming professional manga creators. Bakuman is very much about exploring the manga industry, readers learning alongside the characters as they teach each other what storyboards are, how to pitch to editors, what sorts of pens to draw with, and just talk about influential or favorite manga, throwing in a few Death Note references for good measure. Even the design of the book has that sort of "creating manga" vibe, with each chapter ending with a storyboard page from the chapter, the cover lined with a ruler, and even the logo, beginning with the letter "B" all sketchy with grids and getting more finished as it progresses. There's a good amount of romance in the title, and there's some interesting stuff going on in Moritaka's life, especially through his family, as his uncle worked himself to death working in the manga industry. Obata's pencils are fantastic, as readers of his past works are aware, and while there are quite a few quiet scenes of reflection, the frenzied pace that keeps readers turning the pages in anticipation of the next panel, like in Death Note, is present in this less action-y book, although I do feel like this title has more in common with Obata's Hikaru No Go that his previous collaboration with Ohba, perhaps merely because of the young protagonists trying to break in and maneuver through a professional environment, making a splash and causing those around them to admire their abilities. Plus Moritaka is humble, and all wide-eyed and innocent much like Hikaru. Overall, I think Bakuman is one of the strongest manga debuts of the year. The characters are fun, the art top-notch and exciting, and the wealth of information is really quite interesting. This is definitely a journey I want to experience alongside these characters.
50 - Angel & Faith: Seasons Eight & Nine Christos Gage & Rebekah Isaacs Overshadowing the main book in Dark Horse's continuing story of the Buffy, the Vampire Slayer universe, following the conclusion of the television series, is this really thoughtful, character-focused title from Rebekah Isaacs and Christos Gage. This book has a lot of heart and while Angel and Faith both confront their troubled pasts, this book isn't bogged down by it like its counterpart. They cross paths with familiar faces, but also introduce us to fresh new characters, like Giles' family, complete with interesting dynamics and focused storylines. Gage and Isaacs strike the perfect balance of keeping true to the source material and making it their own. Gage captures the voice of the characters so clearly I can hear the actors recite the dialogue he provides for them in my head as I'm reading, while bringing them to new, interesting places in terms of plot and ch
1 - The Descent (2006) A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators. Directed by Neil Marshall Written by Neil Marshall Starring Shauna Macdonald and Natalie Mendoza Genre: Survival, Creatures Trailer 2 - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) Two siblings and three of their friends en route to visit their grandfather's grave in Texas end up falling victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths. Directed by Tobe Hooper Written by Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper Starring Marilyn Burns and Allen Danziger Genre: Slasher, Cannibalism Trailer 3 - The Exorcist (1973) When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter. Directed by William Friedkin Written by William Peter Blatty (from the novel by William Peter Blatty) Starring Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller and Lin
My predictions for this year's Academy Award nominations... Best Picture 1917 The Farewell The Irishman Joker Knives Out Little Women Marriage Story Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Parasite* Best Actress Awkwafina - The Farewell Charlize Theron - Bombshell Cynthia Erivo - Harriet Renee Zellweger - Judy* Scarlett Johannson - Marriage Story Best Actor Adam Driver - Marriage Story* Antonio Banderas - Pain and Glory Eddie Murphy - Dolemite is My Name Joaquin Phoenix - Joker Leonardo DiCaprio - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Best Supporting Actress Florence Pugh - Little Women Jennifer Lopez - Hustlers Laura Dern - Marriage Story Margot Robbie - Bombshell* Zhao Shuzhen - The Farewell Best Supporting Actor Al Pacino - The Irishman Brad Pitt - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood* Joe Pesci - The Irishman Tom Hanks - A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Song Kang Ho - Parasite Best Director Bong Joon-ho - Parasite