Sunday, February 26, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: SNOWPIERCER, VOL. 2: THE EXPLORERS by Benjamin Legrand & Jean-Marc Rochette

Set in the same universe as the original story, SNOWPIERCER, VOL. 2: THE EXPLORERS is set several years into the future as the original SNOWPIERCER. Much of the plot of SNOWPIERCER, VOL. 2: THE EXPLORERS takes place upon this new train, The Snowpiercer 2, aka Icebreaker. This train is larger than the first, runs even faster, and is even capable of stopping for short periods of time. Snowpiercer 2 runs along the same track as the original train did and the people on board are fearful that the two trains will eventually collide. It is during the brief stops the train makes that a particular group of individuals, called Explorers, set out to survey the landscape and see if they can find any signs of the original train, signs of a thaw, etc. The protagonist of SNOWPIERCER 2 is an Explorer named Puig. Puig is kind of a rebel and gets in trouble. As a result he ends up being selected for a suicide mission, he ends up surviving the mission. He becomes a hero, and as a result, and life aboard Snowpiercer 2 completely changes for everyone. SNOWPIERCER 2 ties into the original story, but it’s a much different story. Instead of a social commentary on the haves and have-nots of the world, SNOWPIERCER 2 is more a commentary on how governments can control large populations of people and make them believe things that aren’t really true. It’s still a social commentary, but just a different type of one. If you read the original SNOWPIERCER, then you will want to check out Vol. 2.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

What Is Truth?

It's weird how much my life has changed in the past several years. In some ways it hasn't changed at all. I've been working at the same job now for over 5 years consecutively and living in the same place for 3 1/2 years. However, those things are kind of new in and of themselves: for my entire adult life until a few years ago, I had been working at different jobs, moving to different places, and never staying anywhere for very long. The world has definitely battered me over the past decade. Truths that used to be universal, I now know are not universal for everyone. I no longer have certain desires that for most my life I had always wanted (for instance, I used to want to have children, but that is no longer the case). The world might be black and white, but it's made of a bunch of black and white dots that when looked upon with human eyes often looks grey.

Despite this, there are some things that are just as steadfast and true as they have ever been. The hero dies in the end and the sidekick never gets his due, but good is stronger than evil. Laughter is often looked upon as a mark of madness, but it's really a powerful tool and weapon. Pride really is the root of all evil. Hope really is one of the best of things. No matter how crazy the world gets, no matter how much you change, no matter how much this ole world batters you about, hold on to the things that really are true. Truth is eternal and things that are truly True will always remain so.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Book Review: I'M ONLY IN THIS FOR ME by Stephan Pastis

I’m a huge “Pearls Before Swine” fan and I was very happy to read a copy of I’M ONLY IN THIS FOR ME. I’M ONLY IN THIS FOR ME is a collection of “Pearls” strips that originally ran in newspapers from March 3, 2014 to December 6, 2014. The book has an introduction from Pastis about the time he ran for political office. This brief introduction is really the only thing in the book that is even slightly connected to the front cover which features a strongly political theme of Rat running for President. I enjoy the book even more because of the cover: it’s a complete misnomer designed to sell more books during the highly political year of 2016. The book is filled with strips that feature the usual “Pearls” humor: witty one-liners, extensive verbal gags, and bad puns. There aren’t as many long running storylines as in some of the other “Pearls” collections. However, the book does feature a running storyline about Stephan Pastis being kicked out of his house by his wife Staci. There’s also a storyline where one of the Crocs goes on “Wheel of Fortune” with Andy Capp and a guy from the comic “B.C.” Lemmings are also featured in several strips. There’s an absurd storyline that deals with Jim Davis and Garfield. However, out of all the “Pearls” collections out there, I’M ONLY IN THIS FOR ME is one that you have to own because it features the three strips that were guest drawn by Bill Watterson! Bill Watterson came out of his comic self-exile to draw those three strips so they could be auctioned off for charity. That makes I’M ONLY IN THIS FOR ME a must-have book for most comic-strip fans.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: SNOWPIERCER, VOL. 1: THE ESCAPE

I first became acquainted with SNOWPIERCER, VOL. 1: THE ESCAPE after having watched the movie starring Chris Evans. I enjoyed that movie and after learning it was based on a graphic novel, I wanted to find and read the original story. The story is set in at an undetermined date in the future. The Earth has been turned into a frozen wasteland (by human hands and not nature) and a remnant of humanity survives by living on a giant train of over a 1,000 cars that travels around the globe non-stop. The rear cars contain the most poor and impoverished people while the most wealthy and affluent are near the front of the train. After an attempted coup years before, the rear of the train has been quarantined from the rest of the train and there are rumors that the train officials are considering dumping those cars as soon as they can. Proloff, a refugee from the rear, escapes and is wanted to be seen by the top officials. Some want to use him to advance their political careers while others just want to see him out of curiosity. However, as Proloff is escorted through the train, it becomes clear that things aren’t exactly as they seem and his only chance for survival is to make it all the way to the engine.

SNOWPIERCER is a graphic novel that was first published over thirty years ago in France. It’s amazing how relevant many of the issues the book raises still are. In some ways the story is even more relevant today as society wrestles with climate change and our impact upon the environment. There are moments that the story drags, but not so much that it distracts from the overall story. Personally, I really enjoyed reading SNOWPIERCER, VOL. 1 THE ESCAPE and I look forward to reading the other three volumes in the trilogy.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Fun and Entertaining

Laser Moose is a moose that can shoot lasers out of his eyes. His best friend is an overly optimistic rabbit called Rabbit Boy and LASER MOOSE AND RABBIT BOY is a book that chronicles four different adventures of theirs.

“Invaders” – When the Forest is visited by an UFO, Laser Moose is sure that the aliens have come to destroy the whole forest. However, Rabbit Boy isn’t so sure and wants to give them the benefit of the doubt. What I like most about this story is that even though Laser Moose is overly vigilant, the end of the story reveals that his worst fears are actually true.

“Day of the Aquabear” – a bear eating a fish falls into a pit of toxic waste and mutates. Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy do everything they can to get the aquabear to follow them back to toxic waste plant.

“Terror of the Mechasquirrel” – Laser Moose’s arch nemesis creates a super smart and super strong mechanical squirrel that he programs to kill Laser Moose and destroy the forest.

“More to Explore” – Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy explore how lasers work.

Overall, I really enjoyed LASER MOOSE AND RABBIT BOY. It was a very fun and entertaining book.

Comics for Smart People

MAN, I HATE CURSIVE is a book of comics by Jim Benton. I enjoyed most of the comics in the book and some made me laugh at loud. Many of the comics have an edge to them and are kind of dark. Others are rather sentimental. Please be aware, while there really isn’t any foul language or overtly sexual comics, many of these comics are not safe for children: they refer to adult situation. Overall, I really enjoyed MAN, I HATE CURSIVE and I look forward to reading more comics by Jim Benton.