#809 Pidge interview: “Fiction is a way to tell the truth”

Pidge - Infinite Wheatpaste

Sure, comics are great for fantastical stories, but they can tell intimate, personal stories as well — or sometimes the personal and the fantastical mix well. Artist and writer Pidge is the creator of the series Infinite Wheatpaste, which employs this method. Avery Hill has just published a collection of the series, called Infinite Wheatpaste vol 1: Catalytic Conversions. This week Pidge talks with Emmet about her attraction to the comics medium, but concern that it doesn’t cover all the aspects of life that it could: “Having coffee with your friend is worth putting in a comic.”

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#806 “Berserk” v. 13 & 14: Is this scene necessary?

Berserk 14

Berserk volume 12 left us at a crucial point: The Band of the Hawk were to be sacrificed so that Griffith can join the Godhand. Horrified, Tim and Kumar moved quickly on to volume 13, which left us… horrified, in a less fun way. Casca is raped, in an unnecessarily long, confusing, and (ick) titillating scene (and we have to talk about it, so be warned).

The rest of 13 and the start of 14 finally bring us up to the status quo of the first 2 1/2 volumes, and get us started on a new story of Guts and Puck which…. doesn’t seem to move the story forward at all. While there are good points, our feelings about Kentaro Miura‘s series have become more complicated. And, by the way, how necessary was this 11-volume flashback?

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#804 “Berserk” v. 11 & 12: Cartoonish violence, epic horror

Berserk v 12 cover

Kentaro Miura’s Berserk can be upsetting, fascinating, offputting, incredible, and even sometimes a bit comedic, as Tim and Kumar have found over the past several months. All those qualities appear again in volumes 11 and 12, as the story of the extended flashback reaches its climax with Griffith’s horrific accession to the God Hand. Join us as we discuss the cartoonish violence of volume 11 and the epic horror of volume 12.

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#799 “Berserk” v. 9 & 10 deep dive: Genre hopping

Berserk 9-10

Kentaro Miura’s Berserk can be confounding. Reading volumes 9 and 10 prompts us to ask “Just what genre IS this comic, anyway?” While it still has plenty of over-the-top action and violence, it also has gratuitous sex, comedy, and even some horror elements. And now we finally have hints toward why the “present” of volumes 1-3 had so many magical elements that have been mostly missing from the ongoing flashback. Tim and Kumar ask “Could it be the magic at last?”

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#241 “Dragon Ball” in depth

FLASHBACK! Though the highly influential manga series, and resulting TV show, are known for non-stop action and fighting, Dragon Ball started out as a comedy strip reminiscent of Akira Toriyama‘s early work, Dr. Slump! Viz’s English versions have gone through various levels of censorship over time to adjust to the low level of sexuality that most Americans expect of kids’ books. Except, most of the characters themselves don’t understand sexuality, and that’s the charm of it; it’s best enjoyed (probably by kids as well) in its pristine form…if you can find it!

In memory of Akira Toriyama, we re-present our review of the original Dragon Ball series. Tim, Kumar, and Mulele review. (Originally published August 16, 2010.)

Visual censorship comparisons after the jump (NSFW but probably safe for Japanese kids):

Continue reading #241 “Dragon Ball” in depth

#798 “Delicious in Dungeon” yields a feast

Delicious in Dungeon

Ryoko Kui’s Delicious in Dungeon pokes fun at fantasy games and cooking manga tropes, exploring what it would really be like to be a character in a fantasy game, arranging your life in ways that wouldn’t really make sense in the real world. This week, Kumar and Emmet do a deep dive on this consistently enjoyable and beautifully plotted manga, the anime for which is now on Netflix.

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#793 “Berserk” v 7-8: The Battle for Doldrey

Berserk

While Kentaro Miura’s Berserk is meant to feature the swordsman character Guts, in volumes 7 and 8 the focus is on Griffith and the progress made – at ANY cost – toward his dream of having his own kingdom, a machine in which Guts is just a major cog. Casca is the other major figure, as Tim and Kumar wonder just what her real feelings for Griffith – and for Guts – might be; why this lengthy flashback has so much less magic in it than the pre-flashback story did; and how Griffith gets from this point into the Godhand.

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#291 “MONSTER” (Justifiable Homicide? pt 2)

Monster

FLASHBACK! Planning a murder that you think will prevent future murders? That’s the premise — or, at least, one of the premises — of Monster, Naoki Urasawa’s 18-volume series. Set in Germany, the series focuses on the unintended consequences of Dr. Kenzo Tenma’s good deed; he saved the life of a boy who turned out to be a remorseless killer. Tim and guest reviewer Natalie Nourigat discuss. (This episode was originally published August 22, 2011.)

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#785 “Berserk”: The Prosaic Past

Berserk pt 2

After covering the first four volumes of Kentaro Miura’s Berserk a few months back, Tim and Kumar decided to keep going. In volumes 5 and 6, the lengthy (volumes 3 to 14!) flashback to Guts’s origin story continues, but why does the flashback seem to exist in a magic-free world? In the early volumes, in the “present”, Guts was shadowed by an elf, frequently encountered ghosts and demons, and pulled off comically over-the-top feats with his huge sword. But the world of the flashback seems to be, with a few exceptions, a fairly realistic medieval Europe. The guys examine the difference and pick up hints of what comes next.

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#768 “Berserk” v. 1-4

BerserkBerserk abruptly ended when creator Kentaro Miura died two years ago, later resurrected by Miura’s assistants and his friend Kouji Mori. Neither Tim nor Kumar had read this violent, complex manga, but it lingered on our to-do list the past two years until a gag news story about who was going to wrap up Berserk (which Tim didn’t immediately recognize as a gag!) inspired us to take the plunge. What we found is an addictive manga that answers the question “What if Fist of the North Star were a fantasy “graphic medicine” comic about trauma?

Yup, Al Plastino did some “in case of emergency” Peanuts strips

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