#373 “Sandman”: Waking from the dream

sandmanAs it’s widely regarded as one of the best comic book series of all time, Dana and Kumar try their best to rekindle their love for Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN nearly twenty years after its conclusion, only to find the plotting leaden, the art inconsistent, and the world-building frustrating. Has time stripped the series of its lustre, or are these two jerks just too old for it?

Critiquing Comics #054: “Bud and Simon”

budandsimonWe can see why some of the characters in Bud & Simon are fuzzy — Bud is a koala — but why are the buildings? Is it a parody of spy tropes, or a serious attempt that doesn’t quite get the tropes right? Tim and Mulele examine David Starbuck’s comic to answer the surprisingly tricky question: Is it lame or awesome?

#372 “Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary”: Painful Personal Memoir as Wacky Comedy!

BinkyBrownAutobiographical comics are par for the course, but in 1972, Justin Green broke ground for the genre when he published Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary. Some of that broken ground hasn’t been trod since; how many autobiographical comics about a battle with mental illness have you seen done as wacky parody comics? Lightning-quick pace, phalluses everywhere, and a helpful instructional arrow pointed at a bunch of bananas? It’s unlike any autobio comic before or since, and your take on the subject matter may greatly depend on your upbringing. Tim and Kumar examine.

Critiquing Comics #053: “Barbadango”

barbadangoThis is the prettiest comic we’ve seen in quite a while! Gorgeous art and a promising story characterize George Caltsoudas’ all-ages digital comic Barbadango. Tim and Mulele savor.

#371 “Nana”: Don’t hate it because it’s shojo

nana“What?!” I hear you say. “Deconstructing Comics doing a whole show on a girls’ manga?” Ye of little faith! Have we ever steered you wrong? It may look like nothing but a sappy romance comic, but Ai Yazawa’s Nana features realistic, conflicted characters who deal with romance, infidelity, coming of age, fame, and rock & roll from all angles. It also boasts some fantastic storytelling techniques, so there’s plenty here for comics fans of all stripes to enjoy. Tim and Kory discuss.

“Boys over Flowers”: Inspiring, but with distracting flaws

By Kory Cerjak

Title: Boys Over Flowers (Hana Yori Dango)
Author: Yoko Kamio
Publisher: Viz Media

Boys Over FlowersIn 1992—one year removed from what is possibly the biggest shojo sensation ever, Sailor MoonBoys Over Flowers (known in Japan as Hana Yori Dango) was first published in Margaret by Shueisha in Japan. Eleven years later, Viz Media published it here in North America. These are two of the most influential shojo manga of the 1990s (alongside Fruits Basket and Kare Kano, among others). And while Sailor Moon might be the franchise that’s survived after all this time, it’s Boys Over Flowers that’s the top selling manga of all time, according to ComiPress. I’ve talked about Kare Kano already, and now I’ll talk about HanaDan, as the fans call it.

HanaDan is about Tsukushi Makino, a middle-class high school student, going to a high-class private school. Her father is stuck at his position and Tsukushi’s parents hope that she can meet people who will elevate their status and make a better life for them.

Fans nowadays may see the premise and relate it to Ouran High School Host Club (also published by Viz), but its story and ultimate goal could not be more different from Ouran. From the get-go, author Yoko Kamio works to establish not just a strong female Continue reading “Boys over Flowers”: Inspiring, but with distracting flaws

#370 Greeks bearing comics: “Falling for Lionheart” and “Amala’s Blade”

lionheart-amalaGreek comics creators are taking the English-speaking world by storm! … well, OK, maybe not. But Eugenia in Athens has pointed out there are at least two recent examples of comics by Greeks that have been released by American publishers. This week she talks with Tim about two of them: Falling for Lionheart by Ilias Kyriazis, and Amala’s Blade by Steve Horton and Michael Dialynas.

Critiquing Comics #052: “Super Inc, Villians’ Edition”

Super Inc

Listener Aghori Shaivite asked us to look at his comic, Super Inc. Villians’ Edition, which explores the lives of the villians he has created for his superhero comics. Unfortunately, Tim and Mulele have identified a number of problems with the writing…

#369 “Krazy Kat”: Show me the bricks

Krazy Kat

One of the most highly-regarded English-language strips of all time is George Herriman’s “Krazy Kat,” featuring the odd love/hate triangle of Krazy, Ignatz, and Officer Pupp. Why was Krazy so gender-ambiguous? How did Herriman’s (somewhat mysterious) racial background influence the strip? Tim and Kumar discuss this and much more.