Bedside Manner: Station to Station

Manga, fantasy, YA, and more

Bedside Manner: Station to Station

I always have a few books going in different areas of the house: bed, bag, bathroom, etc. (incidentally, if you happen to be opening a bookstore, feel free to call it Bed, Bag and Bathroom, because that would be awesome). The books end up visiting each other's neighborhoods, but I brought them all to Bed Station Alpha so this post would be legit.

From top-ish to bottom-ish:

• Manga-master Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys. A group of kids who grew up together in the Seventies have to reunite and piece together clues from their past to save the world. Hilarious, poignant, and thoroughly engaging. A Japanese Scott Pilgrim for middle-aged people. Give it a try – these days, saying you “don't understand manga” is just another way of saying “I need my grandson to program my VCR.”

Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson (meet her next month at Staple!). A group of dogs (and one cat) protect their oblivious owners from supernatural threats. Dorkin’s well-honed humor is perfectly married to Thompson’s fantastic watercolors. High-quality entertainment that gets better as it goes along. A recent one-shot teaming the “wise dogs” up with Hellboy continued that trend.

A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi. Like western indie/autobiographical comics, but interesting. An insightful tale of coming-of-age in post-war Japan, and an education on the artistic evolution of manga and of “the grand-father of Japanese alternative comics.”

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. You bet your ass I read books recommended to me by my 14-year-old daughter! A good chunk of the best new fiction is disguised as Young Adult. I had a great time with this subversive, post-apocalyptic trilogy, and personally thought it wrapped up quite well in this third volume. I'll go ahead and say I'm on Team Peeta.

Bone by Jeff Smith. This one just lives here, unless one of the kids swipes it. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and not just from the perfect brush strokes. Carl Barks-inspired epic fantasy for all ages. Pretty much as good as it gets.

Story by Robert McKee. I've been hearing about this book from aspiring screenwriters, and thought it might help me shape one of my myriad comic stories into a useable script to start drawing from. I've only just started it. Here's hoping.

A Game of Thrones by Georges R.R. Martin. The Dune of the Fantasy genre. Such real and complex character development, I keep forgetting it has magic and dragons. Read it now, and get a jump on the highly-anticipated HBO series adaptation premiering in April.

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. Still haven't read it. This one has been “on deck” for like, 6 years.

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. Best Title Ever. It is mind-blowing that this pulp, sci-fi masterpiece was written in 1956 (!). This book, and anti-hero Gully Foyle, were way ahead of their time. Short and sweet. Again: Best Title Ever.

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. Here I go again, trying to wade through what I am assured is one of the best books ever, for what must be the fifth time. I like it, it’s good, but it‘s a struggle somehow. Wish me luck.

Blacksad by Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido. Great Hammett-esque hard-boiled detective stories with how-do-they-make-it-work anthropomorphic animals. The art is simply amazing – beautifully painted with such an insane attention to detail, it‘s like you‘re in Paris in the Fifties. If I could eat Guarnido‘s brains and absorb his talent, I would, but I think I read somewhere that doesn’t work.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Bedside Manner, 20th Century Boys, Beasts of Burden, A Drifting Life, Mockinjay, A Game of Thrones, Red Mars, The Stars My Destination, Cryptonomicon, Blacksad

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