Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dororo and Girls With Slingshots

Here's how this works: I finish reading something, and I tell you about it, and I try not to bore you to death. This time, reviews, of sorts, of Dororo vol. 3 (Vertical, 2008) and Girls With Slingshots (self-published, 2007).

It's not long since we last saw Hyakkimaru and Dororo, hunting evil spirits and getting on the bad side of samurai and thieves, but their demon-killing mission hasn't changed much. They have a lengthy adventure involving a lunatic obsessed with sharks, and there is a demon in a lake in another... and no sooner did I get over that last little quibble with the off-putting occasional moments of anachronistic comedy and embrace this little work of genius wholeheartedly - around the time that Hyakkimaru finds a breathtakingly novel way to bring down a charging horse - than it ended. Apparently, Osamu Tezuka was contracted to provide a year's worth of episodes, and once finished, he had other projects to jump into. The story goes that he always intended to return to this one, in much the same way he would draw a few months' worth of Phoenix episodes every couple of years, but never found the time. So it reaches an ending, but the overall quest is never concluded. In sum, it might be a bit much to call this a masterpiece, but it's an exceptional series and every comic lover needs all three volumes on their bookshelf. Next up: Black Jack!

I'm such a fickle lover of webcomics. I guess that if I can't get the darn thing to appear as one of my three (three!!) strips in My Yahoo, it eventually falls off my radar. At least four times this year, I've slapped my head with the shock realisation that I haven't looked at Subnormality in ages. Heaven only knows how many webcomics, their bookmarks stored on a long abandoned browser, I have completely forgotten about.

I mention that because it's reasonable to note my fair-weather fandom about things that I want to love, but something about the delivery medium prevents me from committing to. I need to have something to carry around, to read at lunch, or while kicked back on my couch. So since Danielle Corsetto's delightful Girls With Slingshots has been one of those periodic every-once-in-a-while interests, on the strength of its bawdy humor, bizarre situations and great artwork, I was pleased to buy a collected edition of the first 200 strips... just as soon as I remembered, after many months, to stop by the site and see what was new with the grouchy Hazel and her free-spirited best pal Jamie.

Corsetto did a fabulous job in compiling material for the book. Apart from the strips, there are fifty pages of additional features, ranging from examples of the high school antecedent of GWS to ads and commissioned art of the characters. Obviously, webcomickers have a tough time ahead in convincing buyers to shell out for collected editions; after all, the material is freely available on their website, and stacks of bonuses like this might be necessary to make people pony up. But heck, this is exactly the sort of thing I want to see in every collected edition; I can't stand bare-bones efforts like you see from Marvel or Vertigo these days.

Anyway, this is the first in a projected series of GWS editions, and I certainly hope it continues. You can sample the comic at its website and you can read an interview with Corsetto at Comicon and I happily recommend this collection for mature readers.

(Now, can we get Jeph Jacques to start cranking out some Questionable Content books... pretty please?)

(Originally posted October 15, 2008 at hipsterdad's LJ.)

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