Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Excerpts From an Email to a New Friend

News of the week: Mon appareil-photo est arrivé! Why I felt inclined to say that in French, I have no idea, but I keep thinking it that way. My camera is here. It's great. I haven't been this in love with a material object since I got my little Powerbook two years ago. I generally try to avoid the sentiment.

Sadly I barely got to kiss it hello before shoving it under my desk - work is bordering on insane right now and I've been juggling projects like a circus clown. Though you wouldn't think it, given my long emails. I just type fast! Next week CS is throwing a huge fundraiser called LifeSavor, which entails a huge silent auction and cocktail party before guests are trolleyed off (in actual trolleys!) to dinner at the city's best restaurants in groups of ten. The dinner is completely donated by the restaurants, and at $250/ticket, we make a lot of money with very little expenditure! But whew, it's a lot of work.

My friend Asher just sent me a list of his recommendations of graphic novels. I've only read a few, and I've been in the mood for one lately. I'll pass it along to you.

1) Spiral Bound, by Aaron Renier - around $14, paperback.
This book is just so inventive and beautifully drawn. Don't be put off by the fact that it's all animal characters, it might be one of the most creative and endearing books that has entered the comic sphere in the past couple of years. Plus, he's working on some projects with Alec Longstreth too! (check out their joint work at Alec is a college friend.

2) Blankets, by Craig Thompson - around $30, paperback
Wow. Gorgeous line drawings. Heart wrenching story about the author's first love and struggle with religeous faith. It's astonishing. I've read it at least 5 times, and each time I find something new hidden in the narrative or rich graphics. Maybe this isn't the time for you to read it, but at some point, you'd be doing yourself a great disservice if you let it go.

3) Louis Riel, by Chester Brown - around $18, hardcover
Chester Brown has an odd, removed way of telling the story of the French Canadian revolutionary Louis Riel. Very well written and constructed, Brown's graphics are distinctly his own. Sterile, but a very enlightening and cool read.

4) Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Boy on Earth, by Chris Ware, about
$25, paperback.
Another hearbreaking book that following the family of Jimmy Corrigan, a chubby, depressed momma's boy from the suburbs of Chicago. The book jumps back and forth from his story in the present to the stories of his family all the way back to the World's fair in Chicago at the turn of the century. What might be most remarkable about this book, though, is Ware's amazing style. His work is schematic and perfect, resembling theatrical drafting and cinematic storyboards more than traditional comix. Enjoy!

5) Any issue between 2-7 of Optic Nerve, by Adrian Tomine, about $3
each, magazine
Adrian Tomine has mastered telling the story of the guy next door. Amazingly well constructed stories about petty drama and social reality. I love this guy.

Your overly-caffeinated friend,


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