12.10.05

off to the bat cave

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My fav cinema is all abandoned and Gotham-like now - Image by J

These batman comics are absolutely addictive.

My lunch break was spent sitting in the office meeting room eating cold brown rice and wondering just why is it that Nightwing (he's the first Robin who grew up and - you know, anyone past 16 can't be wearing bright green undies with a red vest and still be answering to a name like Robin!) had left Batman and what was his relationship with Tarantula, who has absolutely no fashion sense.

Maybe it's just a perfect escapist fiction. Stories of physically perfect beings, who nonetheless are still nursing childhood traumas and living out teenager angst. Thankfully, my superhero is less elusive.

But for those of you who cannot stand superheroes of any sort, here are some comics (graphic novels - call them what you will) lying around my room at the moment that are excellent reads in their own way. So if I had a batcave, I'll just load it up with books like these and a good couch. Hmmm, of course I won't mind if Nightwing hangs out there too.

The Rabbi's Cat by Joann Sfar - The wit survived the translation from French into English, which guarantees that this is one enjoyable read even if you are not a cat lover. As the title also suggests, this is essentially a story about faith and family. With Judaism, I guess the 2 are even more inextricably bound.

Cages by Dave McKean - This one probably needs no introduction. Long-time cover artist for the Sandman series, this tome (yah, it's 496 pages!) bears resemblance to the dreamy, surreal scapes of Sandman, where every little movement or thought or character gestures at some grand universal or deep psychological state...rrright. I'm still halfway through this. Got distracted by Murakami and Batman.

Kinderbook by Kan Takahama - This book may be a little hard to find. The artist and writer is Japanese, but the book I have is translated in the UK, published and bound in Spain. 10 stories, vignettes really - stolen conversations, childhood memories, a memorable last date. The artist and writer is young, but all the makings of good manga is in those stories. Which is to say that it adopts a totally opposite approach and style as Cages and the whole Sandman routine. Here, there is no grand gesture. Instead, we are occupied with the mundane, the incidental, the everyday girl/boy/old lady who, in that one instance, allows you a glimpse into a drama that has been hidden, postponed, forgotten.

To Tame a Tiger by Joe Yeoh - A Singapore comic! This book in fact gives itself the subtitle "The Singapore Story" which, of course, tells you that it is a conservative telling of the super-narrative about Singapore's PAP-led road to independence. If you are looking for dirt, look elsewhere. Still, Joe Yeoh does some great storytelling and illustrations. This definitely beats reading a history textbook. But if you want to know more about cartoons and comics in Singapore, there's an overview in here, a review of Morgan Chua's collection of political cartoons My Singapore by a friend (the undisputed cartoon expert in Singapore).

2 comments:

said...

"Watchmen" - Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons.

ampulets said...

i remember Watchmen. My brother used to collect and trade them say 15 years ago...he had these first edition Watchmen comics kept in their plastic sleeves in a big box - and wouldn't let me or anyone read them. Even back then, his businessman instincts were keen.

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