What I’m Reading – Jan 17 Edition

Hey all. Like many nerds, books are my comfort zone, so I read and buy a lot of them. I thought I might do these monthly recaps to share with you what I’ve been reading. Length will vary.

January was a slow enough month and I was away for 2 weeks. Contrary to every other holiday ever, I actually read the books I brought with me. Well, most of them! So let’s get to it.

Proto Anime Cut Archive, Stefan Riekeles

I visited Berlin last year specifically to see the Anime Architecture exhibit the Tchoban Foundation had on. Once there, I had to buy the book that went along with it (although it was initially published in 2011).

It’s an interesting book that explores the work of 5 Japanese visual artists for such movies as Patlabor, Ghost in the Shell and Evangelion. The book focuses on those 3 movies (and their subsequent sequels) and sheds a bit of light on the production process and the role of each artist. For instance, concept photographer Haruhiko Higami scouted and photographed locations for Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor much like one would for a live-action movie.

After the storyboard and the first designs for a film have been produced, Haruhiko Higami’s job is to find and photograph appropriate landscapes and city-scapes to underpin the film’s vision. Higami makes images that form the basis for the final design. Some of his photos are used directly for layout drawings or as models for inspiring the production design.

The book features concept designs, layout drawings, photographs and painted backgrounds from the movies mentioned.

Was surprised to see that most of the hand-painted artwork these artists created were actually a composite of  a background painted in gouache and other elements in middle or foreground painted on transparent film (also gouache). The originals were also smaller than an A4 sheet of paper and while the book reproduces them larger than that (so you can take in all that ridiculous detail), it sadly doesn’t really capture their exquisite color.

Very interesting book and not to take away from the brilliance of the artists featured and their legacy, but I really wish the author would have included at least one female artist.

Clear Blue Tomorrows, Fabien Vehlmann, Ralph Meyer and Bruno Gazzotti

I picked this up along with the two below at the Cinebook stand at the 2016 Thought Bubble Festival. I read about it from Comics&Cola and it really intrigued me so I picked it up. I love that cover, by the way.

It’s an impressive book written by Fabien Vehlmann and illustrated by two artists, Ralph Meyer and Bruno Gazzotti. Nolan Ska travels to the past to stop a megalomaniac from starting down the path that will doom mankind and instead push him towards his first love: writing. But, of course, things aren’t as easy as that.

It’s an interesting premise (and timely, isn’t it?), executed well (in my humble opinion) and I thoroughly enjoyed the overall thread Vehlmann weaves as well as the imaginative self-contained short stories, often humorously illustrated. It could have just been an anthology of shorts and still been excellent, but the creative team goes one step further with an overall story that gives them purpose. I feel this is a book I’ll go back to frequently. Highly recommend it!

Berlin: The Seven Dwarves 1943, Marvano

I have mixed feeling about this book. As you might know, I’m interested in stories that take place during WW2 and Marvano delivers a touching story. It is very well researched, painfully beautiful in the way that only franco-belgian comics can be and the writing is top notch as well. The story is well paced and flashes back and forth between a peaceful present and the war of the past. The colouring  by Claude Legris is exquisite and full of subtle changes. Sadly, I found a few of the page layouts confusing and that took away from my enjoyment of the book.

I do love some of the things Marvano does visually, like these panels and pages:
   

The Amulet of the Great Pyramid, Lucien De Gieter

This is a really fun book! Set in Ancient Egypt, it’s an adventure book that follows the lead, Papyrus, and his friends as they solve the plot. Simple, fun and so enjoyable! What really impressed me about this book is how De Gieter approaches some of the pages and the inventive and fun ways he leads the reader across the page.

 

I love, love, love the arrows, such a fun thing to do in a comic! Safe to say, I’m gonna be buying all of the books in this series!

I’ve also been reading the sci-fi noir novel Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan (soon on Netflix!), but haven’t finished it yet.

And that’s it for now. Until next month!

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