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Invincible

This comics is best known for its animated adaptation and the memes it produced.

Basically, it’s a comics about the son of Superman. That also tries to make fun of comics. Like Watchmen. And The Boys. And plenty of others, I guess.
Here’s a meta-joke:

 

Jokes asides, though, this technique is actually pretty good:

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Shigurui

Finished reading the Shigurui manga. It’s a very impressive work, both in terms of writing and visuals. Yes, there are some detours just to add brutality to brutality, like the story about the “frog” swordsman.
But despite those detours, I appreciate the fact that it’s a complete story.
At first, I thought it’s a story of revenge. But thinking about it some more, I think Shigurui is all about loyalty. Gennosuke wants to avenge his master. Not because it was just in any way: his master was a demented psychopath. But only because he was his master. That’s it.

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Shigurui

The story of Shigurui is a story of rivalry between two young samurai: Gennosuke and Seigen.
Gennosuke is considered the best student of Kogan, until Seigen arrives to the dojo. Being the better student, Seigen is supposed to marry Mie, Kogan’s daughter, and inherit the dojo.
But he can’t keep himself from sleeping with Iku, Kogan’s mistress. Kogan learns about it, blinds Seigen and exiles both him and Iku.
Seigen hunts all Kogan’s students one by one, besides Gennosuke and Gonzaemon. He then manages to kill Kogan. This is all set up as if Kogan attacked first, so Gennosuke’s and Mei’s stipend is taked away as a punishment.
Gennosuke and Gonzaemon challenge Seigen to a honor duel. In the end, Seigen manages to kill Gonzaemon, and cut Gennosuke’s arm.
This is again considered shameful. Gennosuke and Mei are forbidden to kill themselves, and instead left to lead life in poverty.

This is a story where the most positive character, Gennosuke, on orders of Kogan, his master, almost participates in the rape of Kogan’s daughter, and Seigen is considered “brave”, because he refuses to participate.

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Shigurui

One cannot escape Berserk legacy.
Here we have the “white”, feminine swordsman that aims to marry the daughter of the dojo master while sleeping with his mistress, the crazy yet dangerous dojo master, and the “black” swordsman, that even trains for a two handed sword to get stronger.
The “white” swordsman is so ambitious, that he even kills his mother, because she was a prostitute, and that would endanger his goal of becoming a samurai.
Shonen is often structured about techniques. Here, the characters are obsessed about 3 things:
– Grip. You’ll see a lot of characters holding a sword between two fingers, instead of in their palm, like normal person would
– Counter-grip. This is supposed to add more speed to the sword, like a bow string. The crazy dojo master secret technique is to hold the sword between the thumb and the index finger of his hand, while the blind psycho holds it with the two fingers of his leg
– Increasing the reach. For that, characters would hold their sword with two fingers by the tip of its handle, instead, just holding it like a normal person would. Well, at least they don’t throw their swords

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Shigurui

Body horror is something Miura, may his name be forever blessed, established 35 years ago. After all Gatz is introduced as one-armed-swordsman in the very first chapter of Berserk.
Still, Shigurui does take it up a notch or two, with a duel between one-handed-swordsman and a blind and limping swordsman, following up with a six-fingered swordsman.
As base as that sounds, there are a lot of very interesting historical details there. The samurai are concerned with how much “koku” (a measure of rice) they earn, or what how many servants they could afford if they marry daughter of the head of the dojo.
The entire story is a puzzle box in itself. A story within a story within a story. 22 swordsmen are gathered to participate in a tournament with real swords. And as the first battle commences, we are told about the history of those two swordsmen. And as we are told about the history, we are told about numerous legends surrounding those swordsmen.

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Boys

Another interesting difference from the show: Stormfront in the comics is a guy, and he must be quite old, as he’s met Hitler. He’s a Nazi version of Superman, basically, but with lightning bolts from hands instead of lasers from the eyes.

 

He isn’t a major character, though, and with the help of the Soviet superhero The Boys beat him to death, in an allegory to WW2.
I’m not sure what the authors tried to pull off with Frenchie and Female origin stories. Both are extremely weak. Mother’s Milk origin story is slightly better. Sickening, but that’s Garth Ennis for you there. In short: he’s called Mother’s Milk because he can’t survive without it. And he’s a grown up man now. As I said, Ennis is a sick bastard.

 

In the show, it’s Homelander who’s obsessed with breast feeding.
Actually, the further in the comics, around the 40s chapter, the less I understand where it’s heading. There’s an arc on retarded supes. Literally retarded. And besides adding the twist of Butcher suspecting Hughie to be a spy, I don’t see much point to that arc either.

 

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Boys

Ok, so this blew my mind. In the show, Simon Pegg plays Hughie’s father. And in the comics, Hughie was based on Simon’s likeness.

 

One key character from the comics that is yet to appear in the show, if at all, is The Legend. He’s the local version of Stan Lee, a bit meta, I’d say. You see, he’s a comics author, and in the world where superheroes are real, this role is sort of a PR manager.
There’s an arc that takes a stab at X-men, called G-men.

 

Basically, the local version of Professor X is kidnapping kids, not picking up orphans. And “Professor X” is also a paedo. In a surprising turn of events, they are all wiped by PMC. Turns out enough firepower can be enough.

 

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Boys

From the second arc the comics and TV series part ways so much I don’t see any sense to even compare them.
Second arc of the comics is dedicated to taking jabs at Batman, called here “Tek Knight”. At the relations with villains, at why he keeps a teenage boys around him all the time, and all that stuff. It’s a smart satire, but it’s a detour.
The next arc is in Moscow. There’s a pretty sophisticated story arc where The Corporation first gives some supervillains unstable Compound V. Then they give another supervillain a device that can remotely detonate any supervillain injected with it, telling her she’d be a hero. What they don’t tell her is that the device is fake, and the whole point is to wreak chaos and put a communist as the head of the state, so they could go back to Cold War. Other than introducing The Corporate Man, though, that plan doesn’t have much significance.
There’s also a strange plot about killed superheroes that come back as stupid zombies. I’m pretty sure it’s just an opportunity for Ellis to make jokes about literal shit and how brings back heroes in comics never works.
What you can’t take from Ellis, though, is how educated he is. Which doesn’t prevent him from being a sick fuck. But still, there’s a story about an aircraft for the navy that killed more pilots than it saved. Turns out, this is based on a real aircraft, Corsair, that was indeed a complete disaster.

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Boys

Although I dislike Ellis style in general, I decided to give Boys a try. And they changed so much in the TV series.
For starters, Butcher works for CIA. And Kimiko was already part of his team.
The Hughie is Scottish. In the series he asks Butcher why he uses “cunt” so much, while in the comics he uses that and other Scottish words a lot.
In the comics, Janine, MM’s daughter, is this androgynous child. While in the comics she’s a rebellious and slutty dressing teenager.
It’s the Homelander that rapes Starlight in the comics, not The Deep.
The entire first season is dedicated to Butcher hunting for a Compound V sample. In the comics, he’s given it by the CIA Director he sleeps with, and he immediately goes on to inject Hughie with it.

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20th Century Boys

I finally finished reading 20th Century Boys. I thought I finished reading it, then I discovered there’s also 21th Century Boys, two more volumes that complete the manga properly.


That was one of the first mangas I’ve ever read. As early as 2003. When just 4 volumes were translated.
By the 16th volume or so, I felt that the author started to get tired of himself. Reuse of same poses, and same twists over an over again.


But still, it’s a classic.

Notice how almost every character gets a redemption arc in the end.
Even Number 13.

Even Sadakiyo.

Even Manjome.

It’s never late to say you’re sorry.

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20th Century Boys

“Becoming an adult means forgetting and moving on to the next thing”

If there’s one character more annoying than Kanna, it’s Koizumi. But I think she’s made like that on purpose: stupid teenage groupie that constantly gets into trouble.

 

Interesting how from 13th volume the manga changes its tone, from mystery to apocalyptic. And it was written in 2003, long before COVID.

 

Then it goes back to mystery, with Friend seemingly resurrected. Then to postapocalyptic, with another timejump.

 

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20th Century Boys

The manga has it’s ups and downs. Kanna as a character annoyed me, with her “Lend me your strength” and having those kind of “dialogs”:

But then there’s an absolutely brilliant story of Sadakiyo, who was always ignored by his classmates, and the only person that was kind to him was his teacher. Now all the people forgot what he looked like, but when he visits his teacher in old folks home, he’s the only one who recognizes him.

It feels like I read at least up to 12th volume in the past, since I remember Maruo (former fat kid) hiding exposives under his girth. But don’t remember much else.

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20th Century Boys

That was one of the first mangas I tried to read. And nowadays, it’s even more nostalgia than ever.

It’s still a difficult read. Constant time jumps between different time periods, many characters with Japanese names and nicknames to remember.
One of the most prominent themes in this manga is the role of the family. Kenji was risen by his elder sister, since his parents were a failure. So now he repays her by taking care of her newborn daughter, Kanna.

 

The manga also conveys sense of paranoia common to “cult” stories: who can you trust? Who else is a cult member?

 

My main gripe with the story at the moment, is that at the very beginning Kanna is shown to have some Abilities, and all the characters speak about her as The Last Hope. But only her nanny (an the reader) witnessed those.
One episode that really annoyed me was when Kenji decides not to shoot Friend “because he’s Kanna father”. Yeah, his nephew simply cannot live without her terrorist cult leader biological father she never met!

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Gunnm: Mars Chronicle

Brilliantly drawn, but storywise, the author doesn’t know how to stop. There are characters upon characters and entire chapters just for the shock content. Girls from an orphanage being killed by soldiers in a false-flag op. A child abused by her parents until she schemes to dispose of them.
Martian Chronicles is both a sequel to Last Order and a prequel to the original Gunnm. It suffers from the same problem as many other prequels, like Star Wars Episode 1, which is call The Messiah Complex.
You seen, in Star Wars 4-6 Darth Vader was a formidable enemy and a very interesting character. But in Episode 1 Lucas made him the result of a prophecy and The Most Powerful Jedi of All.
In the original manga, Alita was a talented warrior, with strong spirit, secret techniques and all. But here we immediately told that even as a kid she’s the result of some Prophecy that would Change the World. I think that approach completely takes agency from the character. Instead of a story of personal growth, we get a story of simply following your destiny all along.
Since all of events happen on Mars and Mars is a German colony in Gunnm (Venus is French, by the way), there’s a lot of germanophilia going on. A lot of german words, soldiers dressed as 3rd Reich, there’s a terrorist organization called “New 3rd Reich” (why not 4th?)

 

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Blacksad

Started reading the Blacksad comics again. Tried it maybe ten years ago. This time they go much smoother, though.
Now I got the joke from the game about hitting someone with a fire extinguisher. And also about climbing to the top of a skyscraper with a different purpose.


First tome, “Somewhere Within the Shadows” is very basic: Blacksad once dates an actress. They broke up. Now she’s dead. He looks for the guy that she used to date last. Turns out he’s dead too. So he looks for the guy she dated before him. Turns out he’s the richest person in town. So he goes up and shoots that guy in the head, because he’s so smug. And Blacksad’s friend, police officer, covers this up as a suicide. Beautifully drawn, beautifully written, but a tad too short and basic.

 

“Arctic nation” is about white supremacists (all white animals: arctic fox, polar bear, an owl) that terrorize a black suburb.

 

A black girl goes missing. Then her mother ends up dead. If the first story was over-simplistic, the second story is overcomplicated. Some 20 years ago the Polar Bear decided to become a KKK leader, and threw his pregnant black wife to literally die in the cold. She survived, though, and raised two daughters, one of which was white and another black (I guess it’s a joke about white and black bears?). The white daughter seduced her father (he didn’t know she’s his daughter, remember?) in order to get her revenge. She started to spread rumors that the Polar Bear is a pedophile, and arranged a false kidnapping of her black sister daughter.

 

When the black sister started acting, she got killed by the wife’s lover. I said that it’s overcomplicated, right?

There’s another nice play of words, when a magpie says he hid the girl “in his nest”. Turns out she’s hidden in a warplane wreck. Gunners nest. Magpie nest.

 

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Evolution of Spiderman, Pedro Demetriou

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Evolution of Batman and Joker, Pedro Demetriou

Those usually go uncredited around Facebook and Twitter.

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Tony Sart


 

https://www.artstation.com/tonysart

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Akihiko Yoshida

Attack on the Tomb Raider какой-то, конечно:

May be a cartoon of 1 person and text

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Sweet Tooth

Дочитал Sweet Tooth.
Abbot, военный занимавшийся “исследованием” hybrid’ов, окончательно съезжает с катушек и отправляется по следам Gus’а и Jepperd’а, убивая всех встречных.
Hybrid’ы добираются до лаборатории, но никаких ответов там нет. Это ключевой момент сюжета. Во многих “вирусных” постапоках герои пытаются найти источник заразы, будто это поможет им повернуть время вспять. Тут нам четко говорят – не получится. Не важно, в чем причина, это уже не остановить.


Раненый Jepperd пытается спасти Gus’а и своего сына, Buddy, от Abbot’а, но в итоге как раз Gus убивает Abbot’а. Это опять же ключевой момент, потеря детской невинности, поскольку весь комикс Gus был жертвой, и всячески старался избегать насилия. Даже злодея-педофила из бункера он выставил на мороз, но не смог застрелить. Но тут Jepperd уже практически мертв, так что наступает время взросления героя.


Финальная глава прокручивает следующие лет шестьдесят. Человечество постепенно вымирает, в итоге с этим смиряясь. Остаются только гибриды. В итоге, умирает и Gus.
Прекрасная завершенная история. Даже удивительно, что я об этом комиксе ничего не слышал десять лет.