I’m your host, Chriss Cornish. Joining me are regular squeesters: April Taie, leader of the Geek Girls meetup in San Diego; and John Oliver, a dark fantasy author online at john-W-oliver-DOT-com.
Taking the revolving 4th chair for a second issue is our guest, action-horror author and friend of the podcast JM Perkins. His novel Chemo: How I Learned to Kill is available on Amazon.com. John joined us for podcast issue #7, back in January of 2014.
This issue of Comics Squee we’ve got: a retelling of The Three Little Pigs as social metaphor ; a surreal Western with a manga influence; an action movie with a bad-ass lady hero ; and a sweetly charming day-in-the-life comic from Japan.
We rolled two D6 (size-sided dice) to see who goes first and it’s ladies first, starting with April.
April: BB Wolf and the Three LPs by J.D. Arnold and Rich Koslowski
A quintessential blues tale, that happens to also be a retelling of the Three Little Pigs – from the wolf’s point of view. It’s set in the deep south in 1921. The wolves are a downtrodden, minority group. BB Wolf is a farmer during the day and hard drinking blues musician at night.
The story explores the history of both blues music and the south. One day the piggies come to BB’s farm and tell him they’re taking it because he hasn’t paid his licensing fee for the past year. Things go to hell from there as BB and his neighbor’s stand up to the pigs, who belong to the PPP and wear hoods.
This book has some nice extras in the back, like ‘photos’ of BB Wolf playing at gigs and working on the farm. There’s also a bit from the person ‘researching’ the true story of BB Wolf, saying how we all thought we knew the story about how Wolf went on a rampage but now it’s clear things were more complicated.
April was really wowed by the artwork, as well, which is anthropomorphized animals. She’s always amazed by how an artist can take an animal face, but make them express joy or anger so well. Chriss pointed out that artists do this the same way you get to Carnegie Hall; practice, practice, practice.
Chriss had found comments about BB Wolf online from people angry because wolves represent blacks in this book and the whites are pigs; those people felt this choice made a ‘black people are dangerous’ statement because wolves ARE dangerous to pigs. So we discussed other fairy tales, to see if there were any others that would work as well for the story without that implication the commenters saw.
Our conclusions: There is no animal that better represents the blues than a wolf (in fact, one of the most legendary blues musicians is a fellow called Howlin’ Wolf); we couldn’t think of any other fairy tale where property rights were as big a theme as in Three Little Pigs.
We DID decide, however, that Hansel & Gretal as a metaphor for the subprime mortgage situation is a thing we all need.
Chriss: Yotsuba by Kiyohiko Azuma
This is a sweet day in the life manga (comic book) from Japan. These English translations are published by Yen Press and are in the traditional left-to-right format; so the back of the book is the front and you start reading on the left side of the page instead of the right. It’s not as awkward to adjust to as it sounds. Chriss has handed Yotsuba to people new to manga and they just needed a moment to orient themselves.
The moto of this series is “Enjoy Everything” and is about finding the joy and humor in everyday things. The main character, Yotsuba, is 5 and the the silliness and humor comes from seeing the world as a five year old sees it. So her adventures with the neighbor girls are things like discovering how the door bells work, trying to deliver milk, going to a petting zoo and punching the sheep after they headbutt her, etc.
The series is charming and fun. As of March 2013 there were 12 volumes out.
John: Kill Bill
This is great, pulpy movie from Quintin Tarantino, very much like a live-action manga. You could say Kill Bill is basically an American homage to an Asian Western.
We discuss the movie, both it’s plot and trivia, and talk about our favorite parts.
JM Perkins: Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue deConnick and Emma Ríos
This great book is best described as a surreal western or a fantasy western. Mr. Perkins, also known as Visiting John, really loves Pretty Deadly but doesn’t entirely know what’s going on. Both John’s really like this series and are similarly intrigued. At time of recording the book is on issue #2 and, even though both Johns are writers and can generally tell where a story’s going due to construction, neither of them are certain what’s going to happen next.
Pretty Deadly starts with a pair of storytellers telling the story of Death’s daughter. The book is narrated by, as near as Visiting John can tell, by a fox skeleton and a rabbit. There’s also a bounty hunter who turned into butterflies, a blind and/or photo-phobic marksman, and a man in a brothel who has done something that will doom the world.
The art is fluid, kinetic, and gorgeous. Interesting female characters, and very good characters all around. The coloring is beautiful and do a great job of conveying mood and maintaining the western feel of the book.
An interesting thing about Pretty Deadly is that the core creative team is all female.
As a side note, our resident John offers to dress like Zardoz and fight zombies. And visiting John makes a call for listener fan fic on the subject.
Question Time: What’s Your Favorite Japanese Comic or Cartoon?
Hetalia. It has a little bit of history, it’s short, and it’s cute. And Afro Samurai.
- JM Perkins:
For manga (comic book), Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. Back in the day he really enjoyed Dragonball Z. And Naruto. But his favorite is Fooly Cooly for how bizarre and strange and beautiful it is. And he gives a shout out to Cowboy Beebop.
For television series John was caught between Gasaraki, for how it combined noh theater with giant robots, and Ghost in the Shell in all it’s incarnations.
Favorite manga is Yotsuba, but her favorite anime is Haibane Renmai.
What We’re Looking Forward to Reading Next
Looking forward to season 4 of My Little: Friendship is Magic being available on NetFlix.
Resident John is looking forward to the next issue of Pretty Deadly so he can figure out what the crap is going on.
- JM Perkins, Visiting John:
Also looking forward to next issue of Pretty Deadly. As well as watching the next episode of Game of Thrones with his wife to see his wife’s reactions to certain story beats (as he’s read up to book 4).
She was in San Francisco at the time of recording and looking forward to going to the Cartoon Art Museum and seeing the Sandman exhibit.
That’s all for this issue.Thank you for joining us. Thanks also to our regular contributing squeesters April Taie and John Oliver.And our returning guest, JM Perkins, author of action-horror novel Chemo: How I learned to Kill.
You’ve been listening to Issue 11 of the Comics Squee podcast. I’m your host, Chriss Cornish. You can subscribe to Comics Squee on iTunes, Stitcher, and Miro. If you have a moment, kindly review us as that will help our visibility in their databases. Our media hosting has been made possible by a donation from Greta C. Join us next time for more sequential art love on the Comics Squee podcast