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by Lara Killian

17 Jul 2009

In case Re:Print‘s own Nikki Tranter isn’t alone in her aversion to the thought of succumbing to peer pressure and finally reading Stephenie Meyer’s popular Twilight series, there is now an additional option when it comes to catching up with the current YA vampire craze.

A new graphic novel version was announced on the author’s website yesterday.

Little is available so far in terms of sample drawings, but Entertainment Weekly notes that the publication date is not yet set. The drawings are being done by a Korean artist, Young Kim. With no casting restrictions, hopefully Kim can stay true to Meyer’s characters and avoid imposing the features of Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart on the drawings. Meyer is apparently approving every illustrated panel herself.

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The English language comic version is a bit behind pseudo-manga versions long available in Japan. My Japanese is a little rusty but it appears from the Amazon page that the first volume came out in August of 2005, and the thirteenth was published in March. 

One fan has even assembled a montage of images from the Japanese graphic novel series. We haven’t seen the end of the Twilight phenomenon yet.

by Sarah Zupko

17 Jul 2009

Paul McCartney played the Letterman show this week and played two songs, an expected Beatles classic and less surprisingly a tune from his latest Fireman album. Macca actually played “Sing the Changes” with his band on top of the Letterman marquee outside, evoking those rooftop Let It Be sessions from where “Get Back” emerged.

by Bill Gibron

17 Jul 2009

Guilt is its own phantom. It plagues us like a poltergeist, haunting our hours with unwanted memories of a painful, unrepentant past. It eats at our soul, making us question the very meaning of life, and when it finally passes, it rests in the cracks of our own emotional estate, hoping to reappear when we’re weakest, or most vulnerable. For young Matthew Ryan, the disappearance of his little brother Tom has brought on numerous conflicting consequences. It has caused a rift with his father, the man blaming his son for partying instead of carefully watching the boy. It has forced a stint in a mental institution, Matthew’s mind awash in a sea of unexplained questions and suffering. And oddly enough, it appears to have attracted real ghosts - visions begging our beleaguered adolescent to find out what really happened on that fateful night.

Thus begins Johnny Kevorkian’s feature film debut The Disappeared. Using the cold, sterile backdrop of some nameless council flats to tell a solid story of loss, conspiracy, and perhaps murder, the first 50 minutes of this movie deserve some kind of award for atmosphere. From the bleak, washed out color scheme to the slow, methodic unveiling of clues, our filmmaker follows a pattern that gives the supposed supernatural elements a good place to settle in and prosper. Since Matthew is on medication, dedicated to getting better and rediscovering a life amongst his family and friends, his “visions” could be nothing more than pharmaceutical hallucinations. Indeed, Kevorkian closely guards his storytelling secrets, turning events into a whodunit so gradually we barely realize there’s an investigation going on.

by Bill Gibron

16 Jul 2009

It’s about time, Harry Potter. It’s about time you manned up, got ready to face the foul demon that destroyed your family, and figured out a way to deal with your fluctuating (and frequently infuriating) hormones. You see, Hogwarts is under attack, Lord Voldemort and his Deatheater minions looking for ways to undermine the school from within and without. And while you’ve been trying to unravel the mystery of your parents’ murder, the forces of evil are gaining a foothold.

Now, thanks to a new Potions Professor, some extracurricular research by your mentor Albus Dumbledore, and your budding infatuation with Ginny Weasley, you seem ready to face your long prophesized destiny. Luckily, director David Yates has given you Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to grow up in. While leisurely paced, it’s emotionally deep. Very deep.

It seems that, as Harry’s sixth year is getting underway, Voldemort via his underlings Bellatrix LeStrange and Narcissa Malfoy are getting the latter’s son Draco to act as assassin. His mission - destroy Dumbledore and with him, Hogwarts. Unsure if the young man will be capable of such a crime, the women convince Professor Severus Snape to make an Unbreakable Vow to protect him. With his fate sealed the duo return to school.

by shathley Q

16 Jul 2009

It just doesn’t seem like comics, does it? By the fifth page of ‘A Contract with God’, the artist seems woefully misguided by today’s standards. Bricks on the upper part of the wall seem to hang in the air, not at all cemented down. The light in the background is unclear, lost behind a sheet of rain. The steps that lead down from the sidewalk are visually unclear. Protagonist Frimme Hersh is in no way afforded use of the masking effect; the linework of his character is not simpler so as to promote emotional investment by the reader. And the cardinal sin - there has been no comics so far, just a series of five page-long posters.

But visionary cartoonist Will Eisner definitely knew what he was doing with very first Graphic Novel. It is so very hard not to involve oneself emotionally with the falling rain. It is a rain that just inundates the world. And it is the rain that is the most powerful visual metaphor for the utter despair of the lead character. For Frimme Hersh this is not anger, it is impotence. Hersh is almost a secondary consideration after his own anguish. He is completely unable to act in any way to the death of his daughter. And Eisner allows Hersh’s anguish to be seen in the world itself. Against expectation it is Eisner’s self-imposed limitation against using framed paneling and the masking effect that produces maximum emotional investment by the reader. This is a world literally awash with anguish and sorrow.

But in a wholly other sense, Eisner makes a statement about comics as a medium, and comics’ power to convey intense emotional experiences. Comics is a medium for great literature, Eisner seems to say, Do not simply mistake these for the picture-books of your youth.

In 1978 Eisner was the first to conceive of the Graphic Novel format. With its publication he made an argument about comics’ capacity to act as literature. But Eisner was also writing against a second generation of European comics the so-called Bandes Desinee like the Tintin and the Asterix series. These comics were prepared graphically, with empty speech balloons meant for the proper translation. In a certain sense, these comics were a reminder of the factory-style production that prevented institutional acceptance of comics as a medium. What impoverishment of the comics medium could there have been, if such comics remained the standard alternative to street-driven superhero stories of the 1970s?

It just doesn’t seem like comics. Not by today’s standards. In a sense, A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories is not comics at all, it is a manifesto. It is a powerful piece of history and a powerful statement about the comics medium. The thoroughgoing craftsmanship of Will Eisner while pioneering the Graphic Novel form is one of the reasons that today we do have standards to judge comics by.

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