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Archive for February, 2011

Written by Denise Liu

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, Vol.1:
Pterror over Paris & The Eiffel Tower Demon

Jacques Tardi (w+a), Fantagraphics, 2010 English translation.

Originally published as Adele et la Bete, and Le Demon de la Tour (1976, Sud-Orient).

Read if you like: mystery, adventure epics, dinosaurs, French fiction, anti-heroes, comparing the book to the movie, carriages careening off bridges.

It’s said that you can’t judge a book by its cover. I guess we all need to be reminded that ugly people also have worth, feelings, a soul yadda yadda, but the relation just doesn’t stick for me. As an ugly person, I am offended that anyone would even presume that I have a soul. Quit looking for my redeeming qualities!

Sincerely now, the quality of a book’s cover design is absolutely crucial to piquing my interest while I’m browsing for the next read. Is anyone else here a sucker for Chip Kidd’s work? He had nothing to do with this book but, it seems that from the other reviews I’ve read, one look at this cover might tip you off as to whether or not you’ll like the Adele Blanc-Sec stories. It’s an 18th-century French woman with a pistol taking on a charging pterodactyl, for crying out loud — either you’re already appreciating the parody of adventure comics, or you’re going home… or back to the uggies’ corner (totally not judging). Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #95: February 23, 2011

Posted by Comics On February - 25 - 2011

Amazing Spider-Man #655
Dan Slott (w), Marcos Martin (a), Muntsa Vicente (c), Marvel Comics.

I heard an interview with Dan Slott on World Balloon today in which he said that Amazing Spider-Man #655 was the best thing he had ever written. After reading it… fair enough, this is a phenomenal book. Starting out as a tribute to a recently-departed character the book evolves to become a monument to Peter’s guilt. It works very well and gives us a great sense of the weight that Peter is always carrying inside him. There are plenty of nods to the character’s long history, but not in a way that that I felt overwhelmed (despite only having read the book for the last couple of years). At the end, though, the character comes to a decision that makes the issue feel like it was building to something, rather than just wallowing.

What puts this issue over the top, though, and what makes it one of my favourite issues of Amazing Spider-Man EVER (I’m not exaggerating) is Marcos Martin’s artwork. It perfectly captures the melancholy feel of the story while at the same time feeling lush and beautiful. The opening sequence shows how even a place as familiar as one’s home can suddenly feel sad and lonely after the loss of a loved one. In fact, the sequence reminds me quite a lot of Chris Ware’s work, another artist that can bring out the sadness of everyday rooms. There’s one double-page spread that I expect is going to get most of the attention from this issue, and with good reason. You’ll know it when you see it, since it’s jaw-dropping. I keep turning back to look at it again and again. Read the rest of this entry »

Brecht Evens’ Night Animals Reviewed

Posted by Comics On February - 25 - 2011

Night Animals
Brecht Evens (w + a). Top Shelf

By Georgia Webber

It’s difficult to review something that you love. The constant worry is that your gushing and incessant use of the words “brilliance,” “genius,” and “orgasmic” will make the reader think that someone is paying you for your writing—and we can’t have people thinking that writers get paid. Especially not when they’re reviewing books released by fat-cat publishing houses with an anti-consumer agenda and the pocket book to pay for it. Please. Is there nothing sacred?

Well, actually, there is. It’s art. And not just art of any kind—it’s good art.*

That feeling you get when you see something that completely speaks to you, works that grab you by the heartstrings and say “you’re alive!”—priceless. And by priceless, I mean that it transcends our fictitious game of hot potato, passing around money like it would scald us if we kept it for too long, not that it shouldn’t be paid for; there’s a difference.

So good art is for each of us to define. Who can tell you which books grabbed your heartstrings and which tried to grope your bra straps but you? Why should you take my advice? Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Wild Abandon and See Bob Run

Posted by art On February - 22 - 2011

David Gingerich in Wild Abandon. Photo by Jess Griffiths.

Wild Abandon and See Bob Run
By Daniel MacIvor
Featuring David Gingerich and Julia Nish-Lapidus
Directed by Eric Double
Presented by Theatre Caravel
February 17-19 @ Unit 102 Theatre

By Jeff Maus

Theatre Caravel’s presentation of two Daniel MacIvor one-act plays was held at the Unit 102 Theatre behind the Parkdale liquor store. The small theatre’s lighting consisted of a flashlight and four lights controlled with hardware store dimmers. The audience sat on kitchen chairs on a riser at the back of the all-black room. This setting worked well with the funky DIY quality of the productions.

David Gingerich starred as Steve in Wild Abandon. This play is something like a Zoo Story with us as Peter, the straight man watching the mania. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: The Middle Place

Posted by art On February - 18 - 2011

Cast. Photo credit: Aviva Armour Ostroff

Theatre Passe Muraille and Canadian Stage collaborate to produce Project: Humanity’s The Middle Place
Written by Andrew Kushnir
Directed by Alan Dilworth
Set and Costumes by Jung-Hye Kim

Runs until March 12 @ the Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs

By Daina Valiulis

What is life like in a youth homeless shelter? The Middle Place offers a glimpse. The script, culled by Andrew Kushnir from 450 pages of transcripts of interviews by the members and staff of Rexdale’s Youth Without Shelter, allows these people to speak openly about their experiences and the sensitive topic of homelessness.

But, while a solid piece theatrically, The Middle Place keeps to the middle of the road in terms of its message, which is where the piece is weakest. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #94: February 16, 2011

Posted by Comics On February - 18 - 2011

Amazing Spider-Man #654.1
Dan Slott (w), Humberto Ramos (p), Carlos Cuevas (i), Edgar Delgado (c). Marvel Comics.

There’s a problem in mainstream comics — not many people are buying them.

Marvel and DC need more readers. Flat out. So, here we are with yet another halfhearted attempt to gather attention. Instead of trying to gather press attention, or make new characters, or reach out to any kind of person who wasn’t already buying comics, we get another effort that remains entirely in the fan base. I sure didn’t see any articles about this comic that weren’t on a site that’s dedicated to comics, did you? Did they honestly expect someone on the street to hear about this “Point One” project, think “I would like to buy a comic” and then actively seek out a comic that has more complicated numbering than usual?

And, on top of all that, in this issue, if they were looking for a comic about Spider -Man then they would be picking up the wrong comic. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #93: February 9, 2011

Posted by Comics On February - 11 - 2011

Batman and Robin #20
Peter J. Tomasi (w), Patrick Gleason (p), Mick Gray (i), Alex Sinclair (c). DC Comics.

The most recent stuff I can think of to attribute to Tomasi is his work on Green Lantern Corps, and it’s easy to take for granted what a fantastic job he did over there. Since the last million issues or so have been stuck in Blackest Night crossover mode, I forgot how he built on the past of Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, and other fan favourite characters, growing them together in ways that can only please the fan base. I remember (now that I think about it) one story where Bolphunga the Unrelenting (an old Alan Moore character) showed up to duke it out with Guy Gardner. Great stuff.

Now he’s starting up his run on Batman and Robin and there are no real crossovers to deal with. Thanks to hindsight, it’s now obvious that this was going to be an amazing issue. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Divisadero: A Performance

Posted by art On February - 10 - 2011

Justin Rutledge as Coop and Amy Rutherford as Bridget. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Necessary Angel in association with The Film Farm presents
Divisadero: a performance
Adapted by Michael Ondaatje, Daniel Brooks, Liane Balaban, Maggie Huculak, Tom McCamus, Aviva Philipp-Muller, Amy Rutherford, Justin Rutledge and the company
Written by Michael Ondaatje
Directed by Daniel Brooks
Runs until February 20 @ Theatre Passe Muraille’s Mainspace

By Daina Valiulis

Lights up on a young girl in a doorframe. A sliding door shifts to cover her while at the same time revealing an older woman in the door frame next to her. This is Anna (Maggie Huculak): first the younger version, then the older, crossing the division of the door to tell her story.

Adapted from the Governor General Award-winning novel by Michael Ondaatje, Divisadero tells the story of three people growing up together and the cracks that divide them from each other, the outside world and themselves.

Anna is born to a farmer (Tom McCamus) whose wife dies days after giving birth. In addition to raising Anna, the Farmer adopts the more rough and tumble Claire (Liane Balaban), a girl who is an orphan from the same town. The girls are brought up as sisters; they develop into adults with all the little jealousies and rivalries sisters have. Coop (Justin Rutledge), the final addition to this mixed family, is the neighbour’s boy who, at the age of four, lost his parents to murderous hands before his eyes. He works on the farmer’s farm, acting as older brother to the two girls. Read the rest of this entry »

Sanctum Reviewed

Posted by film On February - 7 - 2011

Sanctum
Directed by Alister Grierson
Universal Pictures, 2011

By Sean Kelly

It can be forgiven if anyone had the mistaken impression that this film was James Cameron’s directorial follow-up to Avatar. Nearly every ad I’ve seen for the film has started with, “from James Cameron, creator of Titanic and Avatar.” I suppose this isn’t the first time a film has been sold on the executive producer’s name – Steven Spielberg and George Lucas being the prime examples. Here, the greatest contribution Cameron made to the film was the use of his 3D camera technology, which probably still creates the most state-of-the-art 3D effects available. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Oleanna

Posted by art On February - 6 - 2011

Sarah Wilson and Diego Matamoros. Photo by Bruce Zinger

Oleanna
By David Mamet
Directed by László Marton
Starring Diego Matamoros and Sarah Wilson
Runs February 3 – March 5 @ Soulpepper Theatre

By Jessie Davis

Upon entering the Michael Young Theatre, the asymmetrical, discordant office set reminds the audience that nothing is what it seems. In keeping with this theme, we’re introduced to the professor and his student. Unfortunately, these crucial first moments that should give the audience context are instead filled with lines like, “yes, but-” and “can’t you-” that are completely infuriating and disorienting. In fact, it’s doubtful that either character completes a full sentence in the first ten minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #92: February 2, 2011

Posted by Comics On February - 4 - 2011

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1
Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen (w), Keith Giffen (p), John Dell, Scott Koblish (i), Hi-Fi (c). DC Comics.

This whole book chronicles the rise and fall of a new Emerald Empress — wait, a new one? Whatever happened to the old one?

Having only really just gotten into Legion of Super-Heroes during the Mark Waid “Three-boot” or “Earth-Prime” Legion book, I sometimes forget that everything I know is wrong. I think it’s a credit to the creative team on the recent Legion book that I’m only just now thinking about this.

To help us readers they’ve included something pretty fun: Legion History The Board Game! Posted at the back of the book, it’s both chronology and whimsy, hitting the major beats of Legion history. A good one is “Ferro Lad sacrifices life to save Earth from Sun-Eater! His courage propels you one space.”

Here’s one that winks hard at the fandom: “Time Trapper killed by Infinite Man! Lose or gain a turn for this? The debate still rages.” Personally, if I landed on the space, I’d gain a turn. Everyone else can lose it. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Eternal Hydra

Posted by art On February - 1 - 2011

David Ferry and Liisa Repo-Martell in Eternal Hydra. Photo by Monica Esteves.

Eternal Hydra
By Anton Piatigorsky
Directed by Chris Abraham
Featuring David Ferry, Sam Malkin, Liisa Repo-Martell and Cara Ricketts
Produced by Crow’s Theatre in association with Factory Theatre
Runs until February 13 @ Factory Theatre

By Jen Handley

Appropriately enough for a work that explores different manifestations of plagiarism, Anton Piatigorsky’s Eternal Hydra, whose remount by Crow’s Theatre opened last weekend, is an extremely quotable play. One of its characters, a James Joyce doppelganger named Gordius Carbuncle (David Ferry), tosses around quips such as “nowadays writing has little to do with being an author” like clockwork every couple of minutes. But the sharpest one-liner of the night, delivered by a character who never gets much credit as an author—“why bother to walk in someone else’s shoes if you can buy them off her feet?”—momentarily pins down two of the play’s central concerns. Eternal Hydra not only questions the validity of dealing with art as property, it questions whether the vicarious knowledge we get of another person’s experience through art can ever be completely true to the real thing. Read the rest of this entry »

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