Cloudscape Comics is calling an official Special General Meeting for all Cloudscape Comics members on Wednesday April 5th, 2017 at 7:30 pm to vote on whether Cloudscape should give itself charity status. This would allow us to seek new grants, and receive more donations from individuals and organizations. If you want to participate in this vote, we’ll see you on the 5th.
Only a few days are left in Cloudscape’s latest Kickstarter: for Jason Turner’s Fir Valley and Sean Karemaker’s Feast of Fields. If you want to grab this surreal graphic novel explorations of the West Coast, then stop by the Field and Valley Kickstarter page.
Remember, this weekend, Cloudscape will be at the Creative Ink Festival along with numerous other writers delivering a wide variety of workshops, panels, and talks on numerous aspects of the writing craft. Cloudscape member Bevan Thomas will be participating in various panels as well as giving a workshop on writing for comics. For more information, visit the Creative Ink Festival website. Hope to you this Saturday!
Review by Matthew Nielsen
There are several manga Bibles out there, including Manga Messiah and The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation, and they are different enough from each other that I might write articles of each of them some day. However, for now here’s The Bible: A Japanese Manga Rendition, which features various contributing artists.
If you’re curious, I was raised a casual Christian, and turned myself into a more serious Christian during my youth before becoming agnostic and finally atheist. During my Christina period I sat down and read the entire Good News Bible. It took me a very long time, but I read it all. Since reading the Bible, I’ve been fascinated by adaptations of it, including animated stories and graphic novels. These can serve as a kind of synopsis or super-abridged version, and I like revisiting and re-studying the biblical tales.
So on to the manga Bible itself. This graphic novel features a wide variety of contributing artists and covers such prominent Old Testament stories as Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, Saul and David. And then it moves on to the New Testament with the life of Jesus. Among the many things this manga Bible left out include various Judges, prophets such as Elijah and Elisha, all the minor prophets, and basically everything Old Testament after David (including the Judah/Israel split and the various exiles). The New Testament leaves out stuff too, such as Paul and the Book of Revelation. So you won’t be getting a full shorthand for the entire Bible here, despite this comic being well over 550 pages in length.
Personally, I’d have expected a manga, of all things, to be able to work with the amount of material the Bible supplies. Have you seen how many volumes of One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto they’ve got out there? Looooads! But then again, I reckon there are a lot more people out there willing to buy twenty volumes of One Piece than of a Biblical manga. Still, it’d be interesting to see a full-length manga adaptation. It’d be a job with a lot of work though.
Despite a lot of stuff being left out from the original source material, this manga Bible actually adds some new things to the story! For example, there’s a scene in which Moses hears that he was adopted, and we then see him trying to cope with this heavy information in his room. It’s nice little extras like that which add more personality and feeling to the stories.
Various of the Old Testament scenes are drawn humorously, with exaggerated expressions and actions. There are also moments that leave you thinking “That Tower of Babel is looking preeetty flat.” It can feel strange to see over-the-top manga expressions in a biblical story. But overall I like the Old Testament artwork, and it certainly gives you a feel of the place, putting you right there in the action. All the clothes and buildings certainly have that “Biblical times” look to them.
And then there’s the New Testament. I honestly don’t know how many different artists worked on this book – it did not say within the book itself; it mainly just said that it was by “Variety Art Works.” Despite not knowing who the main artists behind this particular project were, it still does feel there was one group working on the Old Testament and another, very different, group working on the New Testament. I didn’t much like the New Testament art at all. Well okay, there was the occasional panel that was good, but most of them looked pretty bad, especially when it comes to facial expressions and construction.
So that’s accuracy, story, and art covered, but here’s one thing I rarely discuss: printing! Yes, there are a number of errors with how this book was published and printed. This includes grammar mistakes, repeated words, print that comes off the page, and incorrect numbering. My library copy even featured someone’s annotation in which they scribbled out a page number in pencil and wrote the correct one next to it. Later publications may have fixed these errors, but the edition I got clearly needed a lot more editing.
So that’s pretty much all I have to say about that. In short, this manga bible takes some of the highlights of the Bible, and puts them together in a manga story, first with good artwork and then with not-so-good artwork.
If you’re interested in getting to know Bible stories a little better, or if you’ve already read them but just want a little refresher course, then this manga Bible might be your cup of tea. Even if you are not that interested in the Bible, it might be interesting to take a quick peek to see how these artists drew all these different characters and stories.
The Tradewaiters are back! Jess Pollard joins Jon, Jeff, Jam, and kgros for a discussion on Paper Girls volumes 1 & 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. Join us as we talk about eighties nostalgia, book design, the pacing in floppies, “progressive edgy,” and Matt Wilson’s gorgeous colours.
EDIT: Jonathon would like to apologize for mixing up Warren Ellis and Frank Miller. Minus ten points from Hufflepuff for such a slanderous error.
Also mentioned in this episode:
Human Target, Beware the Creeper, Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre, and Green Arrow/Black Canary, all drawn by Cliff Chiang
Y: The Last Man, Saga, Ex Machina, Runaways, and Pride of Baghdad, all written by Brian K. Vaughan
Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch
Iron Fist, Bullseye, and Old Man Logan, all written by Ed Brisson
Intervals by Kalen Knowles
Contact by Carl Sagan
Chained to the Rhythm by Katy Perry
and Fir Valley by Jason Turner and Feast of Fields by Sean Karemaker, both on Kickstarter right now.
Music by Sleuth.
Our next episode will cover volume one of Vattu by Evan Dahm.
Cloudscape Comics is calling an official Special General Meeting for all Cloudscape Comics members on Wednesday April 5th, 2017 at 7:30 pm. Though we have recently had our Annual General Meeting, this Special General Meeting is necessary for voting on a special item: charity status. Cloudscape has been given the opportunity to change its status from being a non-profit to a charity, which would allow us to seek new grants, and receive more donations from individuals and organizations. If you want to participate in this vote, we’ll see you on the 5th.
Review by Matthew Nielsen
99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style by Matt Madden is an exercise in taking a simple one-page comic and reinterpreting, reinventing, and even reincarnating it in many different ways. The template comic is 8 panels long. It depicts a man working at his desk, heading downstairs, answering a question from his girlfriend, and then opening his refrigerator. Pretty straightforward, right?
However, the ways in which Madden adapts this template comic make each reiteration feel very different. These changes include simple perspective switches (such as the characters’ girlfriend’s point of view), rearrangements (making anagrams of the template’s speech text), stylistic changes (turning the whole thing into a single political cartoon), tributes to other artists, changing the emotions of the characters, changing the narration technique, and so many more.
Whilst the book is technically 224 pages long, there are only about 99 pages of comic; the rest is reserved for text and the titles of the sample itself. This was a wise choice, as it gives each example its own space and allows the reader to fully experience each version properly.
99 Ways is definitely worth a look, and will most likely provide some good laughs. I’d also highly recommend the book to any artists who are either highly experimental or explorative in their styles, as 99 Ways provides many different points of inspiration. To learn more, visit the author’s website.
Cloudscape has a new Kickstarter! As part of our continued efforts to publish single-creator works, we are happy to announce that we will be publishing two new books this year: one by Jason Turner and one by Sean Karemaker. We’re Kickstarting them both at the same time, so you can either back just your favourite, or get both great graphic novels at once and save on some shipping costs.
Feast of Fields is a black and white short graphic novel by Sean Karemaker chronicling the hardships of his mother’s early years in a Denmark orphanage, where against insurmountable odds she cared for her mentally ill mother and her three young brothers. Featuring Sean Karemaker’s signature form of storytelling, Feast of Fields explores the idea of comics without panels, weaving a continuous flow of art from one page to the next, telling the story through precisely placed text and images that evoke emotions where words cannot.
Fir Valley is a full-colour mystery-thriller graphic novel with supernatural elements. Set in a small town nestled in a valley, surrounded by BC’s iconic northwestern mountains and forests, Jason Turner’s newest book takes full advantage of his ability to weave David Lynchian oddity into the everyday. The result is a story where the ordinary and the surreal blend seamlessly together. Jason Turner is best known for his graphic novel series True Loves, written with Manien Bothma, and we’ve all been looking forward to his next project.
Check out the Field and Valley Kickstarter for more information and sample pages from these books.
As part of one of Cloudscape’s current comic projects, we are going to be interviewing a refugee who speaks Arabic. If you can speak Arabic or knows someone who can, and would be willing to serve an interpreter during this interview, please let us know. You can contact executive director Oliver McTavish-Wisdom at [email protected]
Reviewed by Matthew Nielsen
Palestine by Joe Sacco takes place in occupied Palestine and is set over the course of two and half months in the winter of 1991-1992 (around the end of the Second Intifada). This graphic novel is a fusion of journalism and comics that explores the country through a series of experiences, interviews, and slices of everyday life during the time Sacco stayed in Israel and Palestine. If you’re looking to hear a Palestinian side of the Israeli-Palestine conflict as told by a Maltese-American journalist-cartoonist, then this is your chance.
I feel that the journey Sacco takes in this book is told well and in great detail. Not just in the words written, but in the cartoons drawn. The way people are portrayed is quite stylized and caricature, but as the book goes along, the art begins to feel a bit more realistic as the mind adapts to it. The style really works well in many scenes, conveying the numerous feelings that take place throughout the book. Furthermore, inanimate objects such as vehicles, weapons, landmarks, etc., are often drawn with strong detail and remarkable accuracy.
Palestine: The Special Edition adds 32 additional pages that provide a very informative “Behind the Scenes” sort of deal. I find this sort of thing fascinating. In these extra pages Sacco expores numerous things, such as his experience in Cairo before heading into Palestine, times he was scammed, and excerpts from his journal.
I tend to skip introductions until after I read the whole book first. I have found time and again that introductions (and even the synopsis, at least in the case of an edition of All Quiet on the Western Front) can contain major spoilers, damaging the biggest thrill of reading a story first-time. It’s certainly true with the introduction to Palestine. So just a head’s up there.
All in all, as a great piece of writing and artwork, I recommend this graphic novel. When it comes to Palestine as a piece of politics, that’s up to you. For more information, visit the website for Joe Sacco’s Palestine.