The TradeWaiters 46: “Louis Riel” by Chester Brown

The TradeWaiters read Louis Riel by Chester Brown, which gave us a chance not only to meet our Cancon quota, but to dive deep into Canadian history, as well as a discussion on biography and the journalistic integrity of the author. Canadians can look forward to feeling nostalgic over Expos 86 and 67, while listeners from away can look forward to finding out just how interesting (and how grim) Canadian history can get.

Also mentioned in this episode:
Ed the Happy Clown, The Playboy, I Never Liked You, Paying for It, and Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus, all also by Chester Brown.
Canada House directed by Douglas Coupland
Canadian Heritage Minutes
It’s a Good Life If You Don’t Weaken by Seth
Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray
Passchendale directed by Paul Gross
Sparks by Ian Boothby and Nina Matsumoto
Mare Internum by Dershing Helmer
The Amazing Life of Onion Jack by Joel Priddy
and Firebug by Johnnie Christmas

And our own projects:
Phobos and Deimos by Jonathon Dalton
Crossroads by Jeff Ellis
Lunar Maladies by kgros
and Jam’s website

Music by Sleuth.

Our next episode will be on volumes one and two of Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro.

You can also follow the TradeWaiters on Tumblr, Soundcloud, Twitter, iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

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Free Comic Book Day at Cloudscape HQ 1

When: May 5th, 11 AM – 3 PM
Where: Cloudscape HQ, 5955 Ross Street

Did you know the first Saturday of May is Free Comic Book Day? Every year Cloudscape gets involved with activities for the whole family, and this time at our own HQ, we will be:

  • giving away certain of our graphic novels for free
  • having a sale of many of our other books
  • running an all-ages comic jam
  • providing colouring pages
  • and lots of other fun events!

For more, visit our Cloudscape Free Comic Book Day Facebook event.

In addition, many of our members will be participating at Free Comic Day events in other parts of the city, including the Metropolis comic shop near Metrotown and the Delta library.

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Artist calls from the city of Vancouver

Two artist calls from the city of Vancouver have just been announced:

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Artemis Fowl: the Graphic Novel

Review by Matthew Nielsen

An adaptation of the first book of the young adult fantasy series by Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl: the Graphic Novel is written by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano, and colored by Paolo Lamanna. Artemis Fowl  focuses on young genius (aged 12 in the first book) and his mission to restore his family’s wealth. His method of acquiring this wealth is via the discovery and attempted extortion of the LEP and their world. The LEP (or Lower Elements Police) is the guardian force of the Fairy Folk, as well as keepers of peace and order in a secret underground world of magical beings. They are technologically advanced and magical, and because they are able to erase memories and easily manipulate human technology, the Fairy Folk remain hidden and unknown to human civilization. That is until Artemis Fowl shows up. With the help of his immensely strong and tactile bodyguard/manservant simply known as “Butler,” Artemis sets up a plan that, if successful, will bring in a fortune.

The series is mainly aimed towards young adults and has various lighthearted moments, here and there, but it is not without death or violence (but you probably won’t see any of the characters dropping any F-bombs if you get what I mean).

Now,  I find that I very much prefer the original book. The artwork used in this graphic novel, especially the way the characters have been stylized, is not to my liking. The artwork is indeed quite detailed and very well-coloured, but the adaptation is pretty short, and so various things have been quite abridged. I would have preferred a longer book with more story, pauses, dialogue, and pacing. If that would have meant less detail and even no colour, I reckon it would have been more than worth it. Keep in mind I do love detail, but if it’s at the cost of story, then I do not enjoy it as much.

The characters in the graphic novel have been given some strange designs. For example, Butler has an extraordinary neck and the fairy character Holly is drawn noticeably taller than she was in the book. Also, the artist over-emphasized a character’s cleavage for some reason. Still, the way some of the characters have been stylized is not too bad. For example, the character Root was done pretty well, I reckon. Anyhow, it might be nitpicking in the end. We often find disappointments with other people’s interpretations of fictional characters we’ve imagined in our own way.

I read the first two Artemis Fowl graphic novels but didn’t continue after that. As for the original series, I stopped on the penultimate novel, as I was no longer happy with how the series had changed. I recommend most of the series to young adults, especially ages 9-13 or so. Books 1, 3 and 5 are my favourite, whilst Books 6 and 7 I found quite disappointing.

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Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes 2

Red Handed: the Fine Art of Strange Crimes by Matt Kindt is a series of short stories, which all unite at the end, about various unusual crimes (such as serial chair theft, signage theft, etc) and the individuals behind them. Often the stories seem light, even comedic, though there is a degree of seriousness to them as well.

What I liked about Red Handed are the crimes themselves, though some of the motivations of the crimianls I found less satisfactory. The artwork, relying on what appears to be watercolour and ink, seems a tad inconsistent and lacks the sort of clarity or charm that I personally prefer. However, this style might be exactly to your liking. Between the stories there are pages with black panels and mysterious dialogue between two unknown people (we find out who they are at the end). I did not find these scenes all that interesting, and they slowed things down for me. Sadly, I also did not enjoy the climax of the book that much.

All in all, Red Handed is a curious little book, and whilst I found it somewhat lacking, perhaps you might enjoy it. Have a look at it sometime, try one of the stories perhaps, and see what you think.

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Moby Dick

Review by Matthew Nielsen

The original Moby Dick by Herman Melville is, in many ways, a very large book about a very long voyage. It is well known as a tale of grudges and the price of vengeance; the story of the Peequaad whaling ship, their intense captain Ahab, and the mysterious white whale Moby Dick, all seen through the eyes of our main character Ishmael. The cartoonist Chabouté has created a very loyal adaptation of this journey, abridging it where necessary but keeping the majority of the key moments intact. Instead of the full body, we are left with the skeleton and main organs of the story, which still provide a satisfying retelling. As with any adaptation, it is very different from reading the original book. It certainly would be very difficult to match the feeling of that long and contemplative tome that examines many things personal, spiritual, biological, and universal.

What stands out the most in Chabouté’s adaptation is the artwork: harsh black and white portrayals of ropes and sail, man and boat, birds and beasts. On top of that, the character design — especially the faces — are what I find most appealing. The artist is not afraid to focus on a scene by using numerous panels. Where many other artists might only give a panel or two, Chabouté can spend several pages on the exact same event. This allows for a great pacing, and even though the graphic novel cannot live up to the original novel’s great length in it’s entirety, these extended sequences of pure silence and scenery allow for a patient reader to experience at least part of that original timing.

All in all, I strongly recommend Chabouté’s adaptation of Moby Dick to both those who have read the original book and those who have yet to read it. I feel it would satisfy both parties.

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This Saturday, Johnnie Christmas will be signing copies of “Firebug” at Pulp Fiction Books

Where: Pulp Fiction Books , 2422 Main Street
When: March 24, 7 PM – 9 PM
On this Saturday, prominent cartoonist and Cloudscape contributor Johnnie Christmas (Sheltered, Angel Catbird) will be signing copies of his new graphic novel, Firebug, at Pulp Fiction. Drinks and books and good times to be had, see you there!

In Firebug, a volcano goddess named Keegan is loose in the world, and the prophecies are unclear whether her coming will bring humanity’s destruction or salvation. In the shadow of a sacred volcano, from which Keegan derives her powers, lies the ancient city of Azar. Holding the key to the mysteries of her past, Keegan and her friends must get to Azar before it is overrun by a horde of forest monsters. Meanwhile, the nefarious Cult of the Goddess has plans to summon forces as old as time to extinguish Keegan’s flame permanently.

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Save the Rio Theatre!

The Rio Theatre needs your help! Recent zoning changes have attracted the attention of developers who want to buy the Rio and tear it down for a new development project that would leave a big cavernous hole on the corner of Commercial and Broadway for years, and there is only one way to stop them: the Rio needs to buy the building. To do that, they  need to raise a $3 million down payment, which they hope to with $1 million from donors plus $2 million from private investors.

The Rio Theatre is one of the last remaining indie theatres in Vancouver. It is an award-winning live performance venue/single-screen cinema that has become a centre for indie performance arts in Vancouver. If you want to help support the Rio Theatre, visit the Save the Rio Theatre Indiegogo page and help spread the word. There’s  a lot of great perks to buy on their page, such as Rio year-passes, tickets, and various goodies donated by local businesses. More importantly, you’d be doing your part to keeping alive such a pivotal part of Vancouver’s art scene.

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