FACE PUNCHING SCENE!!!!!!! As bad as I feel for Alistair getting the snot knocked out of him, this page was a lot of fun to draw. Fight scenes are hard and require planning, but they’re a nice change from talking scenes, which is most of Friends With Boys. I like hand drawn sound effects in fight scenes a lot, and I particularly like the one in the 4th panel. That one’s nice.
Couple of things: so good news, weekend readers who are sad about the lack of Friends With Boys updates on Saturday and Sunday, there will now be updates then! Yes, we’d decided to speed up the updates since the publication is soon, so the comic is now going to 7 days a week! Crazyness! I was actually pretty thrilled when changing the update schedule was suggested, as Saturday mornings are usually the only mornings I have for leisure internet browsing …. and usually they’re when the internet is pretty boring. No one updates on a Saturday. So it’ll be nice to have some action on the Friends With Boys site. I hope you guys will enjoy it too, and remember to check while in your jammies waiting for your pancakes to finish cooking. ;) So yeah, Friends With Boys, 7 times a week starting this weekend!
Oh, and again, if you’re enjoying the comic and have made up your mind you’d like to buy it, please do pre-order! Pre-orders are very important, and if you’d like to support the comic (and me! I like eating), please consider doing so. The information for pre-ordering (and links to various places where you can do so) can be found here.
I finally have a little time to write about my favourite comics of 2011 … comics that are not Fullmetal Alchemist. 2011 was definitely the year of Fullmetal Alchemist (I started reading it Christmas 2010), but I’ve already written plenty about that series. So these are the OTHER comics that I really enjoyed last year. Please click on the Read More if you’d like to … well, read more. ;)
So anyway, hands down, my favourite non-Fullmetal Alchemist comic of 2011 was ….
… Finder by Carla Speed McNeil! Specifically Finder: Voice, the graphic novel first published this year.
I met Carla briefly at New York Comicon 2010. She was on a panel I was watching, and afterwards I wandered over to talk to her, saying I’d heard good things about her comics, but hadn’t read them (haha, I’m sure she loved hearing that, as all cartoonists do! Terrible). She mentioned that Dark Horse would be publishing the entire series in an omnibus format, so I thought it was high time I started buying her work. But first I got my paws on Voice. It’s not always the best thing, diving into the most recent volume from a long running series, but Voice entranced me. I felt like was like falling into another world, where I was sort of lost, but there was also a little bit of the familiar here and there, so I never felt … quite completely overwhelmed. Finder: Voice is about a teenage/young adult girl struggling to find her place in society, and wow, even though Rachel lives in this crazy science fictional universe with clans and domed cities and phones implanted in your hands … I really felt her journey in the sad little part of me that’s still a messed up teenage girl. There’s one line about being the thinnest girl in the room, and if you are, you win. (Win what?) It doesn’t matter, you just win. That really … just, yeah, wow. That just nailed something in me.
Anyway, even if you’re not a teen girl and were never one, you’ll still love Finder: Voice because it is AWESOME COMICS. I love character driven science fiction a lot (Pluto by Urasawa remains one of my favourite mangas of all time), and Voice was a startling good example of such. Characters moved through this vast futuristic cityscape and as you move through the city with them, it’s like you’re only peering at the tip of an iceberg and the rest of the story is covered by the ocean. It’s weird and fascinating and scary in parts … I really, really loved it.
The Finder Library books came out in 2011 as well (here’s number one, here’s number two), and I bought and enjoyed them both. It’s great to see an artist’s work grow and develop over time, but Carla kinda had it all since the beginning. Her artwork becomes incredibly assured and accomplished very quickly, and I felt myself get sucked into the story (there’s a particularly … hah, gruesomely truthful story on being a creator in volume 2). Really, really great comic making, and now that the entire story is in these great little omnibus editions, you have no excuse not to check them out. So do so!
Other comics I enjoyed:
Cross Game, by Mitsaru Adachi
I don’t give a crap about baseball, but this wistful sports manga actually made me care. The first volume is very slow moving (so slow that it took me a while to pick up the 2nd volume), but the story and characters grow on you a lot.
BPRD: Plague of Frogs, by Mike Mignola, Guy Davis et all
Like Finder, this is older work (although not a new re-issue), but it was still one of my favourite reads of 2011. I’ve been reading BPRD in trades for a while, but finally got around to buying the giant hardcover of the first Plague of Frogs story arc, and daaaaamn, is it good. And such a great way to read the stories, in that one very handy (and not very expensive) book! I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about BPRD, but I really love it. I love the whole ‘team investigates the supernatural, is a little supernatural themselves’ set up, and Guy Davis’s crazy drawings are just perfect (I’m very sad he’s apparently moved on from the book). If you tend a little more towards the horror side of things, you’ll dig this book. But honestly, I’m really not a horror person and I love it to bits. It just goes to show, if you have good writing and good characterization, you can even get people who aren’t really into your genre to read your genre book.
Hm, what else? Oh, Princess Knight! I really enjoyed this re-issue of Osamu Tezuka’s classic manga, up until about the final third of the story. Then the story went in a weird direction and disappointed me. Oh well. But the first two thirds of the story was great.
I also really liked A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori, and Saturn Apartments by Hisae Iwaka. There was only one volume of Ooku by Fumi Yoshinaga out this year, but I enjoyed it very much. Yoshinaga continues to be one of the most intelligent and provoking manga artists, and I wish we had more like her published in English. Seriously, can someone bring Planetes back into print, please? D: 20th Century Boys by my man Urasawa continues to be batshit insane, and I’m enjoying the crazy ride quite a bit. Hope the ending is as insane as the journey.
What I’m looking forward to in 2012: Raina Telgemeier’s new graphic novel Drama! Hope Larson’s graphic novel adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time! The conclusion of 20th Century Boys! Maybe getting a new Paul Pope comic? Hasn’t he been working on Battling Boy for about 12 years? That’s long enough! Becky Cloonan & Brian Wood’s take on Conan! Finding something to replace the Fullmetal Alchemist shaped hole in my life? Man, I wish. DRAWING HUNDREDS OF PAGES OF COMICS!!!!
It’s gonna be a great year.
So what’d you enjoy in 2011?