Myth Adventures!

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Same humour of Girl Genius, but pre-dating it. (I read it on the website.) Totally worth reading whilst waiting to continue the GG series. (It’s based on a book so I’ll try to read after, most likely. Even with taking long breaks; I’ve been busy, I can fall right back into the story-line, remembering all the funny dialogue and characters.) The apprentice Skeeve is taught a short cut in how to travel dimensions after the demise of his previous master Garkin when a “demon” named Ahhz, whom Garkin had history with was summoned and it had gone awry. (It’s making me curious about the original book.)

It becomes more of a romp when discovering the dimension traveler lost his wizarding powers when he was summoned and now he has to use the apprentice’s few powers to help him get back to his own time. Ahhz then offers to take Skeeve on as his apprentice, which Skeeve quickly accepts since Ahhz makes him believe his chances of learning enough to help him overthrow another dimension “bully” are favorable. It’s starting to bring to mind The Animaniacs, as well. With some of the reactions to physical comedy. This is easy to read through quickly. It’s well written and funny, I’m quite satisfied by Foglio’s work thus far.

Ahhz also lets Skeeve know he plans on keeping him on as his apprentice since he takes learning magic seriously, to Skeeve’s great relief. Between the aforementioned though, they are still being tracked by demon assassins and so they make a deal with another deevil to deal with it and make a trade involving them getting into more trouble in a funny way. We then get to wonder whether they’ll escape this mess before even getting out of the previous one. They ensnare the deevil’s help and follow Garkin’s assassins to another dimension to square off. They take said deevil for a chump, but rightly so and continue on their way to locate the assassins. Skeeve then gets to experience an alternate dimension in Deva’s bizarre, (which is the perfect distraction to no more Douglas Adams.) Whilst Ahhz takes in a Pervish meal, he sends Skeeve to go browse some dragons. He gets some trouble there by being molested by a cute friendly one, but also gets himself out of it rather deviously.

It’s the kind of story to bring me back to Howl’s Moving Castle world, as well, which is another I do reminisce about sporadically. It’s nice to have another off-world funny adventure to immerse myself into after this start to an interesting comic introduction.  We then are introduced to a female assassin similar to Zeetha in GG. After everyone regroups, and are introduced, we get a flashback of explanations how Tanda (Assassin) knows Ahhz and everyone else involved. It’s inter-woven and easy to follow. Isstvan reminds me of Adventure Time‘s Ice King, but looks like The Grinch. Hilarious. Not disappointed, more excited to begin the series by Robert Asprin.

Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu (Buddha #1)

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Tezuka starts with background of how people invented certain crudities of humanity. They grew unsettled with their selfish gluttony and began the slow process of being convinced of change and the wait of a new teacher to come. After the introduction the animals introduced are Disney “cutesy”. An old man, saved by animals in an isolated desert begins to try to survive with them. A rabbit sacrifices himself for the old man and then it’s discovered it is a story being told about whether this is a fable or history. Those who figure out the riddle have the power to become a god or ruler of the world. Already this comic is quite philosophical. It’s not abrasive in its way, though. (I thought it quite interesting and easy to read if one wants a break from the norm of super-hero comics. I’m enjoying this story which reminds me of an alternate universe, Avatar: The Last Airbender.) The plot continues to thicken as a boy and his mother are introduced  in an unpleasant living situation and the boy being followed as he tries to make up for a debt due to their master. When the boy locates the thief who stole from him, he is met with a popular Asian insult, at least one which would be popular in the jungle. The boy loses the fight, but only after giving them a run for their money.

The boy (Chapra), is brought to the thief, Tatta’s home where the boy meets his sister and old mother who is trying on his cloth whilst he was unconscious and gets schooled on how they live. Chapra shrares his plight with his mother and Tatta decides to join forces and try to save Chapra‘s mother before she’s sold; this, all in the first chapter. By a little ways into the beginning of the second, there’s a positive occurrence which I won’t go into since I think this story has so much to offer I’d rather give a taste and let future readers decide. There’s also a part which any fan of G.R.R.M. specifically, A Song of Ice and Fire, may like the skin-changer quality Tatta has in this deeply adventurous tale. It then continues on where they run into an army and the General threatens to kill them, so Tatta makes him pay in a way which surprises some in the group. Then more unhappiness occurs from Tatta’s absence and his town suffers.

They all end up running into the monk at the beginning who was told the story about the rabbit and he is searching for the chosen one and is surprised to run into Tatta whom he believes is the one he is searching for. The monk isn’t able to get the army to stop trying to kill Tatta, and they are both strung up for execution. Young Tatta shows valor and bravery at every sign of possible death, it’s quite admirable. Especially for a character resembling Astro Boy (which I learned later is because the author created AB). All seems lost at one point, when being “saved”, comes in the form of a natural disaster. Then Chapra decides to go and determine what’s happening with the army so Tatta becomes a horse which he was friends with and gives Chapra a ride. They run into the General of the army who is in the middle of being attacked by crocodiles and Chapra saves him and takes him back to his company where the man offers him the honor of being his son, since he had no heirs.

So Chapra is on his way to becoming something in the world so he can go back for the rest of his significant others. This story is much more violent than funny, but it does have its moments which are so obviously meant to be amusing, to ignore them one would be disturbed to see some of the experiences considered laughable during this story. Chapra becomes known as the greatest archer in the world which is a thorn in another man’s hide who believes is his title being unjustly taken, so he goes and puts Chapra to the test. Which is also how his buddies ascertain what has become of him so far.

They battle, and it is a close competition. (I wouldn’t reveal whom won even if I did remember, but it was worth it since there’s so much other drama going on it’s a blur as I excitedly read more.) A flashback is then shown, where the birth of a king’s son is related. Whom it was, being revealed by the end of the story. The story then slowly becomes more like Avatar: The Last Airbender again and intrigue continues. It then shows signs of the now typical manga-style. Chapra becomes more powerful and important and harder to see, but is finally introduced to the opponent who wants to put Chapra in his place. Before, Chapra is being followed by someone I will not mention due to story sensitive information. This story, suffice it to say, is twisty and turn-y and wonderful in its detail. An epic beginning and I’m looking forward to the rest. To read my review of the second vol., click here.

Matilda

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I’ve seen the movie multiple times (had even gone to school with Matilda’s little friend in the movie, Lavender.) Out of all this time, I postponed getting around to reading the book which I’ve decided to remedy. It starts off only slightly differently from the film, which is appreciated. It introduces the Wormwood’s and how they “value” their children. I do have to say, once getting to the library with Matilda we fall back into familiar territory, until of course Dahl reveals Matilda’s reading list at the age of FOUR! A little downside is Matilda’s father being skinny what with my being used to thinking of him as Danny Devito. It’s still quite funny and I’m quite pleased with the differences however so slight they may be so far. Matilda has more mischievous fun in the book as opposed to the movie, which I liked. There is a wonderful line in regards to the father’s accidental hair-dye job, as well which was bloody hilarious and should’ve been added to the dialogue of the movie.

Miss Trunchbull’s description was spot on and Miss Honey, as well, if not the actress being a bit older than described in the book, she pulled the character off well. Also the original character of Miss Trunchbull may have had a darker beginning than being led to believe, since this book is for children, it can’t be expected to learn about a possible early “de-flowering”. Otherwise, the adaptation stays fairly close to the original, but continues with a fresh (possibly since I haven’t seen the movie recently) and entertaining way Dahl has of describing his lovely (and otherwise) creations. I’m also starting to prefer the book over the movie, only because of how the characters are represented in a slightly different light and knowing everyone speaking should have a British accent is making me wonder when or if we can ever look forward to a U.K. Matilda film. I’d be intrigued since I still like the American version, but it may have been “dumb-ed” down to cater to what we believe is humorous to children on a basic level.

Little big Brucie’s experience is also changed into something less dramatic as the film. It’s still fun, but the support for him is a little different and mysterious. It ends a bit on the missed opportunity side for Dahl with the joke they added for the kids in the film after Trunchbull loses her temper. She’s also represented as more capable of holding herself back when she wants to (however small a way it is), which is the main difference from the movie character who’s portrayal was much more of a brute who throws children everywhere of all ages, which she may have done, but only for the flares of temper which have no chance of being held back. Trunchbull’s experience with the newt wasn’t utilized for its comedy as much as it was in the film, but a closer inspection of Matilda’s power is given; After the incident, it should have been more known in the film the kids getting to hang out in the playground for the rest of the day due to the high stress situation was put upon them. Which then leads into a key moment in the movie when Matilda fails to tip the glass over a second time, which was inexplicably changed since the opposite happened in the book. Miss Honey is also much more poor than the film lets on or can allow in some cases since in the book, Miss Honey doesn’t even have running water but uses a well.

Although now I think I understand why whomever may have changed the order of events in the film since if Matilda had to wait to show Miss Honey her ability, the talk in her cottage would have taken a different route as well; apparently Miss Honey had an innocent ulterior motive. The film does give the story much more drama for certain. It also took the liberty of giving Miss Honey her nickname from her father. Also when Matilda begins practicing her power, the original item used would definitely have been frowned upon if considered “kid friendly”, so at least it was a bit more entertaining to see how they did it in the film. A more distinct idea how long it takes Matilda to perfect her power is mentioned and another big difference is Matilda’s dazed reaction when using this power. It lessens in the film I suppose to keep the character free to interact and stay present with what happens whilst she’s “trouble-making”. However it doesn’t add the bonus of other teachers reactions to the Trunchbull’s surprising condition when found after Matilda’s joke.

The specific message Matilda writes on the chalkboard the movie provided is also left out, but it doesn’t affect the positive outcome or flow of the story. An afterwards of sorts which fills in what the message did to Trunchbull though is provided: scaring her so much, she packs her belongings and bolts, but also allows the will of Miss Honey’s father to be found somehow and of course then having her rightful inheritance returned to her. Also, instead of Matilda keeping her wonderful gift, Miss Honey comes up with the explanation which, now Matilda has moved up in class and being challenged properly, she no longer needs or has the attention to use the power anymore; regardless though, Matilda didn’t miss having it. She also is side-struck by her parents swift packing as she comes home from a late visit with Miss Honey to discover they’re moving, so she runs to Miss Honey to give her the news. They both go back to ask the parents for permission to allow Matilda to stay with Miss Honey, they hastily agree and see them race off into the sunset with Mike in the back, Matilda and Miss Honey hugging it out in the drive. An acceptable version, I now understand why the film was updated for the out-of-date way they went about some legalities, like adoption papers, but it was a great, quick, fun read and I’m glad I finally got around to it. To read my review of, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More.

Squee’s Wonderful Big Giant Book of Unspeakable Horrors

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This one begins with Squee awkwardly praying on his father’s behalf. Wanting only he getting whatever he wishes and offers God all his money in payment or thanks, whichever is cuter. Later in the night Shmee goes missing, and when Squee goes to investigate his whereabouts he discovers him outside his bedroom where he meets some scary looking aliens. They don’t wish him harm, but once the aliens learn the child’s parent’s may “have been damaged” whilst trying to “restrain” them, they start fighting over who’s allowed to do their human experiment on him. Eventually, one group tricks the other into believing a stuffed masked-avenger changed form from little Squee and unfortunately isn’t even missed when he comes back after what seems is an extended period of time.

I’m so happy to report Squee is given a little evil friend called Pepito! By his mother anyway, otherwise he is known by many names of evil (reminds me of some people I know. I am so much happier with the reading of this comic so far and I’m still fairly near the beginning, it’s still dark, but so much more tolerable for the cute little rounded-headed boys struggling with terribly adult scenarios.) Squee has some extremely disturbing nightmares for one so young as well. Once he talks to a dream version of Shmee where we learn he’s been absorbing poor Squee’s anxieties and extreme terrors; I definitely agree with the last panel ending, since he does make the simplest of observations which are also quite true: Squee has gotten used to his constant terrors. This is sad, but now he’ll be able to cope with all the crazy nonsense which will what sometimes, seemingly gets worse with age. At least he’ll be prepared, or forget, as do many children. Also Vasquez periodically puts little blurbs on the sides of panels to either explain or commiserate on the horrendous scenes he puts little Squee through. (I skimmed over the Wobbly Headed Bob and True Tales of Human Drama, etc. comics. Some are amusing, but I’m in it for Squee.) He’s too apple-faced adorable. (So once reaching the second Prologue-like thing, I read a few and quit it.) Squee all the way! For my review of, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac.

Lets Explore Diabetes With Owls

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As soon as I start, Sedaris doesn’t disappoint with his descriptive and hilarious deadpan, humorous style. Playing into the typical American outlook of wanting to have “serious” doctors, and treated with a certain gravity we’ve become accustomed to. He accompanies the humour with odd tales from his personal life, some of which are unsettling, but quite entertaining. Sedaris does make a valid point about today’s parenting, however in his second story. Parent’s treat their children extremely on the verge of being slaves to the child. “They did not live in a child’s house, we lived in theirs.” Which Mike from NoFx said about his daughter with his wife. They wanted a child they could share their lifestyle with, but I’m pulling two similarities where none need be. Although this second story proved funnier than the first.

The third proves Sedaris showing what seems his disenchantment when having to hear of people’s possible over emotion about a loved one’s death and they dying too young. Sedaris proves when one is young and from a large family and possibly only from his era, there’s a better chance of one being able to prey on people’s weaknesses and avoiding attention if you’re clever and don’t get overcome by self-loathing and being a praise-stalker. Wistful ending, quite introspective. Oh, my gosh, the next story tripped me out; it was so funny how stereotypical Sedaris made me believe “his” Black girl’s were. He brought me right into his classroom with Delicia, so hilarious! Also he and his siblings relationship with their Grandmother is so unique and again made me laugh out loud. He also has such dramatic outbursts at the age of fourteen with his mother I wondered whether they actually happened the way he describes them sometimes, they are certainly funny to imagine, at least.

Again, Sedaris has made me fall for his funny story ploys are so obvious he seems to want me to giggle at them. A description of his best friend’s mother: “In a neighborhood of stay-at-home moms, Shaun’s mother worked. A public-health nurse, she was the one you went to if you woke up with yellow eyes or jammed a piece of caramel corn too far into your ear. ‘Oh, you’re fine,’ Jean would say, for that was what she wanted us to call her, not Mrs. Taylor. With her high cheekbones and ever so slightly turned-down mouth, she brought to mind a young Katharine Hepburn. Other mothers might be pretty, might, in their twenties or early thirties, pause at beauty, but Jean was clearly parked there for a lifetime.” David has a way of making these stately declarations. They’re the little laughs one gets because they are so wildly recited. Another essay is out-rightly sad if one loves animals and especially endangered species and feels bad about a child losing their father at an early age. Still entertaining, it’s the unfortunate situation of having the “information at your fingertips” “trouble” again. Then there’s a short “rant”, I suppose deals squarely with the Lord-ah. It’s realistic enough anyways, so in a sense was entertaining. I do look forward to saying whatever lie taught me on Pimsleur, as David experienced; It was a good laugh, as well. Also if one ever comes across the chance to ask a German if they are from Minnesota couldn’t sound any more enticing.

While Sedaris does sound more wistful compared to his other books, I think he’s trying to work through the memories surfacing which aren’t as hilariously upfront as others, and perhaps trying to remind himself to live in the now, because his life sounds pretty good to me, and I think he’s trying to convey he realizes this, too. Then David shares a story about his father when his sister Gretchen moves in nearby him to await a college admission acceptance letter. The story proves on the darker side of female’s and dealing with night assault. His father brings him on “rape” runs to locate the guys who keep going after Gretchen, nothing comes of it, but David’s outlook proves bleak in regards to his current situation, which was working as a clothed model for a college on a severely minimum basis and feeling like he’s stuck (I can relate). He stayed “stuck” for 3 years, but obviously it was temporary.

Just a Quick Email is a short and exceedingly funny scenario characterization. It reminded me of two morons who are continually trying to make themselves my personal pair, who may even be able to relate to parts of it (they do love a good “shout-out”), at least in the case of the drunk-driving *wink wink*, but I do digress.  Another story had to do with David’s lack of ability at fighting, when relating a story to a straight man whom he incidentally had interest in, he relates the story of his failed fist-fight attempt. Now I can also appreciate Sedaris’ reasons for all the wacky and odd questions to fans and most anyone: He’s a note-taker which I can appreciate. He also gets extreme discomfort from having his picture taken, probably an insecurity he feels unnecessary to “work” through, which I can understand. Why be more uncomfortable on the job? The stories still get better when we learn more about David’s first boyfriend and how racist Americans still seem to other countries; Hilarious unto itself. Sedaris’ perception on how French people have a self-satisfactory tone in their voice when they show how they approve of America choosing Obama for President, I have to wonder if it’s only because it’s been so long since we’ve had a positive, intelligent seeming leader. He also reveals he thinks the French, or whichever European people are jealous we got the half-Black President first. The whole theory is entertaining.

Sedaris also has a strange situational essay about a character dealing with gay marriage in an extreme way. Mostly weird, a bit funny. If anyone knows the show Oddities, understanding will arise quickly in one of David’s later stories in this series where he’s in a taxidermy shop and is presented with definite oddities, one including the head of an approximately 14-year-old girl from Peru was around 400 years old. I suppose the main downside of traveling to China would be all the phlegm and piss/poo makers in the street/bathrooms. It sounds nasty and coupled with the theme of food, begins to sound less than inviting. The essay after makes fun of people outside the periphery of intelligence and so begrudge Obama for seeming to talk down to them. It was a pretty entertaining short essay. Also while harbors righteous anger towards slow-pokes it seems he hasn’t mastered the ability to verbalize to said slow-poke what their dumb problem is; I could be of so much use in that department by now, I could make so much money.

Sedaris, who is a diary-addict, can’t seem to stop himself, nor would we want him to, since I believe it would mean less to no more books from him. Where else would we get strange anecdotal stories about whichever strange family or close friend he has? (I’d end up missing them.) He takes the “women” way of fighting and has put an O.C.D. twist on it. Since he writes everything down, he can go back to an argument which started years before and states his stance on it to his boyfriend, which of course is even harder to make a fight end if it’s with someone with “passion”, but seems so ridiculously over-the-top I can only imagine someone bursting out laughing at such a reaction. Unfortunately, possibly due to age, he has the “age-old” view of pot-smokers who, whilst a good source for a joke, not so much when it’s necessary about remembering a trip to Greece is a concern. Too bad he hasn’t run into some with intelligence, but when regular intelligence is so hard to uncover, how can one expect someone to wait for a specific variety. *Sighs* Life. I guess he hasn’t delved into stand-up comedy much. Not necessarily the best source for the intelligent comedians, but for the collected few, which is all I can hope for; and to discover a 7-year-old kid who would look at a guinea pig and marvel at its size by repeatedly and incredulously saying, “Jesus, will you look at those? Christ Almighty. Someone should take a picture.” I mean, come on, I’d appreciate the mentioned candor over the dull diatribes I hear people spout behind me in lines all day every day.

Now it’s my turn to take the Lord’s name in vain though, because Oh my God the next essay is funny to any who has either watched the BBC or knows Britain on a more personal level. David recounts another personal experience involving his father, at which point his extreme fascination with British terminology is shown. Oh, and when Sedaris’ laptop and bag are stolen and his passport was in the pocket of the bag, one of the funniest stories. Plus, David doped up on anesthesia makes me want to laugh and laugh. Also, if one doesn’t want to end up like Michael Jackson, take Propofol with care. I can’t say I’m thoroughly disappointed with this addition to David’s books. The fact he ends with a dog version of “There once was a man in Nantucket…” and make it sound more dirty and clever and then make me think it could mirror the rhythm to the Jim Carroll Band – People Who Died is a feat in itself. Gold-star, Sedaris.