Monday, April 06, 2009

Comic Book Roundup, plus Two-Decade-Old Fake Baseball News

I haven't seen the movie Watchmen, but it did inspire me to borrow a copy of the book Watchmen, which I liked a lot. It's the first time I've actually read one of these much-vaunted darker, more seriously textured comics that have been done recently. (Considering Watchmen is from 1985, I guess "recently" means "as long as I have been able to read" in this case.) It's excellently atmospheric and suspenseful, although in this expanding age of literary graphic fiction I think it comes off as decidedly more comicky. (Mild spoilers below, if you prefer your fiction unsullied with advance knowledge.)

The alternate world it portrays is canny and satisfyingly filled out (if the United States had a transcendently powerful superhero on their side in Vietnam, we would have won, and Nixon would still be president in the mid-1980s, and the Cold War would still be just as perilous); the self-referentiality of the superhero world is sharp and true to itself, rather than just cleverly postmodern. Strong characters carry the story far; my big regret about the book is how much the finale abandons this kind of subtlety, pulling out a big climax that's far less believable (on the story's own terms, I mean) and clumsily revealed. On the whole Watchmen packs a punch, though, and backs up its gloomy atmosphere with some legitimate thematic resonance.

Anyway, highly recommended, along with (speaking of comic books) the adorable chronicles of Moomin, an innocently mishap-prone, hippo-like troll drawn by the late Swedish-speaking Finn Tove Jansson. If your significant other did not give you a Moomin book for your birthday, I can direct you in lieu thereof to the Moomin website, which is in Finnish. The cartoon flits battily from plot point to plot point and exudes a cheerful, rollicking imagination. Also, again, it involves an utterly cute hippo-looking character. I'm trying to tie this recommendation up with some kind of an original point, but there's not much more to it than that.
* * * * *
Late for April Fool's Day: if (like me last week) you haven't yet read George Plimpton's classic Sports Illustrated spoof article about the Mets' supposed Zen phenom of a pitcher Sidd Finch (from the April 1, 1985 issue) then by all means do so, and enjoy.


Post a Comment

<< Home