Ben Towle’s “Midnight Sun”

June 20, 2009
The cover features Biagi, the Italian radio operator and one of the major characters

The cover features Biagi, the Italian radio operator and one of the major characters

“Painted Smiles; Written Words” was not made for ‘comics’ in the most typical sense of the word. It was made specifically for one shots or miniseries, for stories that break the mold of what you typically think comics to be. Nevertheless, I recognize that lately the posts have been Marvel and Superheroes and everything you immediately think of when you think ‘comics’. And I’ll tell you right now that the next three updates are likely to be Batman story arcs, because I just read them and I am incredibly impressed with them. But they’re not really why I created “Painted Smiles; Written Words”.

“Midnight Sun” is.

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“Scott Pilgrim” by Bryan Lee O’Malley (vol 1-4)

February 17, 2009
The hero himself.

The hero himself.

“Scott Pilgrim is dating a high schooler.”

That’s how the award-winning Scott Pilgrim series begins- with that single, fantastically ridiculous line. A line that single-handedly began my favorite comic series, and spurred a costly, terrible obsession.
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Brian K. Vaughan’s Runaways

February 12, 2009
The Runaways, Volume 3

The Runaways, Volume 3

Brian K. Vaughan continues to surprise me. First with the beauty of “Pride of Baghdad”, then the intrigue and complex plot of “Y: The Last Man”, and then the raw action and fantastic superhero storytelling of “Runaways”. When I discovered the series was created by Vaughan, and later worked on by Joss Whedon, who has recently gained my respect, I knew I had to check it out and was pleasantly surprised to find them at the library near my school.

“Runaways” is based on a single, universal truth: Parents lie to their kids. They lie a lot, about everything. They are not to be trusted. And they are evil.
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Bryan Lee O’Malley’s “Lost At Sea”

February 3, 2009
Raleigh; your average girl without a soul

Raleigh; your average girl without a soul

Anyone who knows me knows that in almost any conversation revolving around graphic novels, one name is inevitably going to come up. At some point, the floodgates will open and I will start singing the praises of Bryan Lee O’Malley as if he were the personification of all things good and comic-y.

It’s true, he may be my favorite graphic novel artist and writer out there (with Brian K. Vaughan running up there in the writing category), and there were a good three months in which I found myself unable to talk about anything but O’Malley and just how very much in love I was- and am- with his fantastic Scott Pilgrim series.

But this week I’m not here to talk about Scott Pilgrim, one of my favorite graphic novel series’ of all time. Instead, I’d like to talk about O’Malley’s first, slightly less famous, publication with Oni Press: “Lost At Sea”.
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“Pride of Baghdad”

January 26, 2009
Brian K. Vaughan and Nicko Henrichon

Brian K. Vaughan and Nicko Henrichon

From the first time I heard about “Pride of Baghdad” I was intrigued. A graphic novel based on the true story of a pride of lions released from the zoo during the bombing of Baghdad? Just the cover captivated me, (since every copy I saw in stores was wrapped, this was often all I got a chance to see), the eyes of a male lion staring out beneath iron bars and rubble. I had wanted to read it for so long, but always made excuses not to buy it. But over winter break I discovered, overjoyed, that Borders was having a Buy One, Get One Half Off special with graphic novels, and used this as the excuse to purchase “Pride of Baghdad” and the hardcover edition of the first two volumes of “Y: The Last Man”- both, I realized later, written by the fantastic Brian K. Vaughan.
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Christian Slade’s “Korgi”

January 23, 2009
So sweet it gave me diabetes.

So sweet it gave me diabetes.

Last semester I was given the first two “Korgi” books by Christian Slade. I deemed myself too busy to read them at the time and slipped them into my desk, where I promptly forgot about them. After returning this semester, I realized that I had accumulated way too much clutter left over from the previous semester, and made room by cleaning out my desk, at which point I found these little books with such adorable covers. And, although I could think of better things to do (Math, Arabic, Final Fantasy…) I decided to sit down and check them out.

You would think that by now I would stop doubting Peter’s recommendations, he being the man that gave me such fantastic obsessions as Amanda Palmer and Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, among others.

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Art Spiegelman’s “Maus”

January 19, 2009

Maus

I purchased “Maus” shortly after recovering from The Crow. I found it, as luck would have it, for sale at one of my library’s book sales. (Lucky me, I always got first dibs at the sales since I worked there.) Unlike “The Crow”, I had heard of “Maus” previously and knew the gist of the story: a retelling of the Holocaust, which portrayed the Jewish people as anthropomorphized mice, and the German Nazis as vicious cats. Though this was all I knew about the story, I was interested. I liked the idea of the simple, seemingly childish portrayal being used to tell such a devastating story. However, I was largely unprepared for how powerful the story was. Read the rest of this entry »