Cute Things in My Life

One of my best friends has me writing down three things I'm grateful for every day. It's a nice exercise. I post mine; she posts hers; our friends post theirs.

Well, I thought I'd share some of that gratefulness with you all, Dear Readers.

Today I'm grateful for the cute things! Especially my cat friend, Mr. Otis Redding!

Oh, no, is Otis Redding the real William Shakespeare?

And, apples, which are both tasty and adorable:

Eat Us! Eat Us! Eat Us!

And, finally, chair socks. Yes, chair socks!

Note, these chair socks have apples on them!

It would take a lot to beat this kind of adorableness!

What are you grateful for?

The Unwritten -- Mike Carey / Peter Gross

For shame, Shakespeare! You don't write for a month and then you choose an American comic to profile on your site?

Yes, yup, indeed! Why? Because I hold the keys to the squee. Also, because Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross is a geek's delight, much in the same vein as Sugar Hill Gang's Rapper's Delight:

Actually, it's not. It doesn't have anything to do with rap, at all.

What Unwritten has more to do with is literary history, heroes and words. The main character, Tom Taylor was the inspiration for his father's popular fantasy novels about a young wizardy type boy and his two magical friends, a dufus of a boy and a smart girl... Sound familiar? Sure. In the world of Unwritten Tommy Taylor is considered greater than Harry Potter. And, the series author has mysteriously disappeared, so a cult following has grown around the man Tom Taylor, who ends up making his bread and butter attending comicons and signing memorabilia.

Our story begins when the news breaks that Tom Taylor isn't, well, Tommy Taylor. He may have been stolen as a baby or bought or something, but he is not the real, biological son of Wilson Taylor and boy, do folks feel duped!

Tom becomes the target of an assassination plot. He is then kidnapped by a fan gone too far and nearly killed when a mysterious lady shows up to save him. Determined to find out his own true identity, Tom and the mystery lady end up at the castle where his not-father, Wilson Taylor, wrote his famous novels and where Mary Shelly happened to pen Frankenstein, and where a group of horror writers are having a convention, which is also being attended by a by a knife wielding bad guy who seems to have strange power based on words and language.

This first installment of Unwritten is somewhat reminiscent of other comics based in and around already written stories. I'm thinking Fables or even The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I know, I won't step too far into that territory. I don't feel like I'm worthy to talk about Alan Moore. Maybe one day...

Why should you read this? It's literary, so naturally, it's good for you!

So-Bad Sunday! The Legend of Koizumi (Anime)

See this guy? We'll he's the angry, mai-jong addicted former Prime Minister of Japan, Koizumi Jun'ichirou.

I am angry faced! See my rage! Arrrrgh!
And here he is in non-anime form shaking hands with possible alien, and full time weirdo, Tom Cruise:

Your Thetans are doing well in this meat body, Mr. Prime Minister!
Hey, same suit...interesting! In The Legend of Koizumi former Prime Minister (pictured above in both real and anime format) is the target of an attempted assassination. He is shot repeatedly, but does not die...he has a mission to fulfill.

Somewhere off the coast of Japan on what looks to be an American aircraft carrier, Kozumi's assistant watches as Kim Jong-Il picks his nose and chaws on some pigs feet.  Kozumi shows up, despite being critically injured and challenged Kim Jong-Il to mai-jong. Another former Prime Minister joins him and Kim Jong-Ils son (wearing Mickey Mouse ears), sit to play. Then I get really lost. And I'm not JUST lost because I don't understand mai-jong (although I do not understand mai-jong at all). I'm lost because this is dumb.

The premise of this series is that all of the worlds problems are secretly solved/negotiated via a series of underground, top-secret mai-jong games.

And then they make fun of the Chinese for a while. How very Japanese? Meh. It turns out they resurrect a zombie Mao Zedong while Koizumi's irritating assistant continuously pees himself.

I stopped there. You shouldn't have to make it even that far, Dear Readers, just trust me on this one.

Alice the 101st (Manga)

Title: Alice the 101st 1 and 2
Author/Artist: Chigusa Kawaii
Publisher: DMP
Rating 16+ (YA)
Buy it: (2 issues for $8.99)

Chigusa Kawaii's second series Alice the 101st  is a shoot off of much beloved (by me) La Esperan├ža.  What does this mean?

  • Well, lots of her signature wind-blown art. (Where does that wind come from? Aren't they in a room?) 
  • Lots of  sweet-faced school boys dealing with strange new feelings. 
  • Music. 
  • Elaborate backgrounds and bustling city scenes.
  • Discussions about the future. 
  • Crippling self-doubt.
  • Daddy issues. 
  • Guest appearances by Georges Saphir. 
  • One tiny, miniscule glimpse of Robert Jade. 

Aristide Lang (who would like to be called Aristo, but is instead dubbed Alice) is a new violin student at Mondonvielle Music school. Mononvielle only allows in 100 students a year, yet for some reason they bent the rules and accepted Alice as the 101st. Rumors fly around the school, because apparently school boys are vindictive gossips, and although it is first suspected that Alice got in thank to "connections" his classmates soon realize that this oddly talented, barely taught, country-rough, violinist not only has a strange skill, but that his father was an acclaimed violinist who attended Mondonvielle as (duh-duh-daaaah) a 101st student. Alice is out of his element, his roommate Theo thinks he's embarrassing because he plays by ear and can't read music, he's being pursued by an overly optimistic upperclassman named Vick, and he's being harassed by the substitute violin teacher who thinks he's a waste of time. To top it all off the second seat violinist, whom Alice calls Blondie Diamante (I forget his real name, and I like Alice's nickname for him) is a douche bag snob with an out-of control ego who has it out for Alice.

I like Alice. I think he's cute and sweet and adamant. He's playing for love and to get closer to his deceased father who was a virtuoso named Claude Savatier. How can I not like him? He's a diamond in the rough. A kid with talent and heart, who may not be the smartest cookie in the jar, but is still pretty tasty. He is attending Mondonvielle to "meet" his father. The museum in the school houses his father's violin, the "Margo." And in order to gain access to it, and actually play it, he must become one of the best in the school, a rival to oddly sweet, oblivious, and totally weird first seat violinist Maximillian.

This is a good start to a lighter story from Chigusa Kawaii, and I enjoyed the first two volumes. They don't have the same torturous emotional impact as La Esperanca, but very little does. I like that she decided not to compete with the earlier work and instead took it in a different, far more humorous direction. It was a good choice, and it will keep me reading on into later volumes. Another thing that will keep me reading on is the hopes of seeing a bit more of Georges and Robert.

Like this:
Right there under the "Vick!" is Robert. It's a small panel , but I don't care.
Georges had a recital and Robert was there.

It's cute instead of soul-crushing, but sometimes we all need some levity. I look forward to more of Chigusa Kawaii's work, and think this second series of hers is off to a good start.