Thursday, March 3, 2011

Manga for the Comics Guy - Gantz Vol. 1

I'll just start with my idiot moment. I was reading the first part and was not sure if I liked it or not because I was mostly confused. "Maybe it's a cultural thing," I thought. "Could be the translation," I pondered. But overall, I was interested in the story. So I get to part two and the following page when it hits me why I'm so confused.

I was reading it backwards! Didn't realize I was supposed to be reading left to right. So that was my facepalm moment. Now, on with what I actually thought of it.

So far, I am intrigued by the story. A brief synopsis, if you haven't read it. Two boys jump onto subway tracks to save a man who has fallen. The train comes but they don't get out in time. They then appear in a room with several other people and a mysterious black ball. Are they dead? Eventually, the ball gives them instructions that make them believe they are on some bizarre reality TV show about hunting aliens. Basically, it's a little bit like Lost, but before Lost and hopefully with a real ending instead of some ridiculous copout where they reveal they've been lying to the audience all this time and wasted my time on this damn show and never really answered any questions and. . . . ok, I'm back. Sorry. Back to Gantz.

There are moments of pure cinematic poetry in this. Unlike most Western comics, I get the sense that Manga writers, or at least the writer of Gantz, Hiroya Oku, take their time telling a story and are not afraid to linger on moments. Much like Asian cinema, scenes of long pauses or slow motion action (in a comic!?) are a great way to get you into the scene and set up atmosphere and emotional resonance. I like this.

On the other hand, HAHH, and this could be a translation issue, HAHH, there is one glaring annoyance, HAHH. It gets a liitle, HAHH, tiresome and takes me out of the, HAHH, story when every little "HAHH," which I guess is supposed to be heavy breathing, is spelled out.
Reminds me of something. . .

Art wise, I like the clean lines. There's nothing that really stands out, which is not a bad thing. The art is there to tell the story, which is acceptable. There aren't any big splashpages for the hell of it.

All in all, I look forward to reading on. I believe there's a movie of this, which should be interesting to see later. In the meantime, yesterday was new comics day. Among them, Sweet Tooth #19, by Jeff Lemire, who also takes his time setting up atmosphere and emotion in his stories. Check it out.

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