31 October 2008


So... this is probably the comic I took the longest to finally check out, except for maybe Watchmen. It doesn't make much sense since I'm a fan of Neil Gaiman and this is pretty much his seminal work. I think the main reason I put it off so long is that it's a dang huge story. Something like 75 issues, most of them 25 pages long. Dang is it worth it.

It still took me a long time to read it. I started out borrowing the Absolute Edition from a friend, which was entirely amazing, but he had to take it back before I got half-way through the first volume because he had to move. So I managed to get it some other way. The version I got was not the Absolute Edition, so it wasn't quite as pretty and not always very high quality either, but it was still very enjoyable. Neil Gaiman is an excellent story-teller, and in this instance he's telling stories about stories about stories. So great. The cast of core characters is just brilliant. There's a whole lot of ancient lore weaved into it, like the Norse gods and faeries and whatnot, not unlike Gaiman's American Gods novel. That makes it especially interesting.

Possibly an even cooler thing is the tie-in with the rest of the DC universe. The Sandman character is actually sort-of based on an older DC character that I don't actually know much about. A few lesser-known characters pop up, and in one panel Batman and Clark Kent make a cameo. That was a real treat.

In essence, this is really a collection of stories, not just one. There were several that really stuck out to me. The one I remember the best is the story of the Emperor of the United States of America. That one really got me emotionally involved for some reason. Some immigrant, disillusioned by the so-called opportunity, is at his wit's end and begins to fall into the clutches of Despair, who challenges Dream (the Sandman) to keep him from her. He accepts the challenge and grants the man empirical rule of the country through a dream. Of course no one really accepts this rule except for him, but it keeps him going and makes him loved by many. In the end, Despair never gets him and he helps a lot of people. The ending really almost pulled some tears from my ducts.

So, it's a great thing. Anyone who hasn't read it should. Now I have to start reading the extensive collection of spin-offs.

23 October 2008

The Graduate

I first heard of this film in a documentary or some such about Dustin Hoffman quite a few years ago. I'm not sure why I saw it. I think it was after I saw Rain Man. I didn't think about it at all until a few days ago when it turned up in some lame list about movies where the protagonist's main goal is to get some tail, and they expend a lot of effort to get to that goal. I might include a link to that list later. I remembered that it's supposedly held in high esteem, so I checked out imdb to make sure and discovered I was right. So I watched it.

Great movie. It's really not what I expected. I knew about the MILF seductress thing, but that's about all I knew. I had no idea how much Simon & Garfunkel's music was intertwined with it all, and most of the plot was unknown to me at all. Dustin Hoffman was great; I can't really relate to a lot of it, but his performance did get across the emotional maelstrom that I'm sure most people have experienced quite well. A lot of it was funny, some profound, and a good amount pretty darn ridiculous. It's got the whole coming-of-age deal which is usually fun.

I think possibly the best part of it all was the music. It really gave me a new appreciation for Simon & Garfunkel; The Sounds of Silence is such a fantastic song. I need to listen to them more. A featured review of the film on imdb stressed the perfection of the music in the context of the characters, especially that particular song. A lot of the time Hoffman goes around oblivious to the sounds around him, seemingly shutting out all of the confusion.

I enjoyed it.

05 October 2008

Y: The Last Man

I just spent about 4 hours going through the second half of this series instead of working on a huge project that's pretty much due in a couple days. That should give an idea of how good it is. Tomorrow's gonna suck.

The story isn't really an original one. This dude Yorick is the last dude alive on Earth; that is to say the only male. Except for his monkey Ampersand, of course. For a reason that's never fully exposed throughout the 60 issues, every mammal possessing a Y-chromosome died simultaneously, leaving the women to clean up the bodies.

What I really liked about it, aside from the somewhat gratuitous lesbianism and occasional well-drawn nudity, was the core group of characters and their relationships. I suppose that's what pretty much everything is about though. Yorick himself was great; constantly spouting off pop-culture references all the time and rarely getting a response.

I don't really have a whole lot to say at this hour, so I guess I'll stop. Maybe I'll write more later.

Now is later. So, it really was a great read. Pretty long too. I'm a fan of post-apocalypse stuff so it was right up my proverbial alley. I think I like the fact that you never really really find out what definitely killed all the guys; instead you're given a whole bunch of possibilities to choose from. Being science-fiction, a lot of these choices are pretty out there, but fun to think about.

Okay I guess I still don't have much to say. It was good. I'll leave it at that. Read it.