Sunday, July 24, 2016

Multiweek Round-UP: July 4th - 24th + Robin Ha's Cook Korean book launch

I can't explain why sometimes posts don't happen, usually I fall behind early on in the week and then things pile up and sometimes I don't even fall behind for a good reason, it's just "the world is too overwhelming". Totally not just a blog thing either, my Otakon to-sew list hasn't changed much since early June, I think I need to come up with some new coping mechanisms.

But I have gotten some posts out recently, I actually even did get one out this week over at OASG where I talked about the first volume of the cosplaying manga Complex Age. I'd heard good things about the manga, saw it at Fantom Comics when I was there a few weeks ago for Robin Ha's book launch (I'll talk about that at the end!) and I practically bought it on the spot (I didn't, and spent the entire time in line for the signing thinking about it and went back for it at the very end, certain folks know that they are to blame). I also published a review on the first volume of Wandering Island and I don't think this was up in time for my last round-up but I also published my first editorial, The Social Life of Jellyfish: How to be Stylish and Nerdy. I've never really considered editorials since I don't have enough to publish on a regular basis (and if the fact that being behind on one post for the week throws me off majorly doesn't tip you off that I like having a schedule, well then) but OASG is a pretty good place for it since Justin seems to have plans to try and make me write more of them. We'll see which other ideas flesh out well enough though.....

As for here, well there's been a lot of anime-manga stuff reviewed as well. I talk about seeing When Marnie Was There, the summer season of anime, the new Voltron show (which all of my friends and I agree totally counts as a fujoshi show, very anime, although I feel like true fujoshi anime have way less vitrolic shipping wars than this show does), and the honestly-not-anime-inspired-but-putting-it-here-anyway, Cleopatra in Space's first two volumes (a reboot of the webcomic I know I reviewed before, Cleopatra in Spaaaace). 

Oh and I also reviewed two disappointing romances in a row, Inherit the Stars and The Game of Love and Death. Since romances usually bore me (in multiple ways, I just don't get anything out of a romance-first book) I do try to stay away from them but I didn't realize it when I was requesting these books, although I really should have for the book that has "love" in the title (didn't even mention in my review but that book even included one of my very specific, disliked tropes where Helen of Troy is mentioned only with regardless to her "epic, failed romance", should have been another sign that this wasn't going to be the book for me).

Okay, onto the book signing! 

I believe I first found Robin Ha's work at SPX 2014 since I know I was already familiar with her tumblr, Banchan in Two Pages at SPX 2015. I had seen that she had expanded the blog into a full cookbook (which is simply titled Cook Korean!: A Comic Book With Recipes) and, since she's a local, the book launch was held at Fantom Comics, the same place as The Nameless City book launch! 

Ideally you want to only buy cookbooks from people who you personally know can cook well/has the same taste as you, since someone can write a good book but season things just differently enough that you won't like the food, and I can assure y'all that Ha cooks very nice Korean food. She had already prepared bibimbap (think sushi) to pass around and after she and the other comic artist, Dave Kelly promoting his series Tales of the Night Watchman, spoke she had a cooking demonstration where she made bokkeumbap (Korean fried rice which is essentially the rice version of my "everything left in the fridge omelette"). I hadn't been sure if I would pick up the book or not before I got to the event but once I flipped through it there I had to. I really love her art in the book, the comic recipes are bright and fun and her watercolors of food are lovely, I had been holding off since I just don't have access to a lot of the ingredients for cooking. With more recipes though there are more things for me to try out (I've been eyeing the basic pickling recipes) and while I was there I heard some other folks chatting about where they get some of these ingredients so I have more options that way too!

Like Faith Erin Hicks' talk this crowd tended towards the younger side (I'd say nearly everyone was under 35) and it was a very friendly crowd. While Ha was cooking, one of the store owners asked what the weirdest thing she, or anyone in the audience, had ever included in her bokkeumbap and Ha answered pasta which I thought was weird enough (there have been some leftover nights when I have combined pasta and rice and I have not enjoyed it) but then someone else in the audience said raspberry yogurt! ("It was college.") It's a really good thing that these crowds are always so friendly considering how jam packed these events are, if you've ever seen photos on facebook they really don't convey just how crowded things are. Fantom comics is a small store on the top floor of a row of old fashioned row-buildings and these crowds take up the entire front half of the store, it was almost more than the air conditioning could handle on a hot day a couple of hours before the sun went down. But with good vibes and food (and a classic "well this isn't juice" moment) it's more than manageable and I'm really happy that Fantom has so many events, even if I don't make it out to many of them! 

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