Friday, October 26, 2012

Comic Review: Manga Man

Guys, next time I'm sick please keep me away from the library, I obviously have no restraint and will even check out books I've passed by before/heard meh reviews about. Which was this book, I swear I've heard this premise elsewhere before and I really hope that they at least pulled it off in a more humorous fashion.

Manga Man written by Barry Lyga, illustrated by Colleen Doran

Summary: Ryoko Kiyama was living a normal life (for him anyway) when he falls through a rift into another world quite unlike his own. He looks different, special effects follow him around, and he just generally doesn't fit in. Marissa Montaigne

The Good: There were a few funny gags that had to do with Ryoko reading the story from right to left instead of left to right and therefore he would do something before he was supposed to, too bad I'm so used to reading both ways that I automatically switched and it took me forever to figure out that that was the gag.

The Bad: Looking at the author's bio it seems like he's worked on purely American comics before which, while not a bad thing, seems to show since the entire work can be boiled down to "ha-ha, manga is so silly!" without any mention of how weird, well, every other kind of comic can be. Also, the way I had heard the book pitched was that a manga character falls into a western comic book world yet, while that is the case, that reveal doesn't come until really late on and a reveal that comes that much later after the readers have figured it out is frustrating. As for the actual plot, it was dull. It was a love story (and I just noticed that Marissa's last name looks an awful lot like "Montague," wonder if that was on purpose) where neither character really got fleshed out and the conflict magically resolved itself at the end. In short, it felt like a half-baked idea that got cranked out over a few days and probably would have been less terrible if more time had been spent on it. 

The Art: Yeah yeah yeah we know, manga always has really weird chibis and special effects compared to the oh-so-normal looking American comics, wait, really? The last title I can remember with tons and tons of chibis in them was Magic Knight Rayearth (and I feel like some other works by Clamp employ more chibis than usual) but these days it's rare for me to see super-deformed characters outside of a beat panel (where someone is delievering a punchline). It's true that my tastes go more towards older shonen/shojo or outright seinen/josei but regardless, that didn't make me get any less annoyed at the "manga" art. It was fun when the characters started playing with the panel edges and such but the art also was the kind of western style which is trying to be more realistic but does so by making it look like the artist traced real faces for each shot and then added too much shading. It's a style I've never really been fond of so that certainly didn't help it out in my eyes.

So, nope, don't recommend this to anyone unless you really want to read something bad while having a drinking game or something. Man I hope that last book I checked out (which I won't even be talking about until December) turns out better than this one.....