[media] - Mangarific - Next Exit vol 1 and Bizenghast vol 2

Jun 11, 2006

So I stopped by the comic book store this evening to pick up Christy Lijewski's Next Exit vol. 1 BUT while I was there, Bizehnghast vol 2 caught me by surprise! I didn't even know it was out yet! 0_o I was more than happy to pick them both up and I read them both when I got home. HEARt!

Next Exit - Vol. 1

[Sorry I stole the image from your servers, Christy! ^_^;; Amazon.com's photo was wrong and I couldn't find it on SLG's website :( :(

This is a series I had been following in its monthly form. It's by the lovely and talented Christy Lijewski aka nyanko-chan and is probably one of the craziest comics I've ever read. Summary: Retrab and Markesh are two humans trapped in Alkaline-- the world of the psyche. In Alkaline, most of the inhabitants are figments, long-forgotten memories that have manifested in the form of people, places, and animals. For a human, it's a strange and hostile place to live. Retrab and Markesh's only hope is to find an exit-- a way out of the world.

The story may seem familiar because Christy is one of the winners from Rising Stars of Manga#3(OUAAH?? They're already up to 7? ;___;), she won with her short story Doors, which has the same characters as Next Exit, and the same world, but she assures us it's not the same plot :) Her RSOM victory also gained her a contract with TokyoPop to create Re:Play which comes out in August! But I want it NOWS! aagh

The dialogue is wonderfully contemporary, yet it somehow belongs in the strange world of Alkaline. The art is gorgeous... Christy's artist strengths are with 3 things: style, fashion and the mens. So if you like the mens, Christy's definitely one to check out. ;) She really pulls Alkaline together in the backgrounds, you really have to pay attention to pick up on all of the jokes! I was kind of disappointed when I got home and realized that the first volume only collects the first six chapters... or in other words only one chapter after I stopped picking up the monthlies due to flakiness. :( To a newcomer though, it's a wonderful collection and I was more than pleased to re-read the chapters.

I think the most plot-revealing chapter was probably the last chapter in the collection, but overall the largest complaint I have with the series is the pacing. There is so much allusion to the plot and the details, but it seems to take so long for any plot to be revealed. Even after six books, I have no idea who Retrab and Markesh are, why they are in Alkaline, what Alkaline is, how they met, and who else is a human or a figment?? I'm fairly impatient, but I still felt the question-to-answer ratio was way too high.

All in all, It's a wonderfully enjoyable read and I anxiously await the next edition. Maybe I'll even get motivated and try to convince my local comic store to order me in the back issues I've missed :)

Bizenghast - Vol. 2 (website)

Summary: Bizenghast is a sleepy New England town where there is seemingly not much going on. Dinah and her aunt moved there after her mother died because it was quiet... Dinah has a troubled mind. She has fits and visions of things that may or may not be there. The boring town of Bizenghast got a lot more interesting, though, after Dinah and her friend Vincent fell upon a mysterious graveyard. There Dinah became ensnared in a spell-- she must come back every night and put malicious spirits to rest by solving the puzzles of their tortured psyches-- or face the consequences.

I loved Bizenghast vol 1. I mean loved. Yeah I was anticipating a lot, and yeah I went to the comic store specifically for it, but I really didn't know what to expect, and I was blown away not only by how amazing the art was (I expected that), but how amazing the story was. There was tremendous depth and creativity to it. Plus it was the first book that I had read in a long time that had visuals that actual scared me!!

So, I have to say, I was kind of disappointed when I read Bizhenghast vol. 2. Miss LeGrow's (aka SadWonderland art thrives in details, so some of the more detailed costumes and locales were still gorgeous... but it seemed like the rest of the panels were somewhat... rushed? Like she was trying to get to the next detail shot-- the rest of the panels be damned. She also does all of her inks in the same single width of rapidograph... which looks GREAT on her ink-rendered detail pics but doesn't look good at all with her hasty character shots :/

But not only did the art take a hit... the story seems to have suffered as well. The story was very disjointed, the dialouge was superfluous and at times confusing, and it lacked the mystique and intrigue of the first book. Learning a little bit more about Dinah and her house was interesting... but we learned little, if nothing at all, about the world she had been dragged into. Gone were the elaborate riddles and beautiful clue-giving gravestones, replaced with haphazard storytelling that only sometimes made sense. It was even hard to tell when they had *solved* some of the mysteries, and why.

It felt like everyone adored book one and was putting ridiculous pressure on her to get book 2 out- no matter what. She included some photos in the back of her book of her wonderful cosplay. The woman who helped me at the comic book store remarked "Yeah, her costumes are beautiful but I really wish she had spent less time working on them and more time getting the book out faster, y'know what I mean?" But I disagree. Asking Marty to give up making her dresses in order to be a better comicker would be like asking me to give up comicking to be a better engineer. It could be done... but at what cost? It's not worth it.

Miss LeGrow... please don't give in to the pressures of the publishing world... Take your time with volume 3, I will still buy it in hope that in can recapture the genius of volume 1!