This is a comic book/kind of graphic novel by one of the animators of Bojack Horseman. This story as it is takes place in a Wild West setting and our hero Coyote Doggirl is being pursued along with her horse by “guys” as she states. She takes off running from them, and as they pursue more and more weird little occurrences happen to her. The humor in this is book is subtle and weird and kind of arbitrary in funny ways. There’s no real story to talk of and the story takes odd and funny turns throughout. There’s also a lot of little moments where there’s a breakdown of the form of the novel as she narrates and illustrates other elements from the story. So the effect overall is that we are looking at a storytelling form, both graphic novels and the Western, and breaking the walls around both and taking in a lot of the details from both all at once. Sometimes when I read graphic novels anyway, I take in too much visual information at once or none at all, and the result is an attempt to capture the whole of the whole story in one fell swoop and often not getting much of either.
In some ways, this novel does the same thing.
This is a collection of graphic shorts by a series of different artists and writers. Each takes on not only the concept of faster than light travel, but specifically faster than light travel by way of DIY garage physics. What is successful about this collection is that there’s variations on a theme and so multiple different angles and ideas are explored. In some, there’s a broad amazing scope of a story and in others there’s almost no story whatsoever or maybe simply a little single moment where something that could go wrong goes wrong. It’s a way of having both and all happen at the same moment and still feel like every idea is explored fully.
So sometimes these collections don’t work because the stories are way too disparate and disconnected to be put together in the same space, but the focus of this collection, both the DIY aspect and the small budget aspect of everything almost makes it feel like we’re all living in the same story, like it all holds together like a novel. It doesn’t quite because it’s not a novel but it almost does.
I can’t say that I liked this one very much. We have a new world in which aliens are very much part of everything we know and the more and more we spend time with them the more and more they seem to be affecting our own sense of humanity and makes sets us off as distinct.
So the book itself is simply taking place within the context of that world in the kind of transitional parts of things.
So the reason why I don’t think I liked it very much is one, I didn’t think the art was great. And also I thought that things didn’t quite work in ways that I found super interesting.
It reminds me a lot of the Xenogenesis novels by Octavia Butler in terms of how the genetic destinies of different species melded together, but that book involved the necessary horror we would experience as a consequence. I don’t mean horror in terms of violence and the like, but the repulsion and horror of seeing that melding happening. While there’s lot of xenophobia happening here in a lot of people’s reactions, and people here, just kind of seem cool with it. And maybe we get or got there, but it feels missing here.
Black History in Its Own Words
A great Twitter concept that doesn’t work as a book for me. This is a collection of powerful quotations by prominent Black figures discussing issues and topics within Black history, Black culture, and Black life paired with art supporting the quote and a brief introduction to the speaker.
Like I said, ultimately this works as a Twitter feed because you can link to articles, videos, wikipedia pages, and all kinds of other supporting context-building resources to expand the knowledge of this speaker. But as a book, the limits of print, and especially the limits of decontextulized quotations are in full and limited display. It’s like having a book of Google doodles without the ability to click on the links provided. So you’re left with a quotation that doesn’t offer further reading or analysis. And worst of all, a handful of these quotes don’t make sense on their own or without broader context. At least one I don’t think makes sense at all as it’s presented. And maybe it does if you’re more knowledgeable than I am, but then what is the purpose of the book if you have to know things about the quote not provided to understand it?