Thursday, February 21, 2008

! - page eleven

You know, I haven't read many reviews of Yuichi Yokoyama's New Engineering that say anything beyond "It was weird. I liked it." (or sometimes, "I liked it, it was weird"), but Ryan Tokola manages a step better in his review of the book
He makes some good points about the "architectural" treatment of the stories and the role that the incidental material plays in the reading experience which only really touch on part of what makes this book really great.

And it is great, but like all great thing it's not always obvious why. Sure, the character design is "out there" - that's cool. There's a stylish, otherworldly disconnect throughout. And the omnipresent "sound effects" give the stories amazing tension - but fuck all that, really (isn't that just a hyper stylized version of what happened whenever Adam West socked Cesar Romero in the jaw, after all?) It's the treatment of "story" that blows me away here.

There is nothing so much as plot - or characterization - or dramatic tension/resolution here (not in any traditional sense). What we have instead are finely choreographed construction scenes, or battles, or whatever... that ultimately lead... nowhere. These are narratives- sure - but not "stories." And yet it's as engaging a read as any you'll find in comics. It reinforces a belief I have that runs counter to what so many express - that "telling a story" is not necessarily the be all and end all of all comics. Yuichi Yokoyama conveys his message without the traditional constraints of storytelling that everyone says are so all-fired important.
His book, and comics as a whole is better for it. New Engineering is a fantastic, and important, and challenging work.

That is to say, It was weird. I liked it.

(Link to the review via Derik because I keep forgetting to read Guttergeek myself)

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