Happy Chakra Vibes Graphic Novel Roundup #1: The Love Circle

Without going into the gory details, it’s been a negative time both in Book World and Life World in a lot of ways, so instead of bringing the sadness today, I’ll bring the smiles and rainbows and white light beams of positive healing energy and whatnot instead. I’ll get back to hating on various things, I promise. But for now, graphic novel recommends! Share the love and the oms and all that shit. Really.

Megahex—Simon Hanselmann’s chronicle of the (mostly housebound) adventures of Megg, a stoner witch; Mogg, her cat familiar/boyfriend; Owl, their roommate, who is always attempting to defuck his life and always manages to refuck it again; and Werewolf Jones, who is a werewolf and who will stick his dick in your ear. A lot of Megahex involves really stupid, mean, stoned antics—characters falling over, characters throwing shit at each other, characters pulling dumb pranks with their genitalia or asses or nasty feet—but I laughed stone sober, which is no mean feat. And the book takes a turn for the deeper at the end with the “Silver Sequin Miniskirt” story and the death of Megg’s mom. Hanselmann doesn’t draw Megg as the victim of sexy depression that can totally be fixed with a pep talk/dick/sunshine, but as the real deal, and for that I thank him.

These are super fucked up, seedy characters, but I feel for them, I want them to stay exactly as they are and yet make it out alive, two contradictory goals. I always want them to be seeing that dick-slash-ice cream cone in the sky, you know?

Other recommendations: Life Zone, the “Megg’s Coven” strips online (trigger warning: harsh)

Beauty—Coddie is a poor servant in an inn. She’s plain, and it doesn’t help that she smells like, well, cod from scaling fish all day. The village children tease her. The innkeeper’s son would be her sweetheart, but the innkeeper tells Coddie in no uncertain terms that an ugly girl like her isn’t good enough for her precious son… Unhappy and alone, Coddie runs off to the woods, where her tears accidentally free a powerful fairy. Coddie wishes for beauty, and the fairy grants her the appearance of beauty. In spades. Nothing can mar this enchantment—not injury, not illness, not age. Is it really for the best when your wishes come true?

Beauty is truly an epic fantasy story, but not from the point of view of the usual epic hero. Coddie (now Beauty) drives men mad—they see her as a prize, attack her, and attack each other for her. Women are less immediately dangerous, but they fear her and turn on her. A lesser story might end with Beauty “properly” punished for daring to want more for herself, but Beauty evolves from possession to schemer to powerful wielder of glamour. Beauty herself isn’t a saint, thank god—at first, she behaves just like you probably would, if your most naive wish came true at the age of 14 or so, but the story allows her to learn from her mistakes. The art is beautiful from the first page to the last, and there’s even a coda at the end that shows that beauty is really in the eye of the beholder.

Other recommendations: anything by Kerascoet because their art is beautiful and inspiring. The Miss Don’t Touch Me books are from the Hubert/Kerascoet team that did Beauty and they are great if you like 30’s Paris/mysteries/kink, and who doesn’t like at least one of those things?

Shoplifter—The story of Corinna Park, a twenty-something woman who works in advertising to pay the bills while yearning for/avoiding making human connections and art. To add interest to her life holding pattern, she shoplifts magazines for fun. Park really gets across that feeling of professional and personal exhaustion—wanting more out of life, yet so disengaged that nothing seems like a worthwhile attempt. This is a short story and pretty simple, plot-wise, but it’s still affecting. Shoplifter is also remarkable for having a female protagonist who wants romance—but gets a genuinely happy ending without the traditional “happily ever after.”

Other recommendations: You know, I haven’t read anything else from Cho. I’m not sure if he’s done anything else book-length? So I’ll throw this open to all-author recommendations, if anyone wants to give one.

Taking a break for Lupin studies

General radio silence for a bit, but I’ve just finished Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, and really enjoyed it, and also really wanted to link to Vrai Kaiser’s discussion of the series. I’m not that familiar with the Lupin-verse, but if you are you will enjoy Vrai’s knowledge of the older series. And if you aren’t, then you get to learn about a sexy thriller series with amazing art and a leading female character who’s a grown woman and not a martyr or an evil witch! It’s not about 13-year-old schoolgirls with gigantic breasts and short skirts and the nerds who love them!* Because every other anime is about that!

Except maybe My Neighbor Totoro. Maybe.

* OK, that’s not true. Some of them are about 13-year-old schoolgirls with smaller breasts. And the nerds who love smaller breasts.

I Watched This for Free on the Internet: Cat Dancers

New York City was no place to raise a black leopard.—Roy Holiday

HBO documentary Cat Dancers is your basic tale of show business and deadly animal attacks. Ron and Joy Holiday were professional adagio dancers who decided to incorporate big cats into their act as they got too old to do lifts and poses. They toured the country in tight, teensy costumes, while the cats leapt, sat, and growled to audiences’ delight. As the act grew, they accumulated leopards, tigers, ocelots, and a younger man, former ringmaster Chuck Lizza, who became part of the act as well as their live-in lover. The human ménage is less interesting in and of itself than for how it fell apart. One day, Chuck was unfortunate enough to trip backwards while one of the tigers was out of its cage. Apparently the tiger saw Chuck as prey and lunged for his neck; Chuck bled to death. Continue reading →

I Watched This for Free on the Internet: Iranian Kidney Bargain Sale

“It doesn’t feel right. If it were someone I knew, even an acquaintance, I’d do it without pay. I am sure that I wouldn’t feel this deep sorrow.”–Sohaila

Iran is the only nation in the world where a living person can legally sell their own kidney (you only need one, after all). Prospective donors come to a state-run charitable office to sign up. If you’re in the proper age range, pass some medical tests, and are willing to wait out the bureaucracy involved, you can sell your kidney. Nima Sarvestani’s documentary Iranian Kidney Bargain Sale follows both donors and recipients as they go through the process of kidney donation. Continue reading →

I Watched This For Free on the Internet: Little Lady Fauntleroy

“Television is the second best to sex.”–Lauren Harries

Well, in this case it’s a far second-best. Or maybe the sex just isn’t that good.

I was looking for Internet fuckery on a weekday night and ended up watching British Channel 4 documentary Little Lady Fauntleroy. As a child in the 1980s, documentary subject James Harries was famous for being a bowtied, velvet-suited child prodigy who judged antiques on British television—the “Little Lord Fauntleroy” type. He even “wrote” a book about becoming rich through antiquing. She is now famous for being Lauren, a transsexual (who went on Celebrity Big Brother after this documentary’s release). I had seen James Harries in action on YouTube or somewhere and wanted to know more about the life of this scary, tiny Tory being, so yeah, I watched this documentary, which follows Lauren and her messed-up family as they go about their daily lives. And goddamn it, it disappointed me. Continue reading →