Erstwhile Muse

Feb 24, 2005

My Faith in Black and White

Being that's it's still awfully fucking cold out from time to time here in Ohio, I am more often than not likely to take the bus home after a long day of classes, both the clothed and unclothed kind. I have been doing my best to ride down in the morning and get myself a little exercise, which is why I've gotten my time down to about 40 minutes for a one way trip, but fuck all if I'm riding back home when a toasty warm fossil fuel burner can carry me that way, at least until it warms up some more. The only problem with this plan being that most of the time I am usually finished at around the half hour mark of whatever particular hour we are dealing with, and the number 18 bus leaves on the hour from Broad and High, leaving me with time to kill. I have developed numerous ways to deal with this eventuality, and one of them involves the proximity of the main branch of the Columbus Public Library.

Up on the second floor, right near the stairs and just outside the well stocked A/V section is a small seating area with a nearby rack usually populated with graphic novels of many and sundry varieties. Being a broke ass college student, this is a perfect chance for me to see what's new and interesting out there that I might otherwise miss, especially given my general antipathy towards the American comics industry in lieu of a rather specific and finite Nippophilia.

Which is how I came to discover, and by extension own, My Faith in Frankie. It's a cute little story about a young girl who has God on her side—well, a god at least. Jeriven, her personal deity has a certain charming Chinese/Buddhist feel to him, which fits fairly well given the series Americanized manga artwork—there's that Nippophilia again. It has a few fairy clever bits here and there, especially some of the lines spoken by Jeriven's father, who only makes a few appearances, but very effectively puts Zeus and his ilk on a metaphorical spit with his discussion of fornication in swan form and other such matters. Overall it reminds me quite a bit of things I find enjoyable about Blue Monday, another excellent pseudo-manga series.

One of the aspects I like about the artwork of both series is that, at least in trade paperback form, it is strictly black and white, letting the series ride soley on the linework. That's not to say that color isn't useful in the graphic novel format—I couldn't imagine Transmet without the riot of colour involved, but often as not I see color misused in American mainstream comics to hide boring, unoriginal steroids-in-spandex artwork*cough Image Comics cough*.



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