Monthly Archives: February 2007

Garage Band

Garage Band by Gipi 4/5 stars (amazon.com)

Giuliano gets a temporary loan of a garage from his dad, and finally gets an idea practice space for his band. Stefano is the lead singer, who looks at the dirty garage and announces that they’ll all get horrible diseases and die. Alberto is the guitarist. Alex is the drummer with an affinity for Nazi propaganda items. We get to know the individual band members through a series of short scenes. Giuliano goes out with his father to fly a remote-controlled plane. Stefano is tempted by an offer from a music executive. When a busted amp threatens to put a stop to their demo recording, the band does something stupid to gain new equipment. These stories are joined together by scenes of the band jamming in the garage. The evocative watercolors of the art capture the energy of the band as well as the quieter moments between the characters. Garage Band also illustrates a universal truth – no matter where you’re from, no mater what language you speak, all drummers are crazy.
There’s a preview of Garage Band up at Isotope.


A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Beauty Pop

Beauty Pop by Kiyoko Arai 3/5 stars (amazon.com)

I shouldn’t be surprised anymore about the subjects that manga is able to turn into Iron Chef style drama. Beauty Pop is about hairdressing. Kiri’s father owns a salon. She’s talented at cutting hair, but she isn’t very competitive. Her bangs are always in her eyes, and her uniform when cutting hair is a baseball cap and boyish clothes. Kiri looks sleepy most of the time, and she isn’t very emotional. At her school, the three most popular boys have banded together to form the “Scissors Project”. They’ll give pretty girls very public makeovers, making them even prettier. Narumi is the leader of the group, determined to grab awards and glory in order to become the top hairdresser in Japan. Minami is a goof-off who does nail art. Ochiai is the brains of the group, with extensive profiles on everyone who goes to school.
Kiri is totally uninterested in the hype that surrounds the Scissors Project. She does start doing a few makeovers at her school on the sly, for girls that the Scissors Project rejected. Kiri’s more concerned about giving people great haircuts to make them feel good about themselves. When her activities capture the notice of Narumi, he starts to go crazy trying to figure out who his unseen rival is. Ochiai starts piecing things together and figures out that Kiri is the undercover makeover artist. He sets up a makeover contest where Narumi and Kiri will fight to see which one makes their subject look prettier.
With plenty of overly perky heroines in shojo manga, it is refreshing to have a more reserved character like Kiri as a protagonist. The art is good at capturing all the mood swings you’d expect with so many characters getting makeovers. My major complaint is that the first volume ended on a cliffhanger.

Girl Stories

Girl Stories by by Lauren Weinstein 4/5 stars(amazon.com)

Now that we’re almost ready to announce the winners for the Cybils, I thought I’d go back and take a look at one of the titles on the longlist of nominations for the graphic novels category. Girl Stories is showcases a bunch of funny coming of age vignettes about a awkward Jewish girl growing up in the 80s. I’m going to quote the first paragraph:

Hello! And welcome to my life, which is currently like being in jail! I’m in the eighth grade, and I’ve been going to the same stupid school with the same stupid fifty people since kindergarten! That’s nine years!!!! We are all ready to kill one another. No one can wait until we leave for high school, including the teachers, who numbly walk down the halls, ignoring the hatred and rage around them!

Weinstein provides details about Barbie doll deconstruction, the imaginary conversations she’d have with Morrissey, and the perils of high school social life. Her art style shifts and she uses a varied color palette. A story about the side effects of piercing is a putrid green, while stories set in middle school show the characters wearing vivid neon clothes. This is a charming book.

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Wild Adapter

Wild Adapter by Kazuya Minekura 4/5 stars (amazon.com)

Kubota is a cool, enigmatic man. He’s so self-contained that in Wild Adapter, you learn more about him from the way the other characters react to him as opposed to his own thoughts and feelings. Kubota lives for gambling, especially mahjong, but he remains strangely distant about making connections to other people. He’s asked if he’s interested in women or men, and replies that he’s just not interested in people. When his fearless mahjong playing results in him being tapped for a leadership role in a yakuza youth gang, he executes someone as part of his initiation without hesitation. He’ll coolly beat rival yakuza up, then take the time to bury a dead cat. There are hints that he’s estranged from a prominent family, and he also seems to be on decent terms with the police.

Komiya is Kubota’s assistant in the yakuza youth group. He has his own problems to deal with, but he becomes more and more fascinated by his new boss. The Wild Adapter in the title of the book is a new drug with strange side effects that promises to cause trouble for the yakuza and police in later volumes. The first volume functions mostly as a prelude, setting up characters and establishing the seedy underworld Kubota navigates.

If you like reading stories about cool men who might or might not have romantic feelings for each other smoking cigarettes and shooting guns, you can’t go wrong with Wild Adapter. There is nudity and violence in this manga, which in public libraries should probably be shelved in an adult graphic novel section.

Ask Tangognat: All about favicons

Juice wrote:
Hey, weird tech question, but I notice you have a personalized Tab image that
appears when I have your site open in one of many tabs in IE. How does one go
about customizing tab images?

This is one of those questions that is hard to answer unless you already know the terminology used to describe what you’re looking for! The personalized tab images are called favicons. Basically all you need to do to create one is make an image 16 pixels by 16 pixels. If you can save the image in .ico format from your image editor, great! I created mine a long time ago, I think I downloaded a shareware program that no longer exists that I used to convert my image file into .ico format. There are also online favicon generators too.

I think it is a bit easier to add a favicon when you own your own domain, all I seem to remember doing was uploading the favicon.ico file to the root directory of my site. But I there are resources out there to tell you how to add a favicon to a blogger site. You will need to host the favicon image somewhere and add a link to the image in your blogger template.

If you want some inspiration, you can take a look at the favicon collection at Delta Tango Bravo.