The idea of mythology leading back before there was a nature of history (written that is) is an interesting conundrum. The balance of what society necessitates as the norm has shifted over the millennia depending on the structure of belief. “Zarathrustra Book One – The Lion That Carried The Flame” [Richard Marazano/Europe/60pgs] rests in an ideal of a matriarchal dominated society that fueled the idea of business and a monotheistic structure. The story takes place in the area that now occupies Iran. The texture of the gender perspective contained in the story is also a pertinent one. The beginning of this take of a monotheistic transformation speaks to a man looking to escape his past and living a balanced future. His past though follows him as a scourge led by a supposed manevolent God. When the army following this icon ransacks his desert town, it kills everyone. Our soldier saves only himself and the lead female ruler in the city that looks upon him as fodder. They escape into the desert. But the Army continues to search for one who has been marked. While there are textures of Aslan in the representation of the entities, the archetypes are true to form and the art reflects this without overindulging in its tendencies yet giving a sense of space and reflection. The story structure is told as a parable as the older soldier is now telling his story to his son. While this is only the first book, it’s point of view is sound but also resolute and focused giving the story a sense of will.
By Tim Wassberg
Knowing more about Asian culture and the perspective both of youth and by extension geek culture is also relayed in a texture of both comic books and movie as the upcoming release of “Detective Pikachu” shows. In “Otaku Blue 1: Tokyo Underground” [Richard Marazano/Europe Comics/58pgs], this texture if brought in play since it balances on both social media and cosplay which is a big part of modern fan culture (as in dressing up your favorite character). This graphic novel follows a sociology student Asami, who although a bit older wants to understand this element of cosplay validation. In what was slightly confusing at first, she takes a job at a maid cosplay restaurant since the aspect of enjoyment can be mutual. The Otaku is the obsessive fan who does not creep as much as validates but this seems to be a very thin line. Again this might be a perspective of culture and, by extent, honor which might seem a little odd to American sensibility. At the same time, there seems to be a new serial killer who is murdering prostitutes but is taking uncommon body part like eyes, hands and feet. Our lead character actually ingrains herself with a group of cosplay girls who get the attention of the most famous Otaku who takes an interest. The cliffhanger involves the actual meet though a few men in the story could be the culprit. Otaku is an odd read because it has elements of thriller, social commentary and obsessive compulsive habits. It is an interesting perception dependent on the aspect of its endgame which is not shown here.
By Tim Wassberg