New: Book Report: Samurai Detective #1

Style versus substance, style versus substance. Last night, I didn't sleep well. Last night, I saw a vacation slide show. It was by Nat C., who had been in a shipwreck. She'd been helping to sail a sailboat from Hawai'i to San Francisco. A sperm whale rammed the sailboat. The crew had to flee the sailboat, pile into a little life raft. They were rescued, but it was a near thing. Nat didn't panic during the shipwreck and she didn't panic as she gave her slideshow. Her delivery was calm, even. She didn't point out the scary stuff. Look, here's a photo, taken from the liferaft, a photo of the sailboat mostly under water. She didn't point out: there's nothing else in the photo: no land in the background, no other ships, no planes, just water water water water out to the horizon. But you couldn't help but notice. That image affected me strongly. I didn't want to go to sleep--what if I saw that image in my dreams?

"Samurai Detective", on the other hand, is all about style. This comic book is a sort of samurai noir in which our hero walks mean streets and slices up bad guys with a katana and wakizashi. It looks like a black-and-white movie. In the comic store, I flipped through the first couple of pages, chuckling to see a samurai story narrated in hard-boiled style. Upon getting home, I noticed that the joke got old after three pages. A pretty comic... but I don't think I'll keep picking it up. The substance, it's not quite there. Then again, if I'd skipped last night's slide show and instead re-read "Samurai Detective", maybe I wouldn't have been such a sleepyhead today.

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Posted 2006-10-20