What Made Me Cry This Week – A Graphic Novel, Another Graphic Novel, and a Chick-Flick

Let’s be honest: What Made Me Cry this Week can be anything, cause that’s the way I like it. So I compiled three different cultural products below from this week.

So here we go.

I’m currently reading a graphic novel that is a collection of Native American tales about Trickster Book Coverthe common figure, in Native American Folk-tale, of the Trickster. For each tale, a different artist and writer collaborate, coming up with unique styles. But to be honest? It’s tiresome, or repetitive. Some of the art styles are mediocre, others I’d consider them bad; but I guess that’s my taste. There are some of the tales that do seem to shine. Their style is deep, and layered, the stuff I like, and work well with a tale.

But the whole “short-tales” tires me out. It might be fun to read with a small kid every night a new story, but I’m bored of it. I’ll still finish it — I feel it’s good enough it deserves finishing, — but yeah. Not highest on my list.

Another graphic Friends With Boys Book Covernovel I read was Friends With Boys, by Faith Erin Hicks. And it was good. It reminded me a bit of Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol. But different. While Anya’s Ghost leans towards the creepy, Friends With Boys leans more towards that sad reality of life: most things go unresolved. While there’s some resolution to Maggie’s journey, the protagonist in “Friends…,” it still happens that a lot of it is left open. I don’t think it’s for no reason; there’s one conversation between Maggie and her brother that I thought caught the nugget of truth and beauty from this graphic novel:

 

“I thought it was something I could fix — But I can’t fix anything.”

“Maybe that’s okay.”

The art style was nice, it’s one that I’d enjoy emulating myself if I ever got the chance.

 

With simple blacks, whites, and a layer of gray, Hicks conveys a lot through her image. With this graphic novel, I also just enjoyed the paper itself. The texture is nice,but mainly the pages have tiny variation on size, so on the edge of it you can run your finger along it and feel the ups and downs as pages randomly get bigger and smaller.

Enough of that. what I really want to talk about is Mean Girls.

I know. You’ve probably seen it. Or you think that it’s a movie for, well, girls — a “chick-flick.” But I just watched it., and I feel like the child inside of me cried watching it. So that counts right? I can write on it?

Mean Girls Cover

Mean Girls. I feel it deserves something, an award? A recognition? A shout-out? It deserves something for the screenplay. I mean seriously. The writing for that? I just thought it was incredible. It was ridiculously over the top, but in the good way. The same way Tarantino makes all the gory stuff be over the top. Ha. I’m comparing Mean Girls to Tarantino’s work. Someone will hurt me. But I’m fine with it. I’ll say it up front. I don’t like Tarantino that much.

Honestly, I just had to put in a word for Mean Girls, in case you haven’t watched it yet, if only for the great plot, screenwriting, and acting.

 

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What Made Me Cry This Week – Abstract

Abstract - the Art of DesignI’ve watched three episodes of it. Each one has made me cry, in a different way.

It’s a documentary called Abstract. It’s on Netflix. The documentary explores “The Art of Design.”

The first episode is about an illustrator, Christoph Niemman, who has had several New Yorker covers, and does crazy illustrations – they have depth of content. It was fun having a couple of friends come up to me saying that they saw myself in him. Because, honestly, if I can be like him my life is set.

The third (I accidentally skipped the second one somehow) one is the designer for Nike shoes and Air Jordans, Tinker Hatfield. I wasn’t so interested in him, I don’t care that much about footwear – especially athletic – but it was still incredible seeing his drive, his creativity for something as “normal” as shoes.

And the last one I’ve seen so far has been Es Devlin’s episode. She’s a stage designer for theater and pop shows. Beyoncé and Kanye are just a couple people she’s designed stages for. She is incredible. Her pieces are so elaborate: they’re all about light, space, darkness, and time. I was surprised by how visually powerful they are.

With each episode the series expresses well the visuals,the audio, the editing, the thought process, the elaboration, the abstraction of ideas. They’re able to basically strip naked the thoughts of the artist, and it’s like you get to swim inside their heads and taste a little bit of what it’s like to come up with their incredible ideas.

In the end, the documentary is about abstraction; it’s about transforming an idea into something tangible. It’s about understanding your media and how to get ideas into that media. How do you work with just the flat visual image? How do you work with a shoe? With space and light? How do you create ideas, narratives, emotion, concepts, within whatever form or shape it takes in the world? How do you express what can’t be expressed?

I recommend Abstract – The Art of Design to anyone who wants to marvel at how things are created or for anyone seeking inspiration. You’ll finish an episode ready to conquer the next set of ideas that you carry in your own head.