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July 14th, 2005 - Trickle of Consciousness — LiveJournal
Zeb Wells and Skottie Young's New Warriors mini is more fun this week. Lots of energy, lots of laughs, and even some characterization and a mystery or two. Plus: gator wrestling and talking monkeys. I didn't expect it at all, but this book is totally the in-spirit followup to Nicieza and Bagley's initial run.

Speaking of Fabian Nicieza, he and Tom Grummett speed things back up to frantic after a few slower issues of New Thunderbolts. There's secrets spilling left and right, backstabbing, stuff and people blowing up. It's just too hectic for me not to love. Well, except it ends with a warp into the House of M, but I'm hoping Nicieza plays just as crazy there as he has been, in which case I might not mind so much.
see the single drop in the bucket or add a drop
So I finally got around to reading the title stories in the first volume of Tsukuba Sakura's Land of The Blindfolded, and I enjoyed them quite a bit. There's an interesting premise (one character can see the future, the other the past) with some nice little twists already working in. I should say something more substantive than that, because I really do look forward to the next volume, but reading it, I hit on something less specific that I'm encountering with manga.

Is it just me, or do other people find them really fast reads?

I should clarify. Most of the time, a fast read is due to immersion. With those, you sit down, start reading, and you don't realize how many pages you're consuming until you get to the end, or you look up an hour later and realize you're already halfway through the book or something (for the record, I have never managed to get halfway through a prose novel in an hour. I'm a horrendously slow reader).

With the manga I've been reading, though, I actually notice the speed. I'm flipping through pages at what for me is quite a clip, and when I get to the end, no matter how much I liked it, somehow the whole process feels ... slighter?

I've wondered if it isn't a word balloon issue; since the balloons are often still shaped for their vertical japanese text, it seems difficult to fill them efficiently with horizontal English. I look at the word balloons in the manga I've read, and there just seems to be a lot of empty space. Or, rather, comparatively a lot of space.

I've wondered if it's the layout. I feel like there are more skinny panels in manga than in more traditional western comics. Tall and narrow, usually, with a good bunch of diagonal slashes of panel. If I'm remembering my Understanding Comics, narrower panels tend to "read" as shorter spans of time.

Close ups? I'm remembering half shots of faces, lower halves of faces, or shots centered on the eyes. All understandable, all wonderful individual elements of mood, but do I maybe read partial shots like those with a speedier eye?

And if I'm going to just list any old thing that I think might be part of it, I might as well ponder the impact of reverse pagination. Most of the time I can catch the right to left rhythm pretty well, but I know my natural inclination on turning a page is to hit the upper left corner. Does that little bit of time equate to reading ahead, maybe? If it does, it could be I'm taking just as long to read two pages as normal, but if I'm catching bits ahead of time, maybe that second page reads faster because I sneaked a peek?

It's entirely possible that all of the above simply adds up to my needing to better absorb the culture of manga reading. Reading western comics is natural to me, though I never realized how much so until I gave my dad a trade collection of what I thought was a pretty standard series one Christmas, and he later told me he kept getting lost on the pages trying to figure out where he should be reading next. So maybe I'm just like my dad here, and getting a feel for the pacing of manga is going to take a better internalization of the whole reading process.

Or I could just be happy that I've found something that my molasses-speed reading skills can gobble up on the quick, but where's the self-important, over-analyzing fun in that?

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