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  1. #1
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    josta's 2021 reading tracker

    Ok, Em convinced me, and everyone else is doing it. So here goes. My 2021 reading tracker thingy.

    The Ego and His Own, by Max Stirner
    As I said in Lit Cafe last week, I finished John le Carre's A Most Wanted Man in January and got back into The Ego and His Own, a dense book I started years ago and am finally about to finish. Published in 1844, it's a philosophical book about the importance of not letting "fixed ideas" overtake your life, and learning how to own yourself. It's been a huge influence on me.

    When it comes down to it, Stirner's ultimate message is basically this:

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    So...it's not for everyone.

    I calculated in January that if I could get through two pages a day, I could finish by mid-March. And I've done well! I have about eleven pages to go.

    My reward for finishing this book, beyond what I've learned from it, is to read a manga I'm excited about: Jormungand, by Keitaro Takahashi! That will be next.

  2. #2
    Administrator Whiterook's Avatar
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    I’m always happy to be a pest for a good cause!
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  3. #3
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    Jormungand, by Keitaro Takahashi
    I'm fifteen chapters into the manga Jormungand, and I'm finding it deeply satisfying! It's better than I'd hoped.

    This is a manga about a cute-but-scary weapons dealer, Koko, who runs a section of a larger company. She's the business lady, and all her subordinates are her bodyguards and ops runners. So they're practically a private paramilitary group. It's an action-packed story. That hits all my buttons! And Koko has tons of personality and makes the whole thing really fun.

    I just read through a scene where a group of pirates attacks Koko's cargo ship using boats and a helicopter armed with rocket launchers. But Koko's ready for them! It's an awesome scene, and I was inspired to write about this manga after I read that.

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    Last edited by josta59; 03-17-2021 at 04:46 PM.

  4. #4
    Administrator Whiterook's Avatar
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    That sounds very cool! I’ve not made it into Manga myself, but I totally get the draw. The closest I ever got was Speed Racer, back in the ‘70s... maybe not Manga, but some similarities. So I take it you are​ into Manga? ...what was the draw for you?
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  5. #5
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiterook View Post
    So I take it you are​ into Manga? ...what was the draw for you?
    Oh, yes. I've read quite a few. Like most Americans, I started with anime. I found a Blockbuster Video with an anime shelf as a college student back in the 1990s. The art on the boxes looked amazing, and the drawings looked far cooler than any American sci-fi or action movie I'd seen, let alone cartoons. I remember seeing a tiny bit of Battle of the Planets when I was small, and had seen a little bit of Robotech as a teenager, but the first anime I chose to watch was Iczer One, a giant mecha sci-fi/horror story with sexy ladies. The pilots of the giant robots had to be nude for some reason, go figure. I was hooked.

    That Blockbuster also had two anime movies (Appleseed and Black Magic M-66) based on manga by Masamune Shirow, now famous as the creator of the Ghost in the Shell franchise. Those movies were amazing and led me to go to the internet to learn more about him. The first two manga volumes I bought at my local comic shop were Ghost in the Shell and the first volume of Appleseed, both by Shirow. They were hard sci-fi.

    I've always enjoyed more realistic stories, and eventually I found some manga that were more to my liking. I don't have much time for anime anymore, but I do enjoy a good manga now and then. I tend to seek out whatever I can find with modern military action. I've really enjoyed Black Lagoon, Marginal Operation, and C.A.T. Now Jormungand is already being added to my list of favorites.

    A big draw for me is that I've always like the comics format, and it's hard to find American comics with exciting military stories. I love G.I. Joe, but I wanted more, and I wanted stories made exclusively for adults (known as seinen in the manga community). Also, many mangas can be read for free online, which makes it super easy.
    Last edited by josta59; 03-17-2021 at 05:50 PM.

  6. #6
    Administrator Whiterook's Avatar
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    Great response! Thanks!!!

    I share your appreciation for military action comics, and back when I was a kid, the big honchos were Sgt. Rock, Sgt. Fury, and G.I. Combat, which I gobbled up! I mainly read Batman and Superman, but I’d float to a few others...but those two specific superhero’s and the military comics were my main collection. My brother was a huge comics reader... 10 years older than me so, I was I to a different era, but there was some crossover in Superman especially.
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  7. #7
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    I also want to note that some of the anime I watched in college, particularly Black Magic M-66 and the Gunbuster series, encouraged me to stop pursuing entrance to optometry school and become a scientist instead. So they truly changed my life, and everything that's happened to me since then has been a result of that decision.

  8. #8
    Administrator Whiterook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by josta59 View Post
    I also want to note that some of the anime I watched in college, particularly Black Magic M-66 and the Gunbuster series, encouraged me to stop pursuing entrance to optometry school and become a scientist instead. So they truly changed my life, and everything that's happened to me since then has been a result of that decision.
    Amazing how things influence our lives, and sometimes so obscure from our families’ perspective, but plain as day for us! I’m a big believer in fate and destiny so, I view most things happen for a reason. That certain ‘something’ starts wheels moving you in unexpected directions sometimes. Drum & Bugle Corps was a catalyst for who I became, so I get it.
    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zoneĒ

  9. #9
    Member madman's Avatar
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    I am not into Manga but have always been interested in Anime. Introduced my kids to it through Studio Ghibli and they have taken it and run, especially my older son. I have a few I could recommend. Myself I have always been interested in Macross and have a copy of Perfect Memory from back in the 80(?)s. When the local Blockbuster closed up they had the entire series on DVD. Picked up all 9 sets (2 DVDs per set) for something like $5 each. I think I was the only person who watched them as they are perfect. English sub titles only.

    I never had a comic book bug. I had three when I was a kid but did buy a few Heavy Metals when they were new. But I found Girl Genius, an on line comic the hero and title character reminds me of my late wife. I found it a couple years before I lost her and read all 18 years back episodes over a summer. It is drawn by Phil Foglio, who's comics graced the pages of the Dragon, back in the '80s right next to J.D. Webster's Fineous Fingers.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    G.I. Joe: Castle Fall, by Paul Allor, Chris Evenhuis, and Brittany Peer
    IDW Comics still hasn't announced that this series about a reimagined G.I. Joe team in a world that Cobra has conquered, begun in 2019 and only ten issues in, is over. The only place I could find any sign that it's over on the entire internet was Wikipedia, and no source was given. But now that I've read this one-shot issue, it's clearly over. And the ending was tragically rushed.

    I understand the need to rush an ending in comics sometimes. But too many unbelievable things happened, one after another. Very disappointing for a series in which every issue had been so carefully crafted. It's a tragedy. Issues 1 through 10 were pretty great. I might reread them some time.

    I was also surprised that Snake Eyes, who was teased at the end of one issue, didn't show up here. So that was all for nothing.

    It did have a few moments, like this:

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    That might have been my final visit to the comic shop. Nothing in comics is interesting to me anymore. There would have to be a new military comic, which is extremely rare apart from G.I. Joe. And if it does happen, I'm unlikely to hear about it.
    Last edited by josta59; 03-21-2021 at 10:08 AM.

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