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Top 10 Dark Horse Comics 3rd-1st

posted by Kevin Lannister

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3. Lady SnowBlood

lady snowblood

The manga that inspired Kill Bill” – well, that’s what it says in the preface, so it must be true. It is perhaps, mind you, but reading those two thick volumes that inaugurate the collection “Kana Sensei”, the relationship between one and the other is relatively tenuous and could be limited to the simple phrase “A woman tries to take revenge of five men and will kill them one by one.” For the rest, no doubt that Tarantino (whose culture is widely film, and therefore should no longer be based on the film version of Lady Snowblood that manga) went to tap other sources of inspiration, reducing this to parentage ‘marketing ploy designed to attract customers rather than a true reality.

So Lady Snowblood today follows a now classic frame, alternating two chronologies: first, following the completion of vengeance itself, and secondly, by retracing the steps of the transformation of this young woman ruthless assassin she has become. Nothing too surprising here, since after all, the writer of this story is none other than Kazuo Koike, to whom we owe among other Lone Wolf and Cub,  and that the tradition of chanbara with its stories of ronin seeking redemption.

This interest (period) for the chanbara also accommodates the second wave of pinku eiga in Japan, which saw its debut in 1971 and will see blossom a lot of female characters seeking revenge. Shura Yuki Hime-appearing in 1972 in the Japanese edition of Playboy, it is not surprising to find in action-Eros Thanatos duo, magnificent battle scenes from enamel which can sometimes look like a catalog of libertine practices of Japan from the late nineteenth century.

Story

preview, Lady SnowBloodBut beyond the time of influences and genres conventions Snowblood Lady is a story masterfully led (s), where the elegance of the line (there capturing the grace of a neck, the beauty here a pose) echoes the poetry of the chapter titles. There perhaps is something nostalgic, while the story is in a halfway period between the end of the Edo era (medieval era which ended in 1848) and the upcoming modernity be endorsed by the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) – and entry level on the international scene as new power. This is a time of upheaval, of profound changes in Japanese society, while the caste system was abolished in 1871, and a new governing class (administrative) is in the process of replacing the old nobility.

This tension between the traditions of Japan and what it will become, between yesterday and tomorrow, Yuki herself fully embodies. Based on the little people for whom living conditions have not changed and is still attached to the past, it strikes without mercy those who take advantage of the “new order” in place. And if it sometimes comes to fight directly against the evils of modernity (as in the episode of the photographer), she does not hesitate to use it to their account, either exotic or alluring panties the use of serial novels newspapers to continue his research. Princess of snow and blood, remorseless killer in impenetrable personality, Lady Snowblood meets (and reconcile) in it extreme.

Moreover, it may be in its liberating role that Yuki falls as force for change. Lady Snowblood made and the portrait of a conquering woman, no longer subservient to man, but that will be up to use her sexuality as a weapon.  On several occasions, it will empower women she meets , usually by liberating them from their perpetrators. The conclusion of the last story takes on another dimension, decreeing the final separation of a past too heavy, finally freed from its shackles of duties, claiming that the future belongs to the woman


2. Tomb Raider

tomb raider comic book

With Tomb Raider (2013), Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix have entrusted the title to a famous American publisher, Dark Horse Comics, that careed to post new Tomb Raider comics. The story time is based on Lara’s adventure on the island of Yamatai. Writing is partly ensured by Rhianna Pratchett, also the game writer and Gail Simone, comic book author known for its very strong female characters (Red Sonja, Batgirl, Birds of Prey, …).

The first book in the Tomb Raider series by Dark Horse is entitled “The Beginning”. It was an exclusive pre-order bonus in the US, and is available on Steam for buyers of Survival Edition, as well as the bonus of the Definitive Edition (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One).

Note that the series of comics published by Dark Horse is not yet available in worldwide. These comics are however available in some countries in original version in bookstores. It also seems that the translation is intended for gypsum collection, titled in English “Season of the Witch” and scheduled for November 24, 2014 in the United States.

Plot

tomb raider, previewSurvivor’s Guilt follows the game Tomb Raider – A Survivor is Born. Back in England after the terrible experience on the island of Yamatai, Lara Croft is riddled with guilt. When not awakened by the terrified screams of Sam is its own nightmares that assail. Day after day, she relives the events that led to the disappearance of her friends. When Jonah, her companion in misfortune, gives her a call for help, Lara jumps on a plane to join him, vowing that no other passenger will face danger this time.

Having narrowly escaped drowning, Lara joined the Trinity College in Dublin where Professor Cahalane, a specialist in ancient Central Asia and close friend of her father, agreed to authenticate the artifacts recovered by Jonah. While Lara is documented on the sacred object, another survivor of the Endurance contacts her. Reyes is also in possession of an ancient artifact, hidden on the island of Yamatai.

At the corner of a table in an Irish pub, Lara and Reyes are beginning to understand that the four artifacts brought from Yamatai subject to an obscure cult. When the two women were taken hostage by a mysterious mafia group, a stranger saves them up and allows them to escape. During the ensuing race, Lara realizes that the fourth survivor of the island is also in danger: Sam has no idea of the threat she is in.


1. 300

cover of book

300 is a series of comics written and illustrated by Frank Miller and colorized by Lynn Varley. It was originally published by Dark Horse Comics in 1998. A film based on the work and directed by Zack Snyder was released in 2006.

300 depicts the Spartans led by King of Sparta, Leonidas I, accompanied by his 300 hippeis  (personal guard of the king) to prevent the invasion of Greece by the Persians. In particular, an important source of inspiration cited by Miller is the vision of this historic event presented in the film The Battle of Thermopylae (The 300 Spartans), Miller saw being a kid.

Format

300 was first released as a mini-series of five numbers as a monthly comic book by Dark Horse Comics editions. The first part was published in May 1998. The five parts are named Honor, Duty, Glory, Combat and Victory. The complete series was then collected into a single volume published in 1999.

In the original edition, each page was published on a magazine double page. When the series was collected in one volume, each double-page spread was reduced to a single page. Editing in volume thus has a “Italian” format, that is to say its width is greater than its height. This type of format is rare in comics. Its use is certainly the wish of the author to illustrate the battles across the width of its pages, and better reflect the geographical progression of the Spartans into battle.

“ The work differs in many aspects ”

Such as Frank Miller presents the events, 300 illustrates the paradox of an elite army to the orders of a kingdom that, according to our contemporary standards, operates under a totalitarian and intolerant ideology (misshapen are eliminated from birth, most low ostracized from society and slavery is commonly practiced), but who refuses to see himself enslaved to a foreign invader.

The Persian Empire is presented as a fanatical people devoted to his god-king Xerxes, a cruel man glorifying submission and slavery without regard for his people. As such, we can interpret the work as the justification of warriors and radical means to preserve the Spartan ideal of freedom and justice by methods which appear in a contemporary totalitarian.

Different plot

dark horse, 300The work, however, differs in many aspects with the currently accepted historical facts about the battle of Thermopylae and Spartan society. This is a free interpretation that the author cannot be taken as true fact. It is, for example, historically unlikely that King Leonidas I will be beaten in the same rank and the same way as his Spartan hoplites. Similarly, there is no state of the Greek fleet and Thespiae 700 soldiers who took part in combat; or Phocis thousand soldiers guarding the way of Anopée.

A fortiori it is not mentioned that 700 soldiers remained in Thespiae side of Leonidas and his Spartan hoplites after circumvention by way of Anopée. The Thespiae soldiers fought almost to the end alongside the Spartans before traveling. It is not mentioned that the Greek soldiers who remained after circumvention by way of Anopée did so to let the Greeks time to organize their defense. It is not mentioned that 400 fighters deserted Thebes as they had probably been forced to participate in combat. The ephors are Greek magistrates of Sparta and not consanguineous soothsayers.

Criticism

comic book 300, xerxesThe film 300 that Frank Miller has adapted to the big screen in extrapolates the fantastic aspects and was the subject of many criticisms in this regard, including the Iranians.

That said, Frank Miller took and claims that bias romantic, he claims not to seek to play the role of the historian, but the storyteller: indeed, an epic 300 is intended, like Homer, transcribed in the twentieth century in the form of comics.

Alan Moore, author of the famous comic V for Vendetta and Watchmen, is very critical of 300 in an interview in December 2011: “I found that Sin City was an irreducible misogyny that 300 was largely ahistorical, homophobic and perfectly wrong. I think there is a very unpleasant sensibility that emerges from the work of Frank Miller’s long enough.” On the side note, the third volume of Sin City (The Big Fat Kill) refers to 300 (the hero operates the geography of the terrain to ambush his enemies, in the same way as King Leonidas).


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Kevin Lannister (see all articles)

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