Ah yes, my guilty pleasure. I think it’s because they cost so much.
I’ve still got the Sandman series being collected by Joy in Sydney from my unsweetened prize money: she gave me the first three when I went for the Festival.
It’s pretty hard to get any in Hong Kong aside from the usual Marvel / Tintin / Sunday strips / Manga range, so I usually go back home to Manila for something more my taste (i.e. odds-and-ends-hard-to-find), but I’ve found a couple of pretty rare ones here too lately.
The Very Best of Marvel Comics ’91. This is no way a book unheard of, but the fact that I got it only for 80 HKD (400 PHP) in really good condition in a small antiques-market street in Sheung Wan among last-century trunks and old Communist posters and WW1 military watches and Punch and Judy magazines from the 30s trumps that. It doesn’t even feel like it’s been read-opened yet. It’s a steal.
Ghost In The Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor (Masamune Shirow, Dark Horse). Given the way GITS 1 and 2 had revolutionized cyberpunk storytelling in books, films, and games, they can never be out of print, but this slim little novel 1.5 features the “lost” 1990’s stories of Masamune Shirow and you can bet that not a lot of stores carry it, and in English too. The fact that I picked this sole copy from a big chain bookstores (Page One) is pretty surprising. It was definitely not a steal. For something pretty thin, you’d think it’d be a little cheaper, but hey, it’s Masamune Shirow.
The Gorgeous Habour: Le Port Magnifique (Mr Clement, A Rewind Records Production). Eccentric, anyone? There are only 2 frames per page and printed dialogue on the opposite page, like a script (this goes for 300 pages. Most of the time there’s no dialogue too), and it’s about a bunny in an astronaut suit. And since the dialogue is printed in both English and French and the words are really, really simple, it gives me the chance to revise the scraps of kindergarten (no, nursery) French left in my head. Again, found it in Page One.
The Black Book of Falling (Peter Stuart, MCCM Creations). I found this in the museum shop of the Hong Kong Museum of Art. To start with, the shop is less about the museum and brazenly (it’s even the shop sign, for heaven’s sake) more about being a branch of the Tai Yip Art Book Centre, a shop to (what we call “khok” in Hokkien) rip off tourists. So it was pretty amazing that you’d find a rare piece of work like this in a tourist shop. It’s a graphic novel about two bedtime-story-characters, Tik and Tok, falling into a “hole” which leads them to discuss existentialist things.
The Following WISH LIST: Graphic Novels I’ve Been Eyeing In Bookstores Here But Still Feel Expensive. Though I Think I’ll Succumb And Buy Them Anyway In The End.
Epileptic (David Beauchard, Pantheon). It’s supposed to be “the” graphic novel that’s all the rage in Europe today. It kinda feels like Craig Thompson’s autobiographical approach in Blankets, except given that it’s continental Europe, I suppose it’s going to be a bit more twisted and in-your-head. I’ve flipped a few pages enough for it to catch my attention, sharp and well-paced.
Embroideries (Marjane Satrapi, Pantheon). Look, it’s wise-cracking Marjane Satrapi, end of story. She has converted me since Persepolis 1 and 2 came out way before, and I’m talking about the original graphic novels, not the movie. (And it doesn’t help that she has another new one out as well, Chicken With Plums.)