Showing posts with label Patrick Atangan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patrick Atangan. Show all posts

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Songs of Our Ancestors Vol 2 by Patrick Atangan

Rating: WARTY!

Subtitled "The Silk Tapestry and Other Chinese Folktales", this is the volume two I wondered about when I positively reviewed volume one back in October of 2018. This one was less than enthralling for me, so while it did hold the charm of the original to a certain extent, the stories seemed a lot less engaging, and I left the book feeling dissatisfied with it, so I cannot commend it.

The first story was of an old woman and her longsuffering daughter. The woman meets a water spirit one day at the river and is inspired to create a tapestry, based on vivid dreams that she has, of living a life as courtesan, but the story rambles on a bit too much, and then seems to completely fizzle out at the end so I wasn't at all sure what exactly happened. I didn't like it.

The next story went to the opposite end of the scale, featuring young, not old, and male, not female, and was about a boy who could paint pictures that took on a life of their own, rather reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. This story was entertaining, and the artwork was good, but it never really seemed like it wanted to go anywhere. The third one is a creation story bearing a lot of resemblance to the Biblical story (or vice-versa), and featuring a lonely god who separates waters from waters and creates things. It was boring.

So overall, I was not impressed and unlike after reading the first volume, I do not feel inclined to pursue this series any further.

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Yellow Jar by Patrick Atangan

Rating: WORTHY!

This is supposedly volume one of a series of graphic novels exploring Asian folk tales, although to my knowledge there have been no others so far. This first one was compact, with dimensions barely larger than a novel, but in hard cover and in landscape format rather than portrait. It told two tales, the titular one and another, shorter one, Two Chrysanthemum Maidens, which was my favorite of the two.

Drawn in ukiyo-e style, and beautifully rendered and colored, both stories were eminently enjoyable. The Yellow Jar tells of a fisherman who nets guessed it, a large, stoneware yellow jar. Actually it’s more like a pithos, which is what the Greeks would have called it. I have no idea what the Japanese would have called this, but it was big enough to hold a person, because when he opened it, it contained a woman who was conveniently looking for a husband. These days they do it over the internet, but back then? Fishing net! LOL!

The couple get along well and everything is peachy until it’s not. Of course something goes wrong. He has lied to her about where she came from - claiming the jar was lost and she was afloat in the ocean when he found her, but she discovers the jar buried in the garden and because he lied, she leaves. The man chases after her but leaves it too late and he spends three years looking for her only to find she's now being held captive by this demon in a castle in the mountains. Fortunately the demon is a gentleman who insists on her acquiescing to his desires rather than ravishing her by force. And of course the fisherman rescues her.

In the second story, this man's beautiful garden is invaded by what appear to be two weeds - which are depicted delightfully as tiny women. In the end they prove to be pretty flowers, and attract wide attention, but when he splits them, moving the less appreciated one to a hidden location, it wilts terribly, but all's well that end's well as Master Shakespeare would have it.

I thought this volume was a delight and I commend it.