I’m of two minds on the issue of gimmicky packaging for comics.
On the one hand, I think it is more than a bit cutesy.
On the other hand, I’ll admit, it definitely is a good way to draw attention to one’s work, so in that case, I guess if it does that job, I shouldn’t knock it.
Dirk Schwieger’s fun new graphic novel from NBM Publishing, Moresukine, gets its name from the way Japanese people pronounce the type of notebook Schwieger sketches in – a Moleskine notebook. As a result, the graphic novel is printed in a mock-up of a Moleskine notebook.
Is that a cool idea or not?
I dunno, but if it gets people to read Schwieger’s book, then I guess it is worth it, because this is a fun and interesting collection of stories by Schwieger of what happened when he allowed people on the internet to make him do tasks when he moved to Japan.
Schwieger kept a blog where he challenged his readers to come up with things to do while he was in Japan, and he would do them – no matter what they were (granted, of course, that they had something to do with living in Japan, and not, like, “Watch every season of M*A*S*H* on DVD!”).
Schwieger would then write up the assignments as online comics, and now his online comics are collected into this graphic novel. Often, the assignments would basically end up being “tell us about THIS part of Japan, Dirk!”
Schwieger has a nice, clean style of art that makes the stories easy to follow, and the stories themselves are delivered by Schwieger nicely.
Here is a sample assignment (from the book’s site here)
The rest of the book is basically just like that – while some of the assignments include staying in one of those pod hotels, visiting one of the infamous “love hotels” and eating the potentially poisonous fugu (this one is featured on the cover).
The book has an extra section where Dirk challenges OTHER comic book artists to talk to a Japanese person in whatever city in which the cartoonists live and report back about the conversation. The results are often amusing – and feature comics by James Kochalka, Ryan North and others (Ryan’s is particularly amusing).
So yeah, Moresukine is a fun, well-written, well-drawn book.