Addressing the ever-shrinking credibility of rock journalism since 2007. With a sasquatch.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Off The Shelf: Great

Great by Ryan Armand
Life's savage turns are chronicled in Ryan Armand's American manga Great.

2007 Eisner Award Nominated artist Ryan Armand's American manga series Great features a 28-year-old man's life comically falling completely apart and eventually re-assembling.

Nibbish yuppie Lyle falls through the basement levels of his life, loses his job, his wife and is robbed repeatedly before finally being rescued from homelessness by a Ramen Noodle restauranteur's daughter. Soon after, he becomes determined to take up the self-help concept of being "Great" in all aspects of his life from creating a furniture based martial art to making soup.

The protagonist establishes a better way of life only after completely abandoning his old one. Lyle becomes a chef and new father while dealing with street crime and fatherhood - a far cry from the shallow, corporate and plastic life he once tried everything to save.

The theme of the graphic novel (available directly from the artist) is finding a sense of purpose and optimism in the face of an incredible amount of crushing defeats. By relentlessly pursuing this concept of dedicated determination, with a healthy does of humor and respect for family included, Armand examines the nature of superficiality, relationships between husbands and wives and personal bravery all while illustrating Lyle's many attempts to be great.


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