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Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

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Re: Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

Postby Starlord » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:12 pm

Suicide Forest #1
So I read it and was totally underwhelmed with the story. The art, however was mind blowingly great! I'm glad I picked this up since now I know I won't be getting it in trades. Just found the whole thing to be kind of boring. But I'm obviously in a minority here, which is good. That means it's gotta be me.

Story: 3
Art: 9
My Score: 5.50
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Max Blyss wrote:Months and months and months and the whole thing is still just an intersection at Dipshit Lane & Chip on my Shoulder Ave.

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Re: Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

Postby Royal Nonesuch » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:46 pm

First of all, on a personal note, reading this comic brought back memories of the brief time I lived in Japan. It nailed the look of Tokyo, but there's also the mannerisms that I ended up adopting (peppering my sentences with Japanese words while speaking English, for example), the communication with locals, the mass transport, all of it. I kind of appreciated it for that.

I liked the parallel structure of Alan and Ryoko's stories, but would have liked to have seen more from the titular forest. Also, points of for not being able to decide on exactly how long Alan has lived in Tokyo (he alternately claims that he's been there for five years and one year...which is it?). I loved the painterly art though, and the storytelling was pretty great.

8.5
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Re: Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

Postby Victorian Squid » Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:59 pm

Suicide Forest #1

Most everything has been said by now that I would insert my late review. I agree with fourthy and silver phoenix, great book.

Definitely buying the rest of this mini.

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Last edited by Victorian Squid on Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

Postby ****** » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:34 pm

It's late and I'm tired, so I'll be brief...

Suicide Forest #1

I read the first couple of issues of The Veil, and while it was solid I never got around to finishing it. Now I wish I would have, this was a pretty interesting book. Very solid storytelling, and very, very dark. The story of Alan and his girlfriend would have made for a good comic in of itself, but I'm not really sure what to make of the rest. I'll be reading the rest of the series once it's collected.

Overall: 8.5

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Re: Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

Postby SilverPhoenix » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:15 pm

The Suicide Forest #1

Aokigahara has taken on a life that nature never intended it to have. What happens when that life begins to birth horrors that haven’t been seen before?

In any language, there are very few words that jump out at you, as the word Suicide does, whenever its mentioned. In fact, if you ever want to point to a way that our understanding of human psychology has evolved, one only has to point out how this act is viewed. No longer is Suicide solely viewed as a Coward’s Way Out, or a One Way Ticket to Hell in Western Society (though many still believe any combination of both), but as something that has its roots in symptoms that can be dealt with as long as both ways of the street meet with each other. Despite all of our advancements in this area, it doesn’t mean that we have toned down the seriousness of the matter. In fact, one could say that our acknowledgment of it beyond the knee-jerk reactions show how serious and destructive the action can end up being. These notions especially hit home in Japan, where a region that has become synonymous with the act.

Depending on how much you know Japanese Culture, Aokigahara is a word that can range from meaning nothing, to becoming the name of one of the most morbid places in the world. Nestled at the base of Mount Fuji, Aokigahara is renowned for its geographical diversity, whose combination with its natural beauty has made it popular tourist spot. At the same time, Aokigahara cannot escape the fact that is has become a symbol for death in one way or another. In ancient times, the forest had become the central place where the very old and very young would be left to die during times of crisis, a practice known as Ubasute. In Post World War II Japan, it has not been able to escape its death filled histoy, as it has become the 2nd most popular destination in the world (behind the Golden Gate Bridge) for someone to end their life, despite the warnings littered throughout the its landscape. Its reputation has also lended itself to be the subject of literary works such “Kuroi Jukai” (Black Sea of Trees) published in 1963 & “The Complete Suicide Manual” released in 1993. “The Suicide Forest” joins those two infamous works, and becomes the first major Graphic Novel to be about this setting. How does the first chapter stand up? Very Well, despite a couple of small flaws.

"The Suicide Forest" follows two separate storylines. The first storyline involves two Park Workers who have been charged with the responsibility of keeping the corpses from littering the main tourist walkways, while the second storyline follows an American Expatriate, who has finally broken it off with his Native Girlfriend, and ends up being where the main set up for this storyline takes place. Surprisingly, this comic is not as dense text wise as one would expect, but that doesn’t take away from the story, as the dialogue is extremely well written from start to finish, and whatever parts of the storyline that aren’t conveyed in the text is conveyed in the art, as both components work very well to enhance the setting, especially coming together where you get the feeling that two scenes happen at the same time. A technique that I wished was used more in this medium. Ed Torres does a great job in getting his readers to stand up, take notice and care about what happens next, winning a major victory in selling this story to his readers.

When it comes to the Graphic Novel Medium, the debate about whether Story or Art is more important rages on endlessly without coming close to being resolved. However, when one gets enough experience about how comics are created, they realize that the best comic books have both of these important aspects work together to bring the best piece of work possible with this Comic Book proving that point in spades. The Art hits all the right notes as its transports you to a world where the themes are properly served by the dark backgrounds and drawings. The characters emotions and actions are masterfully conveyed as Gabriel Hernandez gives a detail to each character that gives them all uniquely individual looks, and like the writer in this book, the Artist should be given props for the 2 pivotal scenes in this book, which would not have carried the same weight without his work, giving this great package another sterling positive.

If there is anything that can be considered a strike against this first Issue, It would have to be that it felt like it ended too fast, as the book ends at point that leaves us wanting more, and can leave some people feeling shortchanged on the first read. We’re also left wanting more from Ryoko, who is obviously the character who knows the most about Aokigahara, but beyond that we know very little about her motivations, and why she’s may be obsessed with the legends of the Forest. Despite that significant strike, the creators do an excellent job in presenting Japan in a Manner that doesn’t make it look like some crazy planet that’s not on Earth, while not whitewashing the region in accomplishing this feat. Overall, The Suicide Forest #1 satisfies those who like to read their comics more than once, and keeps us more than interested to come back and see how the entire thing ends. A potentially underrated classic could be upon us.

The Verdict

Story: 7.75
Art: 9.5
Accessibility: 8

Final Judgment: 8.5
Last edited by SilverPhoenix on Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

Postby thefourthman » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:09 am

The Suicide Forest #1


It still surprises me that horror stories are often some of the more interesting, literary profound and sometimes most researched stories told. I don’t know why. The literary tradition itself with people like Shelly and Poe refining the genre and folks like Lovecraft revitalizing it to a popular audience should be proof of its vital role as an art. Even its most prolific and slick practitioners like Stephen King find ways to write impressive pieces.

Horror comics like film often fall into a particularly unfortunate niche. There are people that just like to see blood and mutilation and could care less about thoughtful exploration of the human condition. The success of things like the Saw films shows how pervasive this attitude is in the genre. At the end of the day, art often suffers at the hands of the almighty dollar.

The Suicide Forest is an example of that grand tradition in horror. It is lyrical in its execution, especially the sequence juxtapositioning the actions of a recently broken up couple. The parallel story of meaningless and feral sex versus the lonely suicide makes a strong statement that like all good horror will probably resonate in an empathetic reader’s mind for some time to come.

But it is more than just the interesting artistic achievement of Hernandez and the ability of Torres to create a connection with characters in a land that is often viewed as vastly different from the world the typical reader of this comic is from. It is in the research and feeling of earnestness to the story.

One has to wonder how much research they did into Aokighara and why. Did they just hear the statistics of it being the second capital, for lack of a better term, of suicides behind San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge? Maybe, whatever the reasons to use it as a piece of the story, it is indicative of a great writer to include the signs that populate the forest and to create believable statistics for something that has been closed.

More telling is the treatment of ghosts in the story. In a culture, where you are listed as a part of the local Shinto temple regardless of any profession in the faith – the spirit is an integral part of folklore and belief systems and while not using kid’s gloves, Torres and Hernandez fearless approach that subject, even referencing the kind of horror that has made its way east over the last few years.

The Suicide Forest is a pretty impressive debut comic and points to the grand tradition of horror instead of its more popular shallowness. It makes this reader said he slept on The Veil when it was coming out. I will be sure to check out the next issue and think any comic fan would do themselves a lot worse than to check out this issue.

Story 5
Art 4

Overall 9

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Re: Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:28 am

Looking forward to issue #2 next week already.

What does it say about mainstream comics readers that they would see Suicide Forest if it were a film but would rather buy and not necessarily even like a dozen or more superhero comics a week than even consider trying a book like this?
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Re: Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

Postby thefourthman » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:35 am

Victorious Squid wrote:Looking forward to issue #2 next week already.

What does it say about mainstream comics readers that they would see Suicide Forest if it were a film but would rather buy and not necessarily even like a dozen or more superhero comics a week than even consider trying a book like this?

I'm not sure they would though. I think, we here at the Outhouse would. We seem to demand a little more from our movies than the common viewer and look down on things like Little Fockers which are extremely successful. However, as a film, I think everyone here would rant and rave about The Suicide Forest, while as a comic it is probably ignored by the greater community as a whole.

That's one of my points in the review anyhow, that often times, we want less from our entertainment than we should. As a result, even I look down on Horror Comics, even though Locke and Key and American Vampire are two of my favorite currently published books.

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Re: Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:39 am

double post
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Re: Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:39 am

noone wrote: However, as a film, I think everyone here would rant and rave about The Suicide Forest, while as a comic it is probably ignored by the greater community as a whole.


That was the point of my question.
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Re: Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

Postby thefourthman » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:41 am

Victorious Squid wrote:
That was the point of my question.

Are we the mainstream comic audience though? I think Punchy and Twigg are.... we should ask them.

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Re: Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

Postby thefourthman » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:41 am

Oh and it shows that they are a conflicted bunch, self loathing and hipster posers, imo.

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Re: Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:48 am

noone wrote:Are we the mainstream comic audience though?


We who, me and you?...no, obviously. I was getting this anyway and might have even suggested it be considered by SP for his pick. By mainstream in taste I'm talking about folks with a bias toward Marvel & DC superhero comics almost exclusively, not everyone here (at The Outhouse) is like that but yeah a lot of people are. All of those people have a wider range of films they see though, pretty much no one watches superhero movies exclusively no matter how much they might like them.

You know, I am wishing more people would be open to these sort of comics the way they are movies. Same with titles like Scalped or some of the other Vertigo books canceled or in danger of being canceled now more than ever it seems...
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Re: Review Group Week #253: THE SUICIDE FOREST #1

Postby Greg » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:30 pm

I absolutely loved The Veil from last year (or was it two years ago). The characters were very strong and well written and so was the horrific threat. It was a type of horror story that appealed to me and kept me excited for the next issues each month. Upon reading that we'd be reviewing Suicide Forest, a horror comic, I thought, "Sweet. This should be interesting." Then I read its the same team as The Veil and really got excited!

Already in the first issue we're presented with strong characters and alhough we can see where the story may be going, there's still a general ambiguity touched upon. A lot of the characters are being moved around and it'll be interesting to see when they start to connect and just when the true horror starts to go down. Not to say nothing quite happened here. A lot of setup with a lot of good promise. The creative team does a good job at building upon a creepy atmosphere along with the characterization. I have to say I'm quite curious and afraid at just what we'll be going through as we read these characters.

Already, I can sort of sense that I may be more into this than the Veil.

7.5/10
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