Tag Archives: Feet

Review: ‘Ville avoisinant la Terre’ by Jorj A. Mhaya

Our hero

Taking a global view, there’s isn’t a hotter book right now than “Ville avoisinant la Terre,” by Jorj A. Mhaya. It was originally published in Arabic in 2011 by Dar Onboz. And it has been recently translated into French by Éditions Denoël. This is a gorgeous book and it is only a matter of time before there is an English translation. In the meantime, I would encourage you to seek it out now and get ahead of the pack. If you enjoy the convenience of Amazon, you can find it right here. Let’s take a closer look.

The setting: Beirut, Lebanon

Over years, I’ve enjoyed a number of comics in languages I don’t know well or at all. For example, you don’t have to know French to enjoy the artwork of Blutch or Tardi. And so it is with the artwork of Mhaya. He has a wonderfully sensitive and expressive line punctuated by his use of China black ink wash.

A map for some context.

You will get much of the gist of the narrative by simply following along our main character, Farid Tawill, a typical office worker from Beirut. It may be evident from what you see but, just in case, this man’s world has been turned upside down. On his way home from the office, he finds that the apartment building where he lives with his family has disappeared. Further along his search, he finds his whole city as become alien to him. Like a character out of Kafka, or from an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” our hero appears to be in an alternate reality.

Front cover of “Ville avoisinant la Terre” by Jorj A. Mhaya

Alienation is a favorite subject in art. Edvard Munch’s “Scream” series, first begun in 1893, is the most famous example. And it comes as no surprise that, over a hundred years later, we find Munch quite relevant–feel compelled to add more to the discourse on disconnection–and see how the world has forged some pretty heavy links. It’s not lost on Mhaya from his vantage point in Beirut.

Back cover of “Ville avoisinant la Terre” by Jorj A. Mhaya

Mhaya wants you to feel the surreal quality to his homeland. He has stated that he gained a lot of insight from the photojournalism he grew up with: the urgent black & white news photos during the Beirut civil war in the ’70s and ’80s help to inform his moody ink wash artwork.

Page excerpt from VLAT

How much more absurd can life seem to be than to live in a perpetual war zone? No wonder Mhaya has an obese Batman character chasing our hero down the streets.

Page excerpt from VLAT

What Mhaya has done with this book is set up a vehicle upon which to comment upon the absurdity of life, weaving back and forth from the specifics (his own experiences, views, and concepts) and the general human condition. This is what any great novelist, filmmaker, painter, etc. does on some level: set the stage and then perform. It is certainly a process well suited for a graphic novelist.

Page excerpt from VLAT

So, you can see that you can do very well from just reading the images. Yes, you do want the text. In fact, you do need the text. But we can live with just the images. We see the little hooks that motivate the artist: everything from a close-up of a mangy dog to a close-up of a woman’s pretty feet. This or that panel do not just appear out of nowhere. The dog is a symbol of isolation. The feet are a symbol of release.

Page excerpt from VLAT

It appears that our hero is forced to confront his life in every which way possible: philosophical, emotional, sexual, intellectual. He is not just in an alternate reality. He is in a place that forces him to experience a heightened sense of reality. His choices, what he learns, what he survives, will determine his fate.

“Ville avoisinant la Terre” by Jorj A. Mhaya

And here I am commenting up a storm and I’m only relying upon the pictures! Well, it makes total sense that this book went first with a French translation in order to make the natural progression to being part of the prestigious Angoulême Comics Festival. And now English readers can’t wait to join in. The loose translation in English to this book is “City Neighboring the Earth.” I look forward to that title in the near future.

“Ville avoisinant la Terre,” by Jorj A. Mhaya, is an 88-page hardcover, black & white with tones, translated into French by Éditions Denoël. Find it at Amazon right here.

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Filed under Angoulême, Angoulême Comics Festival, Éditions Denoël, Beirut, Comics, France, Franz Kafka, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Jorj A. Mhaya, Lebanon, Middle East

Havaianas Launches Marvel Comics Collection of Flip Flops

An adult style from the Marvel x Havaianas collection.
Courtesy of brand.

Havaianas, the world’s favorite rubber flip flops, has combined forces with Marvel Comics to launch a new collection of flip flops, Marvel x Havaianas, featuring some of the world’s most iconic super heroes.

A Spider-Man adult style from the Marvel x Havaianas collection.
Courtesy of brand.

This limited edition collection is Marvel’s first official flip flop collaboration and includes six unique men’s, women’s and kids’ styles. Some of pop culture’s greatest super heroes, including Captain America, Spider-Man and Iron Man, are highlighted in bright Havaianas colorways and designs as part of the collection. The diverse variety of styles and sizes offered allows Havaianas the opportunity to tap into and celebrate Marvel fans of all ages for the first time.

A Captain America & Iron Man adult style from the Marvel x Havaianas collection.
Courtesy of brand.

The collection will launch tomorrow (March 30th) exclusively in Havaianas’ U.S. concept stores, as well as online at havaianas.com. The kids’ styles retail for $19, while the adult versions go from $26 to $30.

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Filed under Comics, Fashion, flip flops, Havaianas, Lifestyle, Marvel Comics, Super Heroes

Review: Earth Runners and the Earthing Movement

Earth-Runners-Earthing-Minimalist-Sandals

Roy made himself comfortable by the fireplace. “You should get on with sharing your findings on those Earth Runners.”

“You’re right,” I said, “Now’s a particularly good time, don’t you think?”

“Well,” Roy nodded, “anytime is a good time. Now is a very good time. I’d add it to your burgeoning holiday gift coverage.”

“You’re right! No time to lose! I mean, considering how many people are still not aware of Earthing, tapping into the earth’s healthy energy. Thomas Jefferson’s regular morning routine was to dunk his feet in ice-cold water. He knew his feet were portals to jump-starting his mind and body. I can’t help but think that, if Jefferson tried on a pair of Earth Runners, he’d quickly pick up on the craftsmanship and design and would wholeheartedly approve! And when it comes to Earthing, Jefferson would have been a big fan too.”

“Alright then, get on with it!”

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Filed under Creative Living, Creativity, Earth, Earth Runners, Earthing, Grounding, Minimalist Sandals, Sandals

Story: The Girl in the Cafe and an Ionized Environment

Pretty-Girl-Seattle-Cafe-Henry-Chamberlain-art

The Girl in the Cafe and an Ionized Environment
Art and fiction by Henry Chamberlain

She sat at her regular table on the second floor of her favorite cafe. It was the same old crowd. It was a steamy summer day. She had the whole world before her. There was the Space Needle right out the window to keep her company. She made herself comfortable. She wiggled her toes. Someone was overheard saying, “An ionized environment really helps.”

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Filed under Feet, Fiction, Seattle, Story, Storytelling, Style, Technology

Book Review: ‘Art & Sole: A Spectacular Selection of More Than 150 Fantasy Art Shoes from the Stuart Weitzman Collection’ by Jane Gershon Weitzman

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David, a new assistant at Comics Grinder marched right into the offices of CG. He had a rather sheepish grin on his face. I wasn’t sure what to make of his quick familiarity. Like past friends of CG, he had a treat for us to consider. But he wasn’t going to give it up until he gave me a little grief. “Alright then,” David said, “you have a thing for feet, don’t you?”

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Filed under Art, Art books, Book Reviews, Books, Design, Fashion, Feet

Graphic Novel Introduction: ‘A Night at the Sorrento and Other Stories’ by Henry Chamberlain

A-Night-at-the-Sorrento-Henry-Chamberlain

A man and woman with supernatural powers enter the city with ill tempers and a need to act out their frustrations. Not a good night for them or anyone near them. However, there’s more than a good chance that their destination, a luxury hotel with charm to spare, may contain their anxiety and solve their problems beyond their wildest dreams. That’s the story behind the title piece in “A Night at the Sorrento and Other Stories,” a collection of short works in comics plus a full length work (available here). Every story here finds characters at various turning points. It makes for good entertainment, I think, and it should prove a fun introduction to works in comics by yours truly.

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Filed under Amazon, Amazon Publishing, Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Henry Chamberlain, Kindle

Review: Xero Shoes Amuri Cloud and What I’ve Learned About Minimal Footwear

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Xero Shoes are a treat for your feet that are truly worthy of your consideration. At Comics Grinder, I cover the whole pop culture spectrum, particularly comics, along with an eclectic brew that includes everything from scotch eggs to electric cars. Lately, I’ve been focusing on minimal footwear in order to be as close to the ground, as close to being barefoot as possible. For this review, we shine the spotlight on Xero Shoes.

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Filed under Barefoot, Feet, flip flops, Health, Running, Sandals, Xero Shoes

Comics to the Rescue: Fluevog Sole Strips

Fluevog-Sole-Strips

Comics are such a versatile medium. They can certainly get a message across. Here is a clever use of the comics medium by our friends at Fluevog. Check it out here.

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Filed under Comics, Fluevog, Marketing

Review: SOFT STAR SHOES

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you like to march to the beat of a different drummer, and prefer to do it barefoot, then here’s some good news coming to you from quirky, and forward-thinking, Oregon…

Comics Grinder is always on the look out for the very best to enhance your life. Sometimes it might be a graphic novel or movie. For this post we explore a most comfortable and healthy treat for your feet. Soft Star Shoes are, without a doubt, one of the best places for minimal footwear on the planet. I’ve done my research. I refer you back to my review (read here) of Christopher McDougall’s “Born to Run,” the eye-opening bestseller that makes the case for us to return to our bare feet. We need to trust our feet and our natural way of walking. All else follows.

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Filed under Barefoot, Creative Living, Feet, Health, Soft Star Shoes

Review: Luna Sandals and the ‘Born to Run’ Minimal Experience

Born-to-Run-Luna-Sandals

You know that feeling when you discover something really cool? That’s what happened to me when I tried on a pair of Luna Sandals. It was inevitable that my feet would meet these sandals. I am usually barefoot and always game for a new sandal. But the big difference in Luna sandals is that you can run in them. Run? Really? If that were true, that would be quite a game changer, wouldn’t it? Well, the fact is, you’ll believe you can fly in these sandals, just as if they had wings.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Books, Creative Living, Creativity, Exercise, Health, Reviews, Sandals, Sports