book review: hilda and the midnight giant

Luke Pearson’s Hilda and the Midnight Giant is a beautiful comic. It’s a story about a little girl and her mom who live out far from town, and are being harassed by anonymous messages telling them to leave. And Hilda is pretty sure there’s a giant as tall as a mountain out watching them. Hilda does not want to go live in the nasty old town so she tries to negotiate with the tiny invisible people who live in their area and want her and her mother gone.

It’s cartoony with a purplish palette, and Hilda is clever and cute and makes perfect use of her fantastical world. The negotiation with the different layers of invisible government is all kinds of awesome. It works as a story about colonialism and who gets to live where too.

book review: warriors of medieval japan

I’ve been on a bit of a samurai kick recently, so Stephen Turnbull’s book Warriors of Medieval Japan was a welcome addition to the pack. It had large segments on Samurai, Ashigaru, Ninja and Warrior Monks, mostly focusing on the Warring States period. Interesting stuff I had no idea about beforehand. I wish there’d been a bit more pre-1400s stuff, but generally it was all good. Not thorough or exhaustive, but good enough to let me have an idea for stuff to use in role-playing games. I really like the idea that ninja in paintings (and all our modern conceptions of them – Storm Shadow aside) are clad in black because that was simply the convention for depicting someone who couldn’t be seen.