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The Manara Library Volume 2 [Hardcover]

Mino Milani
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 45.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Feb 2012 The Manara Library
Dark Horse continues to bring the works of Italian comics master Milo Manara to American audiences with Volume 2 of The Milo Manara Library! This deluxe hardcover, newly translated by Eurocomics expert Kim Thompson, features the sweeping historical epic El Gaucho, the second of Manara''s storied collaborations with his mentor Hugo Pratt, author of the internationally acclaimed Corto Maltese. Rounding out this volume is "Trial by Jury," a series of shorts, never before published in the US, in which some of history''s most notorious figures undergo a mock trial. The Manara Library offers English-language readers a chance to experience the illustrative storytelling of a true comics master.

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The Manara Library Volume 2 + The Manara Library Volume 3 + Manara Erotica Volume 1
Price For All Three: 135.00

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse (7 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595827838
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595827838
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 21.3 x 27.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 582,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful artwork 31 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover
Second Volume continues the high quality the first volume showed. Well worth checking out if you are looking to be introduced to Manara.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half great, Half mediocre 15 Feb 2012
By Zack Davisson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The first volume of Dark Horse's "Milo Manera Library" was phenomenal. A take-your-breath-away type of comic that makes you want to run around holding it up like some sort of holy book and shouting "This! This is why I read comics!!!" It is really that great. And I was drooling at the mouth waiting for the follow-up volume.

"Volume Two" is, unfortunately, disappointing.

Which isn't to say it is bad. "Volume Two" still has Hugo Pratt (the genius behind Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea) and Manara working together on the South American adventure "El Gaucho," which is an excellent story. But the whole book just isn't that same level of amazing.

Part of the problem is disparity. "Volume One" had "Indian Summer" (1980)and "Paper Moon" (1982), which were both linked thematically as stories of Native Americans in the American West, and they were completed consecutively so that Manara was at the same stage of his artistic style and career. Volume Two has "Trial by Jury" (1975) paired with "El Gaucho" (1991). The two could not be further apart. Especially "Trial by Jury," which was Manara's second published work and is so different from his usual style that I wouldn't have known it was Manara if I hadn't been told. I guess you could say they are linked emotionally; they are both bleak and depressing works.

OF the two, "El Gaucho" is the real stand-out and the reason to buy this collection. This is one of two stories where Hugo Pratt and Manara collaborated and it is wonderful. In a remote village in South America soldiers come upon a nomadic tribe living with a blue-eyed white man, who claims to be over one hundred years old. Tom Brown's Spanish, unused perhaps for decades, is slow, but he tells his story of how he first arrived as a Drummer for the British Navy, and of how circumstances lead to his abandoning his former life.

El Gaucho is a hard and tough story to read. There are no heroes in the dealings of conquest and colonization. And Pratt and Manara are not in the business of making heroes. There are some scenes in El Gaucho that are heartbreaking, such as when a rouge attacks a beautiful and innocent woman and drags her into a filthy shed to rape her. As the hero races to her side, you wait for the moment when he will burst through the doors to prevent the evil deed. But El Gaucho isn't that kind of story. This is the kind of story where the hero can never help anyone, and at best can revenge.

The real disappointment of "Volume Two" is "Trial by Jury." Written by Milo Milani, they are a sequence of black-and-white short stories mimicking a trial where certain "villains" from history come forth to plead their case and why they should be pardoned. Each story lasts about ten-twelve pages. The trials are:

* General George Custer - Massacre of Native Americans
* Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku - Planned and executed the bombing of Pearl Harbor
* Alfred Nobel - Inventor of dynamite and the Peace Prize
* Helen of Troy - Who is actually tried twice for inciting the Trojan War
* General Hernan Cortez - For his extermination of the Aztecs
* Atilla the Hun - The sacking of Rome
* Maximilien Robespierre - For the Terror during the French Revolution
* Robert Oppenheimer - Creation of the Atomic Bomb
* and Emperor Nero - Murdering his brother. Generally being a Roman Emperor

There is nothing really bad about the "Trial by Jury" pieces. Manara's early art is still beautiful, and seeing his black-and-white line work really makes you appreciate his draftsmanship. It is just that they just aren't that great, either. The stories are formulaic and repetitive by nature, and reading them all in a row is overwhelming and boring.

For the price of these collections, the expectations are high. Dark Horse isn't packaging Manara's work chronologically, so they have more freedom and should be more careful about what they bundle together. The "Trial by Jury" segments would have worked much better as an ongoing back-up feature in every volume rather than collected together as a single offering. Hopefully with "Volume Three" we will be back to the all-thriller, no-filler collection of "Volume One."
5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Manara: Master! 6 Feb 2012
By Axel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Volume 2 of the Manara Library continues the high quality offering of master Italian artist Milo Manara translated into English. The volume contains El Gaucho, an historical epic crafted by Hugo Pratt and drawn by Manara together with a series of short stories drawn by the master, featuring historical characters undergoing mock trials.

While the quality of this volume is as good as the previous one, fans might leave vol. 2 feeling a little empty. El Gaucho is a dense historical epic with intrigue and tragedy aplenty, but oddly lacking the lyricism of Pratt's previous "Indian Summer" and Manara's delicacy as well. In "Gaucho," Manara's art inexplicably loses some of its fine fluidity and energy, although it remains as detailed as ever and also shines for its incredible clarity. An even darker story than "Summer," "Gaucho" runs the gamut of emotions and has a fairly large cast, but perhaps because of the remoteness of the lead, the complexity of the plot or the fact that the majority of scenes are of talking heads, the story never quite pulls you in completely, and the reader experiences the events unfolding with a level of critical detachment that never quite goes away. Manara's art here too is something of a wonder - it's almost as if a different artist is drawing here than the one who drew for Pratt in Indian Summer. Surely, Manara's art style is more fluid than some would have you believe, and between the stories collected in this volume alone, Manara displays some subtle but nonetheless significant differences in overall style.

My major disappointment with the volume however, is that the majority of stories of the second half of the book featuring the mini-trials of historical figures are in black and white, and this was a disappointment to me. Not a purist myself, I would have preferred to have seen these stories colored for this volume rather than left as they were originally published, although I recognize that some might take strong objection to that. I simply would prefer when paying for a volume like this to have it all be in color. The stories containing the mock trials are fairly pedestrian, although they occasionally raise an interesting question or two regarding the historical subjects they cover, but overall they lack the charm and punch of something like "Paper Man" or other Manara works.

Overally, this volume was a marked let down from the previuos volume, which was so exquisitely good that I determined immediately on reading it that I had to purchase all nine volumes of this series as Dark Horse publishes it. This volume has forced me to reconsider that intention, since the lack of color for half of the book and the stories themselves are solid but never quite reach the sublime heights of the previous volume. I'll await reviews of volume 3 before purchasing, but that aside, I would strongly recommend every fan of comics own some example of Manara's work, as the artist truly is a master at his craft.
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