Comics Daze

Got a big shipment of exciting stuff yesterday, so it’s comics readin’ time!

Matthew Herbert: The Horse

13:37: Causeway #8-9 by CF

And what’s more exciting than getting new stuff from CF?

I don’t know what this is all about, but it’s fun nontheless.

And very mysterious. Love it.

13:45: Junction Box by James Tonra

I also got a big package from Deadcrow, the premiere (probably) publisher of underground comics (or something). This doesn’t seem to be actually published by Deadcrow, though…

This is a huge book — almost tabloid sized, I guess? And the paper is newsprint-like, but there’s a thicker cardboard cover. There are no dates anywhere in the book, and it feels slightly water-logged, and some of the pages haven’t been fully cut, so it’s an object that feels out of time? I went “whee!” when I opened the package.

The strips are a mix of narrative and non-narrative stuff. Some are funny, and some are serious, but it feels quite cohesive anyway.

Love it.

14:30: You Will Own Nothing And You Will Be Happy #1 by Simon Hanselmann

Hanselmann is self-publishing this series, which is supposed to run quarterly “for many years”!

Oh. This is a zombie thing?

That’s crushingly disappointing.

And… it also feels like a kind of a retread of Crisis Zone? Them being stuck in a house.

Hanselmann’s previous book (about Megg’s band) got a lot of criticism for being trying people’s patience, and… is Hanselmann leaning into it? “Look! I can be even more static!” But this is a really conventional book, really: I can easily see this being adapted into a Netflix TV series. It’s just so… normal. The only joke in here is Megg drinking bong water.

In the long (and amusing) text at the end, Hanselmann acknowledges the hackneydness of the zombie concept, and that text gives me hope for future issues of this series. It’s apparently going to be between 20 and 30 issues (48 pages each), so in that context, having a slow-moving first issue like this makes sense. I mean, as projected a 1200 page book.

So I’m cautiously optimistic about the series (which I’ll continue to buy, of course).

Fad Gadget: Gag

15:04: Call Me Nathan by Catherine Castro & Quentin Zuttion (Selfmadehero)

I like the artwork on this — very free-flowing and pretty. But the storytelling is really choppy. It seems to stumble along without much rhythm.

It’s a book that’s admirably on the side of the protagonist kid, but that’s also a problem: Nothing’s analysed or anything, and instead we just get a kid that’s honestly feels a bit whiny.

Various: Undergroundextra

15:31: Cowlick 6 by Floyd Tangeman (Deadcrow)

There’s a nice mix in this issue — about half the pieces are (more or less) narrative, and half are (more or less) abstract.

Gorgeous! (I don’t quite know who did this, because the contents page is… er… too much work for me.)

It’s another great issue — it flows well, and everything is interesting.

15:44: Slipping/The Basement/Quests by Kit Anderson

I bought a whole bunch of stuff from Radiator Comics.

This is very original — it’s a kind of horror story, I guess, but goes nowhere you’d expect. Love the storytelling.

This one is a wistful thing about memories and things.

And finally, an extremely charming book about a wizard that does nice things.

These are impressive little books — very original, and they’ve got a very moody mood going on.

16:05: Sun & Sand Comics Anthology 2 (Radiator Comics)

This is a very cute book apparently featuring local Florida artists?

The only problem is that the printing is a bit on the naff side. Or perhaps the scanning? Several pieces come off as way too brittle, so it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s going on.

But there’s mangoes in several stories, which reminds me:

I got some mangoes yesterday and forgot to year them.

Nom nom nom.

16:17: Centralia by Miel Vanderpitte (Living the Line)

The rendering is pretty impressive — it’s like a mix of… Moebius and… er… 30 comics strips?

Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into this. I like whimsy and absurdity as much as the next person, but this just seemed like one kah-razy thing after another. It doesn’t really feel like it’s going anywhere? And then it turns out that it’s just a kinda normal save-the-city story, really. It’s the kind of thing that really should work, but it doesn’t. Instead it’s just kinda annoying and kinda boring. Kinda.

Oh, right — that explains why this has been translated, I guess? It’s sponsored by Big Dutch Export Money.

Sweeney: Corporeal

16:58: Ruining Your Cat’s Life/In Case if Emergency/Unicorns of Planet Earth by Lauren Barnett

I’ve been enjoying Barnett’s very funny strips on Solrad for a while now, and I finally got around to shopping her books.

I was talking about how distant the whole stay-at-home 2020 feels now — it’s just three years ago, but it feels like thirty. Response: “That’s because 2020 was like 30 years long.”

This book is very amusing, and the artwork is appealing — especially the painted bits. But one note: You absolutely don’t have to cover the cup of vinegar/soap — the point of the soap is reduce the water surface tension, which makes the flies drown when they put down on the liquid.

(Am I being the “ackshully” reply guy here? Probably!)


The unicorn book is the oldest, and her artwork sure has developed since then. But it’s still funny (and slightly heartbreaking).

I also got a fridge magnet.

And that quarantine book reminded me that I should take a shower. Be right back.

Various: These Clouds…

17:51: Phase 7 #25 by Alec Longstreth

All refreshed.

Wut… #25? Of a book that I’m totally unfamiliar with? This cannot be! I see that he’s got a whole lot more available here

This is pretty charming stuff. I think I’ll go on a mini shopping spree on that web site…

18:07: Cosmic Fern by Sarah Maloney

This is very trippy and quite fun.

18:11: Our Grans Station by Kelly Wang

This is really cute and more than a little wistful.

18:16: Lines no. 1 by Castro Jr.

You don’t see sports in comics much these days.

It’s a pretty amiable book, but it’s like the artist is afraid to actually say… well… anything, so it’s a bit… aimless?

18:32: Recent Minis/Sleep Tape 1-3 by Kit Anderson

Wow, I got a lot of Kit Anderson stuff from Radiator Comics…

The minis are really lovely.

Very calm and beautiful.

I appreciate that knot! Easy to open.

I’m not quite sure about the Sleep Tape books. I mean, the first one is very nice…

… but then the other two repeat/change up the sleep tape routine, and it all just becomes very soporific indeed. Which may well be the intended effect — these books will put you to sleep!

But now I have to eat some of these just to wake myself up! Yowza!

Neil Young: Archives Vol. II (2): Tuscaloosa (1973)

18:45: Girl Juice by Benji Nate (Drawn & Quarterly)

I’m guessing this was serialised on Instagram? It’s got that feeling.

So the first three quarters of a book is basically strips with a punchline at the end of each page, and some of those jokes are pretty good. Then Nate shifts into doing more long-form storylines, and that’s a lot interesting to read in a book. It gets a good groove going, but some of the sub-plots kinda go nowhere.

Then! Suddenly! We get something that read totally different — like a single, coherent story. Unfortunately, it’s just a riff on The Exorcist, but updated to an oh-so-topical “social media is the real demonic possession” thing, and it all falls flat.

But it’s an attractive book that’s pretty funny, and I can totally see people reading this, literally rolling around on the floor, laughing.

King Crimson: The Complete 1969 Recordings (7): Live at the Fillmore West

20:06: Escape from the Great American Novel by Drew Lerman (Radiator Comics)

This reminds me quite a bit of Dorman’s Doggie-era Frank Stack. With more Herriman, of course — the dialect play is quite impressive.

And… I’m guessing this is also an Instagram strip? (Hanselmann mentioned not wanting to serialise his new book on Insta for various reasons — one was the it cramps the layouts.)

This is all one long story — but it still follows the strip format (with a punchline on every page).

Oval: Romantiq

But it’s got a good flow nevertheless — the antics are pretty amusing, and it all holds together. And I love the cartooning — it’s so… classic.

RP Boo: Legacy Volume 2

21:38: ??? Comix #1 by Floyd Tangeman

Sorry, I’m unable to parse that logo…

Oh, it’s one huge sheet… one-sided. But like eight pages anyway. It’s cool.

I don’t know whether this is part of that thing? It seems to be a collection of articles about bus lines in Brooklyn being redesigned and stuff?

Most puzzling!

21:45: Maelstrom by Céline Hudréaux (Bries)

I read the short story by Edgar Allen Poe a few days ago — this is a wordless adaptation of the story, so I thought it might make sense to read it first. (And they included it as a booklet in the book.)

This is very pretty…

Oh. Most of the book doesn’t really adapt the short story (which I wondered about — the story is so slight that I didn’t quite see how you’d expand that into a book). But instead we get a whole lot of drawings of marine life and life in general in this (allegedly) Norwegian city. It’s cool.

And then we get the maelstrom bit at the end, and I’m glad I read the story first, because I wouldn’t quite have gotten what was going on. :-/

But since I had, I quite enjoyed the sequence anyway.

21:54: Winter of Our Pandemic by David Collier (Spare Parts Press)

Collier’s books are usually pretty digressive, but have some kind of over-arching theme going on… but this seems even more meandering than usual. Not that I mind much.

But pet peeve time: A book with a very right binding and small gutters is just annoying to read. I mean, you have to bend it open all the time. Bend. Beeeend.

Snapped Ankles: Blurtations

But as always with Collier’s books — they’re kinda irresistible. I’m drawn into the storytelling rhythms and everything starts to make sense (even if there are things that don’t make much sense at all). Collier’s work has something ineffable going on… it’s like things grow more still and silent while reading? Everything slows down.

Roomful of Teeth: Rough Magic

23:22: 20km/h by Woshibai (Drawn & Quarterly)

I initially thought that this was going to be something Yuichi Yokoyama-like, but instead it’s a collection of brief vignettes (each a handful of pages long).

The artist seems to strive for a poetic/”isn’t that ironic” punny thing in most of the strips.

But like… fuck off. This stuff was trite forty years ago, and now it’s just offensively tedious. Is this a strip designed to be shared on Facebook or something? “Oh, it’s so poetic! It’s so deep!” It’s puke-worthy, is what it is.

What’s happened to Drawn & Quarterly? Half their output these days is just … horrible.

23:38: Gordita: Built Like This by Daisy Ruiz (Black Josei Press)

I’ve read so many comics about being bullied in school and stuff (it’s a perennial among comic book artists, for some reason *ahem*), so I’m a bit wary of these books these days…

… but this was just flabbergastingly interesting. It’s told in a very straightforward way that shouldn’t work, but it ends up being emotionally affecting as well as entertaining and pretty funny. That the artwork is lovely doesn’t hurt, either. It’s a real uplifting surprise.

Lonnie Holley: Just Before Music

23:53: The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen (Random House)

The artwork here is, I guess, sorta halfway between Japanese and French? It’s sometimes a bit hard to tell the characters apart.

But it’s quite interesting. We get three stories at once, sort of — there’s the main story, where a boy is (among other things) reading a fairy tale to his mother, and then the fairy tale, and then the mother remembering her own history. So we get these three stories colour-coded like the above. Not that that’s original or anything, but it’s done very fluidly; it’s pleasant to read.

The pacing drags a bit towards the end, but the book stakes the ending. It’s a solid book.

00:52: Salome’s Last Dance by Daria Tessler (Fantagraphics)

This is the weirdest thing Fantagraphics has published in a while. It’s like… uhm… I guess it most reminds me of 70s underground comix, and in particular Kim Deitch? But it’s not like that, really — it’s totally original.

It’s kinda awesome.

01:06: The End

And now I’m utterly exhausted, so I should go to bed.

OTB#34: La jetée

I forgot to do this movie in this blog series! I saw this movie a couple years ago.

So Chris Marker has two films on the directors’ Top 100 now? Isn’t that all his movies?

Anyway, this is an amazing movie that shouldn’t work (it a series of still images with voice over) but totally does. And at #34, it’s the third highest new entry on the 2022 list, unless I’ve tallied wrong.

La jetée. Chris Marker. 1962.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best 2022 series.

OTB#4: Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

This is it — the final new entry on the directors’ Top 100 — and it’s at #4. (On the critics’ list, it was #1.) It’s a controversial film, because it’s over three hours long, and there isn’t much dialogue — instead we’re watching Delphine Seyrig doing stuff with longer takes than is normal.

I watched this movie almost a decade ago, and I had reservations initially, but then got quite enthusiastic. And now I’ve got the new 2K restoration from Criterion.

This isn’t like I remembered the movie! The first half hour, at least, is totally action packed. OK, some scenes go on for a bit longer than usual, but it’s a lot more conventional than I remembered… I just remember Seyrig peeling potatoes for three hours (and then going on a killing spree Deathwish IV: This Time It’s in Brussels OOPS SPOILERS).

Seyrig’s performance is great, but it’s very performey (that’s a word). That is, her expression in most scenes say “now I’m performing this bit”, like her stance now is expressing “now I’m performing shining some shoes” (which she’s obviously not done before). It gives everything a slight sense of… not unreality, but heightened reality, in a way?

It gives everything a slight frisson of unreality.

Akerman’s shots are meticulously composed — I watched an interview with her where she said that she was constantly trying to do shots that were totally off-centre, but she was always dissatisfied with those shots, so she returned to balanced shots.

Watching Seyrig’s back for five minutes while she’s doing the dishes… that’s an unconventional choice. But it’s kinda riveting! So much withholding.

“Taux d’Internet”!?


Some of the stuff she’s doing is kinda inscrutable — at least now. She seemed to be going to the post office to… buy money orders? Cheques? Make deposits? And now she’s entering data from some cards into a book?

I’m guessing these things would be more understandable at the time?

Wow… is this the first moment in the movie where she’s not busy? She’s just staring off into space for a few seconds…

And then the next shot has a “wrong” focus.

Everything’s already going awry — it didn’t start with the Day 2 Guy.

Oh, the last day is the longest day…

There could be a whole line of Jeanne Dielman merchandise — I’d buy that thermos.

And… dish rags!

Man, this film flies past…

I saw some Galaxy Brain reactions to this becoming The World’s Best Movie on twitter (*gasp*, you’re all saying now: not on twitter! where everybody’s reasonable!) along the lines of “people claiming that Jeanne Dielman isn’t boring are lying! Of course being boring is the whole point of the movie! Washing the dishes is boring so that’s what Akerman is saying!” But really, no — this movie isn’t boring at all, and it’s not designed to bore anybody. Akerman wanted to make (as she said) movies that were as thrilling as any Hitchcock movie — and she did.

But perhaps everything that’s going on in this movie is better appreciated on second viewing?

Anyway: It’s brilliant.

Jeanne Dielman. 23, quai du Commerce. 1080 Bruxelles . Chantal Akerman. 1975.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best 2022 series.

May Music

Music I’ve bought in May.

I’m still limping around after twisting my ankle, so it’s SO IRONIC that I’ve got a new EP by:

Snapped Ankles - Planet You (Official Video)

Don’t you think? It’s pretty good, too.

after-image I: nothing stands still

I also like the new album by Liis Ring. I guess it’s part of this thing that I haven’t seen anybody try to make a genre name for yet — it’s albums that are made from sounds from around the house, but sometimes somebody breaks out into song. Bird noises, people talking in the background, cars passing by, and then a beautiful little song. Derek Baron, Jenny Berger Myhre… I love it.