Comics Cavalcade Day 12

Look at that pitiful selection of comics remaining! Will this be the day when I finally conquer the Window Sill Of Too Many Comics?

Let’s find out, and as usual: No reviews.

The Structure is Rotten, Comrade by Viken Berberian and Yann Kebbi (Fantagraphics)

This is a pretty odd book. The authors seem to want to say something about the demolition of old architecture (I think), but do it mostly through really weak jokes and so many layers of irony that it’s… just… odd.

Perhaps one of the problem is that some of these jokes don’t really translate so well.

Anyway, the artwork is rather spiffy.

OK, I snickered at that one. And I liked the constant wrecking balls in the skyline.

Heavy Metal #291 & 292 allegedly edited by Grant Morrison

A couple of years ago, I signed up for a Heavy Metal subscription. It’s nice getting stuff in the mail, right? Unfortunately, the contents of the magazine wasn’t very… good… so I was going to drop it.

And then Grant Morrison took over as the editor (sure) and I renewed the subscription, because I was curious as to how that was going to turn out.

And there wasn’t a big change: It’s still mostly vaguely 70s sci-fi, but kinda missing something.

Some older creators (like Richard Corben), but also a lot of younger ones. (Geez, look at that character design…)

Like Ed Luce. Unfortunately, it seems like everybody is pretty much conforming to the Heavy Metal template. It does mean that it’s pretty coherent as a reading experience, but it’s also so… samey…

Perhaps Enki Bilal is the biggest attraction here, which may explain why they’re serialising him at a totally glacial pace. It’s like six pages every issue from a very long story, so virtually nothing happens per issue.

It’s very pretty, though.

Hey! Gerhard!

There’s also a lot of “artist galleries” in here. It’s mostly comics-adjacent illustration, though.

Wow. A rare experimental piece by the editor and Rian Hughes.

Anyway, I let the subscription lapse.

Anti-Gone by Connor Willumsen (Koyama)

Yeah, yeah, I’m the last person in the world to read this book, which was The Official Best Comic of 2017, if I remember correctly.

As usual with Koyama, the feel of the book is excellent. But I’m somewhat nonplussed with how this got so much attention at the time. I mean, it’s good, and it’s exciting to see a new talent stretching, but…

… it’s basically a story about two young people getting stoned.

I guess that’s as universal experience there is, and it’s satisfyingly unnerving, but…

The artwork’s cute.

Willumsen’s piece in the newest Kramers was much stronger, I think.

Krazy + Ignatz: Inna Yott on the Muddy Geranium by George Herriman (Eclipse)

When I did the Eclipse blog thing I read all the rest of the Krazy + Ignatz volumes Eclipse published way back when, but this volume took about a year to arrive. So I’m reading it now.

It is, as usual, totally fantastic. And it’s a miracle that Hearst managed to force as many editors as he did into carrying it.

Mmmm… pancakes… I should make pancakes. Be right back.

Mmm… pancakes…

Tempo vol 25 (Egmont)

Hey, didn’t I just read one of these? *bing* Oh, right, they’re no longer publishing these nostalgic collections of action series for boys quarterly: They’ve stepped up to bi-monthly, which either means that it’s selling better, or that it’s selling worse and they’re trying to step up the pace and sell more to a diminishing audience before they all cancel their subscriptions?

I don’t know!

Anyway, it’s a standard mix of action stuff with more action stuff. The Bruno Brazil thing by Louis Albert/William Vance is pretty good: Vance’s noodly, dynamic and sharp artwork holds the attention.

The same can’t be said about this Ringo album, drawn by, er, William Vance. But five years earlier! 1968. It’s about a northern and a southern soldier teaming up. Sort of. I guess you could charitably describe the approach Vance takes here as chiaroscuro, but I think it’s probably just sloppy.

And finally, a Michel Vaillant short by Jean Graton. VROAROOA VROOAM! Everything a boy needs.

Father and Son by E. O. Plauen (New York Review Comics)

This kind of gag thing isn’t really my kind of thing.

But you have to admire the inventiveness.

I think the sentimental strips work better than the ones that are just going for the gag.

Still… not really my cup of oolong.

Shrimpy and Paul and Friends by Marc Bell (Highwater Books)

Oh, yeah, I got this 2003 book as part of the kickstartererd Worn Tuff Elbow #2.

With this nice thing, suitable for sowing onto my jacket.

Anyway, it’s a collection of 90s strips that I kinda guess were serialised in a free newspaper or something? Just guessing. It feels a lot more “underground” than just about anything else I’ve read from Bell, and more improvised. I mean, his other stuff seem to have a kinda floating logic to it, and a structure that isn’t obvious at first but then locks in. This feels a lot more random.

But I mean, it’s Marc Bell. The artwork is super cool and there’s jokes.

Oh, OK, not all the jokes work, but it’s a satisfying package.

Shipping Saver #1 by Marc Bell (No World Books)

Hm… Oh, yeah, the text up there explains what this is. Gotta love Marc Bell.

The booklet is pretty random, but fun.

Kindred by Damian Duffy and John Jennings (Abrams)

I normally avoid comics that are adaptations of novels like the plague… but I was kinda obsessed with Octavia Butler when I was in my 20s, and I kinda accidentally on purpose bought it.

Oy vey.

I viscerally hate this artwork. It’s got an “edgy”, “angular” sheen, but is just boring as fuck illustration. Why did Abrams go with this pair as doing the adaptation, anyway? Very strange choice.

What isn’t strange is doing Kindred as an adaptation. It’s Butler’s only… uhm… I want to say “clean book”, for some reason. But it’s her only book that’s mainstream bait, really. All her other books are intensely othering, while this is a high concept, straightforward sci-fi adventure: It’s about a black woman going back in time to Maryland in 1815, and the horrors that ensues.

Butler has seriously gone out of fashion, and it’s not difficult to see why (there’s nothing about her books that is not problematic), but she’s a brilliant writer.

I guess you could still adapt the Parable books…

Kindred is, like almost all of Butler’s books, very Science Fiction, with capital S and F; the characters react rationally to what’s happening and try to figure out how to work within this reality to survive. I love that, and I’m slightly surprised that they didn’t swap this out for So Much More Drama in the adaptation.

The adaptation mostly kinda actually works. It’s choppy as hell in some parts, but there’s sections that read well. It feels overstuffed, though, and overwrought in a way the original novel wasn’t.

But it could definitely have been so much worse than it is.

Komix #0-5 (Interpresse)

This is a Danish comics magazine from 1983-84 that I picked up used. I knew nothing about it, but I thought it might be fun to see what they were writing about.

It’s a mixture of interviews, reviews, articles and comics, like the Moebius short above I don’t think I’ve seen before.

The magazine is thematically stodgy: Since it’s 1983, I would have thought they’d be writing about what was exciting at the time, which was, well, Love and Rockets and what was happening in US alternative comics. But that’s virtually not mentioned.

Instead it’s all about undergrounds and Frenchey 70s comics.

Not that I mind seeing this Druillet/Tardi trifle, but it’s still weird. I guess they were just kinda… not very with it?

In the last couple of issues they cut down on the reviews and ran more comics, like this not very essential thing by Floc’h (which took about a quarter or the pages).

Heh. In the final issue, there’s a letter glued onto the inside back cover saying that Denmark is too small a country for a magazine like this, and that they’re returning the subscription fee.

Well, that mag was a bit of a disappointment all over… There were some interesting reviews in there, but nothing really… exciting.

I didn’t read the interviews, though. Because TIME.

Baron Bean vol 3 by George Herriman (IDW)

Hey, more Herriman! This is a series that I guess that he did partly concurrent with Krazy Kat? I haven’t read it before.

And… it’s… not as essential as Krazy Kat, perhaps. The jokes are pretty repetitive. Well, OK, they are in Krazy Kat, too, but they’re less corny and more weird there.

The marks are as delightful as ever.

You Don’t Get There From Here #45-49 by Carrie McNinch.

I love these… but I’m going to cheat now and put them by my bed and read them later. Because I have to clear that window sill today! And I’m behind schedule!

Marvel Two In One: Cry Monster by Steve Gerber and thousands more (Marvel)

The reason I bought this must have been that I was curious to see what Steve Gerber was up to in the early 70s. The first issue reprinted is written by Len Wein, and is boring as hell.

And it’s really too late for me to read the rest, so I’ll put it into the bedroom, too! I can stack all kinds of things in there! Sure!

And with that I succeeded! With almost no cheating! I have now conquered the Window Sill! Remember what it looked like! I did it! I will now never let it build up to such a ridiculous degree! From now on I will curb my comics buying and not ever go overboard again!

WHAT THE FUCK!? WHAT HAPPENED! THE SILL WAS EMPTY JUST SECONDS AGO! WHERE DID THOSE COMICS COME FROM!?!? Please don’t tell me that I went to the yearly sale at the comics store here a couple of days ago and went hog wild? Please!? PLEEEASE!

For one bright shiny moment…

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