What? Another daze less than a week after the previous one? And… this one starts right after midnight?
What can I say… my sleeping patterns are all fucked up.
Let’s get started.
00:35: Sweet Time & other stories by Weng Pixin (Drawn & Quarterly)
Oh, yeah, the style seemed familiar: A couple of these stories were published by Kus…
Some of these stories are heartbreaking, but since more than half of them have very similar themes, it starts getting a bit much. The diary entries mix things up, though.
Love the artwork.
01:21: What Is Inside #1 by Goda Trakumaite
Oh yeah, I read the second issue of this a few weeks ago. I’m so disorganised.
I really enjoy the retro 70’s art style.
It’s perfect for the subject matter, and the storytelling has got an easy, fun flow.
And there’s a DVD included!?!? Well, I can’t watch that now; gotta read more comics.
01:39: Blackwood: The Mourning After #4 by Evan Dorkin, Veronica Fish and others (Dark Horse)
I don’t know… it’s got that classic horror movie set up (and twist endings), and that quite works, but it’s just so… brash?
01:50: Bill & Ted Are Doomed by Evan Dorkin and Roger Langridge (Dark Horse)
Well, I’m always up for some Langridge.
It’s amiable. But Langridge doesn’t get to strut his stuff here, so I’m disappointed.
02:03: NMIK by Jeremy Baum (Adhouse)
Is this a print-on-demand book? It has that feel…
Anyway, it’s a series of (possibly) intertwined vignettes with a vague narrative. Or it’s a bunch of drawings placed next to each other. In any case, it’s got a good flow, and the artwork is, of course, very attractive.
02:14: Queen of Cosmos Comix by Barbara “Willy” Mendes (Red 5 Comics)
Far out, and pretty funny.
The reprints (?) of older stuff was even better. I remember stumbling onto Willy Mendes comics in old underground anthologies and digging the vibes, but it’s even better here in this oversized collected.
02:40: Ginseng Roots #6 by Craig Thompson (Uncivilized)
The series is still going strong. I think this is the best issue yet? It seamlessly blends a lot of information about growing ginseng…
… with horrifying tales of religious damage and personal travail (and successes).
It’s a very good issue, but I’m wondering how they’ll assemble it into a collected edition. Because it’ll be a very dense book if they just collect it all as is.
03:00: The Swamp by Yoshiharu Tsuge (Drawn & Quarterly)
At this point, perhaps it’d be more logical just to reprint Garo in its entirety? Just kidding; I know anthologies don’t sell. But it’d be fun to have at least one issue translated, just to see what it’s like, instead of all these single-author collections pilfered from Garo.
Anyway, this is fine… except the lettering. They’ve chosen some god-awful pug-ugly font here, with the worst keming ever, and even the word placement in the balloons looks janky.
The stories are a mixture of “serious” stuff (mostly with Shocking Twist Endings you can see coming for kilometres) and humorous stuff, which is more successful.
But it’s fine. It’s pretty entertaining.
03:49: Rubrique-a-brac by Gotlib (Interpresse)
This was published in Denmark in 1980, but I finally found a copy the other week. After ordering it from the used book store, I got an email back saying something like “the reason it’s so expensive is that it falls apart. Do you still want it?”
I was puzzled for a second, and then I guess that this meant that 1) it’s expensive because it’s one of the only surviving copies that hasn’t disintegrated yet, and 2) when I do read it, it’s gonna fall apart.
And I just opened it and:
So this is probably just going to be a pile of sheets after I’ve read it…
Veddy veddy careful.
Wow, that’s some bizarre colouring.
OK, you’re probably not going to be able to read this, but it’s hilarious. I mean, it’s just so stupid. Sure, every jokes doesn’t land, but cumulatively it just gets funnier and funnier.
And here’s where DC filched the multiverse thing from.
05:33: Nap Time
07:27: Frutto Acerbo by Trillo & Mandrafina (Tegneseriekompagniet)
Well, this starts of as a pretty generic 70s Italian genre exercise: South American dictatorship, private dick, blonde, etc, but then three different commentators are introduced, and it all goes kinda meta.
The style they use to mark the flashbacks (and there’s a lot of them) is … unique? It’s basically these extra white lines in the middle of the black ones. I thought it was a printing error at first. Looks pretty repulsive.
And the book is pretty repulsive all over. It’s boundlessly idiotic, but that can be amusing. The relentless sexual violence, mostly played for laughs, is nauseating.
And it’s way, way too long for this kind of thing.
The German translation of the book is called “The Iguana”, of course, after the psychotic killer that nobody ever seems to consider that they should maybe perhaps shoot? Until the female love interest is fridged, of course.
08:45: To Get Her by Bernie Mireualt (BEM Graphics)
Bernie Mireault! I used to love The Jam back in the 90s. That thing has never been collected, has it? Nope, but some wikipedian sure is a fan of it. I started reading the thing in the Matrix days, but I lost track of it after the regular series ended in the 90s.
So this is the conclusion, really, and it’s self-published in an edition of 810 copies? Weird, because it’s such a likeable and readable series (as I recall; I haven’t read it since back then).
And this is a pretty good conclusion (and meta-ly wraps back to the beginning, so everything’s all neat and stuff), but … the artwork… Man. The computer-assisted artwork is just brutal. Mireault’s line is usually so lively and attractive, and this is deader than a very dead thing. Which makes ever page a chore to get through.
Still: It was very nice spending some time with these characters again. I should re-read the Jam stuff I have sometime.
And somebody should definitely publish a collected edition! Please! That way I wouldn’t have to dig through all my cases of comics! Please!
09:56: The Adventures of Tad Martin Omnibus by Casanova Frankenstein (Lulu)
I read the last two issues of the Tad Martin series earlier this year, and they were amazing. The earlier issues were mostly pretty hard to find, so I got this omnibus.
The very earliest stuff is a lot of fun, but it feeds a bit into a general feeling of being all transgressive and fun.
But that changes after just a few pages to become intense and personal and totally engrossing. And I love the start artwork.
The newer comics are in a quite different style… more fun and whimsical, but the stories grow even more personal and intense. It’s a weird combination, but it totally works, I think.
Get it from Lulu. It’s a steal at $25 for this large, handsome hardcover edition.
11:54: Bruno Brazil 1: Black Program by Aymond & Bollée (Zoom)
Bruno Brazil was a series for teens (I guess) in the 70s (I think), and was notable for Vance’s stylish artwork and the somewhat grittier tone than most French-ey adventure comics back then: I remember that a bunch of the protagonists got killed at one point? And half of the remaining ones ended up in wheelchairs or blind?
I remember being shocked when I was like ten.
But this is a new start: A new number one, and with a new team. It’s probably going to suck?
Well, the artist here i no William Vance… it’s kinda generic French-ey action comic in style, but the faces look a bit off-putting. And it starts off with Brazil seeing a therapist to get over all his friends and co-workers getting killed off. And is set in 1977, when Greg and Vance abandoned the series.
It’s… odd? It totally geared towards old people who’ve already read the original series: There’s so many references to events and people from the past here that I’m guessing reading this would be pretty off-putting for new readers. But it’s very … modern in the storytelling in that it’s mostly just domestic drama, the protagonists keeping things hidden from each other, visits to the psychologist, a bitchy wife and an adopted son that says things like “you’re not my father” that it’s obviously made for fans of The New Golden Age of Quality TV.
So basically, not much happens in this first album: It feels like an extended intro to an interminable drama TV series, while the original Bruno Brazil series was like a feature movie every album.
So. It sucks.
12:42: Franka: Operatie roofmoord by Henk Kuijpers (Zoom)
Not many Dutch children’s comics have made it out of Holland, but Franka has been puttering along since… the 80s? I’ve only read a handful.
First of all, the artwork is much better than I remembered. It’s like a super-busy ligne claire thing, and I love it. (But I can see how others would find it cluttered.) Second of all… this isn’t much of a children’s comic: It’s structured around Franka (here only seen in a couple of inset panels) reading a document about machinations happening just after WWII. It’s got reams and reams of info about WWII stuff… and it shouldn’t work at all.
But it does. I’m somehow totally intrigued. I can’t explain it: It should be deadly, but it’s entertaining.
I’m also amused by how Kuijpers always draws the characters smiling. Perhaps I’m just smiling in response and liking the feeling of smiling or something. Nefarious!
Anyway, I’m getting more Franka albums to see whether this one was just a fluke.
13:41: L’uomo della Somalia by Hugo Pratt (Faraos)
This is the third and final album recently translated to Danish of Pratt’s four contributions to the Italian boy’s series of One Man One Adventure. The first two subverted the premise, so I’m wondering what he’s up to here.
Yup, Pratt’s gonna Pratt. It’s not much of an adventure: Instead it’s (apparently) an officer that hallucinates for 40 pages, killing most of his soldiers.
Pratt never lets us down.
This was drawn in the late 70s, which was probably Pratt’s best period? He’d left the scratcher style behind, but not gone into further abstraction.
Every page is striking.
14:03: The End
And… I’m exhausted. I think it’s time to go to bed.