Comics Daze

Let’s do it! I’ve wanted to do a comics reading day for yonks now, but things keep getting in the way. But now!

I’ve got candy!

I’ve got a new, soft blanket! (It’s chilly.)

I’ve got comics! And Now That’s What I Call Quite 80s on the stereo!

Let’s go!

The Smiths: Complete (5): The World Won’t Listen

11:18: Tin Foil Comix #1

This anthology has a very strong point of view — I wonder whether these artists all hang out or something?

It’s all about drugs, dreams and video games, though.

11:34: The Party by Tomi Ungerer (Fantagraphics)

It’s this party, see.

I do like the sheer revulsion on display, though.

John Lurie: Music for “Down By Law” and “Variety”

11:50: The Life of Namezuko by Daisuke Ichiba (Hollow Press)

As usual with Hollow Press, this is beautifully printed.

And interesting graphically.

But I can’t tell whether this is meant to be funny, or whether it’s sincere, or whether it’s just some edgelord thing.

I was bored senseless halfway through, though, and started skimming.

12:10: Love and Rockets #9 by Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics)

Gilbert is filling in yet more stuff from Palomar history… it’s fascinating, but it also feels a bit like a retcon? There’s a lot going on.

Jaime is doing lighter stuff. It’s a nice mix.

M-A-R-R-S: Pump Up The Volume

12:29: Psychodrama Illustrated by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)

So this is another of Fritz’ movies? I mean it has to be…

Ah, yeah, there she is (in a clever disguise). I mean, the introduction pretty much said so, but I still wasn’t quite sure what this was.

As Fritz movies go, it’s not the normal fare. And I’m not sure whether it’s supposed to be a really crappy movie or not?

Sussan Deyhim & Richard Horowitz: Desert Equations: Azax Attra

12:45: Power Pack #1 by Ryan North, Nico Leon, Rachelle Rosenberg and others (Marvel)

I think The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl was the best thing Marvel published the past like decade, so I’m excited to read Ryan North’s new Marvel book.

And… it’s fine? I mean, it’s got some good gags, and good energy, but I didn’t actually laugh out loud even once. Perhaps my expectations were just too high.

It’s good; I’m on board.

Biting Tongues: Compressor

13:02: I, René Tardi, Prisoner of War in Stalag IIB Volume 3 by Tardi (Fantagraphics)

We start off where the previous volume ended…

… and there sure is a lot of infodumping about the war and stuff. And imagine! The French cops joined the Resistance ten days before the Liberation. Now what does that remind me of… hm… hm… no, can’t think of anything.

But then we switch to the story of Jacques Tardi growing up, mostly without his parents, and we shift storytelling modes significantly: Instead of an endless series of facts about the French/German sitch, we get amusing quotidian scenes.

I absolutely love everything Tardi does, and I loved this book too, but the structure is pretty weird.

The Art of Noise: In No Sense? Nonsense!

14:58: To Know You’re Alive by Dakota McFadzen (Conundrum)

It’s weird — I’m pretty sure that I’ve read the magazines where these short pieces were originally printed? At least some of them? But I can’t remember reading them before, and that’s odd, because McFadzen has insane cartooning chops.

On the other hand, the stories are a bit… generic. Post-Columbia, say — it’s this mixture of childlike wonderment and transgressive horrors. And the horrors get really gruesome and kinda nauseating. I think he’s going for unnerving.

Not the above story, though, which I assume is autobiographical.

Mick Karn: Dreams Of Reason Produce Monsters

15:27: The Forbidden Harbor by Teresa Radice, Stefano Turconi (NBM)

So the set-up here is that there’s a guy with amnesia and I’m just eh. What. Again?

The artwork is very Italian Disney, I guess?

I’ll read just about any comic book, but this is just such a slog. Nothing about this interests me, and I ditched the book one third in. I guess I’ll take it to the charity shop.

Pieter Nooten & Michael Brook: Sleeps With The Fishes

16:04: Portugal by Cyril Pedrosa (NBM)

I love Pedrosa’s line, his pacing, his way with using bits and pieces of dialogue, his characters and his way of drawing scenery.

But the colours are doing me in! There’s pages and pages that look like somebody is watering out vomit with piss and using that as the only palette! It’s horrible!

On the other hand, it makes spreads like this really stand out, which is perhaps the point, because it’s about a guy that’s… well, not depressed, but a bit pensive and sad.

And I also love this spread because it the most accurate representation of what it feels like to come to a new, warm place, listening to bits and pieces of conversation in a language you don’t understand, and just loving it. And Portuguese is the loveliest language, isn’t it?

Wonderful book, although in the third part it became a bit too much like a mystery novel.

I don’t have time to make food when I’m finally having a comics reading day, so today’s dish: A “kebab bowl”.

It tastes better than it looks. Lots of veggies on the bottom there.

Jane Siberry: The Walking

18:25: Versailles: My Father’s Palace by Labat, Veber, Lemardelé, Vitrebert (Humanoids)

Wow, that’s some stilted dialogue… the artwork’s a pretty odd mixture of cartoonish and realist…

“Don’t get it twisted”?

I’m… OK, this is just dreadful. Bailing.

Various: Lonely is an Eyesore

18:55: The Burning Hotels by Thomas Lampion (Birdcage Bottom)

It’s a graphically interesting book…

… but the storytelling is rather choppy.

Andrew Poppy: Alphabed

19:15: Eddie’s Week by Patrick Dean (Birdcage Bottom)

Another Birdcage book? Oh, yeah, I … kickstartererd something? Or something like that? Looks like a little stack of books from them here. I had forgotten.

This is a very unexpected comic. I mean… it reads a lot like a 90s indie comic series? And you don’t see that a lot these days. I mean, a comedy/underground thing that has nothing to do with drugs, ultraviolence or video games, which is what contemporary undergrounds are about (see Tin Foil up there).

Instead it’s just this pretty funny, solidly narrative thing… but… I find myself tuning out. The plot is great; I never know where it’s going next. But I think I would have enjoyed this more in smaller doses? Like… a 90s alternative comic book?

Bel Kanto: White-out conditions

20:52: On The Odd Hours by Eric Liberge (NBM)

Lots of strange aesthetic and narrative decisions taken here. First of all, this is printed at about standard US comic book size, and these pages are super cluttered, so just telling what’s even going on is exhausting.

And then making the protagonist totally unlikable, in addition to looking like a schlub is… a decision.

The storyline is the normal “oh art has to be a living thing”? I think? It’s not very good, and I started skimming halfway through. (Man, I’m not having the greatest of luck with this batch of comics…)

I do like the depictions of people signing. Very original.

Chris & Cosey: Exotika

21:12: Desperate Pleasures by M. S. Harkness (Uncivilized)

Hey! Uncivilized have never published anything bad…

This started off kinda choppy? The line work here is really attractive…

… but the character designs are just a lot. It’s a lot to get used to, what with the bobble heads and the … hair… And I had a lot of problems deciding whether a couple of the characters were the same character (but with different hairdos, so we were skipping back and forth in time?) or not.

But things resolved themselves at about halfway through, and then it was all… gripping?

It’s very interesting structurally, and more than a little horrifying.

Steven Brown: Searching For Contact

21:55: Be Your Own Backing Band by Liz Prince (Silver Sprocket)

Hey… have I read this before?

I think I may have? At least parts? Perhaps in a different edition?

Anyway, I read it again, because it’s super cute and fun.

David Sylvian: Secrets of the Beehive

22:43: When I Came Out by Anne Mette Kærulf Lorentzen (Selfmadehero)

The art style here isn’t really working for me. The empty, colour-filled spaces seem so randomly placed…

… and the whole anthropomorphic thing doesn’t seem that well-thought-out, especially when other “real” animals are involved. And I think there’s something off about the translation? I found myself back-translating into Danish to get the point of what they were saying here and there? If I’d known it was translated, I would have bought it in the original Danish.

ANYWAY. It’s a pretty cute book; a bit meandering and shapeless, but it’s got a sort of low-key, quiet atmosphere going that’s appealing.

Jon Eberson & Sidsel Endresen: Pigs and Poetry

23:17: The End

And now it’s time to sleep, I think. I’m exhausted.

One thought on “Comics Daze”

  1. “Man, I’m not having the greatest of luck with this batch of comics…”

    I was wondering earlier in the post if other times you had more patience or were more in the mood to power through the bad ones.

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