What a lovely day.
So why not spend it reading comics all day long? Yes, why not.
The other day, I tidied up my stacks of unread comics, and I unearthed a bunch of pamphlets and minis hidden in between all the bigger comics, so let’s start with those… and I’ll put a bunch of 4AD EPs on the stereo.
|Rema-Rema: Wheel In The Roses|
09:02: The Infinite Horizon & Lake Michigan by Mike Freiheit
Two stories with twist endings… the artwork is pretty lively.
The twist in the second story isn’t much of a twist, but it’s the better story.
|The Birthday Party: The Friend Catcher|
09:10: Malarkey #5 and Even More Diary Comics by November Garcia (Birdcage Bottom)
The diary mini is hilarious!
The Marlarkey is more substantial, but also really funny. And I love the random colouring.
|Modern English: Gathering Dust|
09:27: Flop Sweat by Lance Ward (Birdcage Bottom)
So these are autobio comics about Ward’s childhood, done in a pretty rough style…
… and no editing — things get repeated and there’s not much direction to the book. I realise that this probably felt important for the artist to tell, but it feels very undercooked.
|Dif Juz: Huremics|
09:55: Paper Rodeo #19
This is a compilation, I guess? Paper Rodeo happened in one of my low-comics periods, so I think I’ve only got a couple…
This is great.
And I’m not usually into druggy comics. It’s got such a strong point of view.
|Dif Juz: Vibrating Air|
10:07: Paper Rodeo #18
Hey! Another one. And with a cover by Ron Regé jr.
Love it. It’s a brisk read, though — I guess the ideal way to read this would be go get really stoned.
Even the ads are way way.
10:23: Tat Rat #8 by The Forsley Brothers
This little story about living in San Francisco these days feels very accurate.
Can’t argue with the sentiments here.
|Xmal Deutschland: Qual|
10:49: Big Drink by Max Huffman
I love the oddball format and the stark graphics.
It’s a fun little book.
|The Birthday Party: The Friend Catcher EP|
11:07: Diary of a Monster by Karen Sneider
It’s very funny.
|This Mortal Coil: Sixteen Days – Gathering Dust|
11:11: The League of Super Feminists by Mirion Malle (Drawn & Quarterly)
OK, done with the minis.
While there’s nothing in this book I disagree with, it’s a pretty clunky reading experience. Is this meant to be used as a textbook in school?
I mean, the artwork’s pretty lively and stuff, but there’s not of… there there.
But perhaps kids will find it helpful.
|Cocteau Twins: Sunburst and Snowblind|
11:37: Julian in Purgatory by Jon Allen (Iron Circus)
I wonder whether Allen set himself a challenge: “Can I create a story about an absolute shit with no interesting qualities whatsoever, and have no other interesting characters in it at all, drawn in this bland way, and still create something that’s a satisfying thing to read?”
The answer is no. It’s no, Allen.
|Colourbox: Colourbox [MAD315]|
11:54: Okay, Universe by Valérie-Plante & Delphie Côté-Lacroix (Drawn & Quarterly)
I love the colours here. The faces are a bit 2020, though… those triangle noses are used by a lot of people right now.
Anyway, it’s a really sweet book — I was smiling the entire time I read it. But it’s got these oddball moments in the storytelling that had me flipping pages back and forth. For instance, on this spread, I though the daughter had gotten lost in the market, and when she didn’t appear for many pages, I wondered whether that was a plot point or something. But… nope, then she appeared and that was that. So it’s just a … thing. And I wondered about other things like this while reading. So the reading experience wasn’t as smooth as it was meant to be, I think.
|Cocteau Twins: The Spangle Maker|
12:24: American Splendor #1 by Harvey Pekar and others
Oh, now I understand why it’s taken me so long to score a copy of this issue… almost half of it has R. Crumb artwork. I think most of the other issues only have a smattering of pages by him?
Most of the rest of the issue is illustrated by Gerry Shamray, one of the other accomplished artists from the early era. So this is a really well-drawn issue, and… all the stories are totally on point. Is this the best issue of American Splendor ever? Reading this was pure pleasure.
Of course, since the stories are mostly super strong, they were reprinted in those Doubleday collections in the mid-80s, so I’ve already read most of the stories. It’s still a thrill to read this issue. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like stumbling upon this issue in a comics shop in 1979.
|The Wolfgang Press: Scarecrow|
13:16: Seasonal Shift by Lala Albert (Breakdown Press)
This is absolutely amazeballs.
It’s funny and unnerving.
And totally fabulous.
|This Mortal Coil: It’ll End In Tears|
13:51: Sugartown by Hazel Newlevant (Silver Sprocket)
It’s very cute.
I like that there’s no real conflict. Everybody jams conflict into everything, and that’s boring.
|Cocteau Twins: Treasure|
14:05: Elle – Dix mille lucioles by Cosey (Fabel)
The colours are lovely as ever, but the linework is rougher than in the past. In any case: this is a fascinating read. It’s so oddly structured — the main part of the book is Jonathan getting instruction in meditation and Buddhist … er… stuff (which I’d normally find really boring, because religion), but it’s got such a flow. It’s mesmerising.
And then in the ten last pages it suddenly turns into something else… but that something else had been present in the book from the start. (Spoilers: It’s really about the brutal Chinese oppression of the Tibetan people and other minorities in China.)
It’s a really strong album from Cosey, and I’m kinda shocked.
|Dead Can Dance: Spleen and Ideal|
14:52: Hm… perhaps I should take a break and stretch my legs. The weather’s still very nice out there…
|The Wolfgang Press: The Legendary Wolfgang Press and Other Tall Stories|
16:08: Free Shit by Charles Burns (Fantagraphics)
So this is a collection of the first 25 issues of “Free Shit”, a mini-comic Burns would print up with stuff culled from his sketchbooks and stuff.
So it’s a wild mixture of things.
We all love Burns, so…
|The Wolfgang Press: The Legendary Wolfgang Press and Other Tall Stories|
16:21: A Bunch Of Kuš Minis by Various (Kuš)
Heh heh. This Harukichi thing is funny.
Chihoi. Such comic book.
|The Wolfgang Press: Standing Up Straight|
16:40: The Cross-Eyed Mutt by Étienne Davodeau (NBM)
Oops; this is another one of those Louvre books… they’re pretty hit and miss.
Hm… Davodeau… the name seems familiar. Was he the one who did that book about the bio-dynamic wine people? Yes, indeed. OK, now I’m looking forward to reading this; that book was fantastic.
Oh, I think I know where this is going… or… have I read this before? Hm.
Anyway, it’s super cute. It’s adorable.
And he really sells the Louvre, which is surely what the point of this series of comics is.
I do think the ending doesn’t quite work, though. The rest is such a delight, and then I (like the Benions) felt kinda let down there.
|Throwing Muses: Throwing Muses (1)|
17:28: Nymph by Leila Marzocchi (Fantagraphics)
Wow, this is like nothing else… I was a bit sceptical at first, because I just couldn’t see where this was headed.
But then things snapped into focus and I was totally into it. And she stakes the ending, which I thought was going to be impossible; it’s pretty much perfect.
And that lovely artwork.
|This Mortal Coil: Filigree & Shadow|
18:10: Shingouzlooz Inc. by Lupano & Lauffrey (Cobolt)
So this is one of those “alternative” takes on classic European comics.
Hey! This is really funny. The artwork isn’t really a pastiche of Mézières, but it’s really Valérian and Laurelineish.
And a super-complicated galactic time-hopping plot. It’s everything you could wish for in a book like this.
*three thumbs up*
19:10: I Should Eat Something
|Various: Lonely is an Eyesore|
19:30: Ghostwriter by Rayco Pulido (Fantagraphics)
This is an engrossing book…
… with many cool storytelling bits (that all seem taken from Jaime Hernandez, but whatevs). It’s good… but I have no idea what happened at the end. Where did that baby come from? Who did she finger as the killer?
I’ve been sitting here flipping through the book for ten minutes, and I can’t really find an answer. I guess I could re-read it, but…
|Dead Can Dance: Within the Realm of a Dying Sun|
20:24: Mysteriet i Coimbra by Etienne Schréder (Arboris)
Nooo! I didn’t notice that this was published by Arboris: I’ve read dozens of their books (somehow they always end up being on sale), and I can’t recall a single one that’s good. They vary from “unreadable pap” to “almost competent”.
I don’t know their story, but they’re a Dutch publisher, and most of their artists are Dutch, and it many of their books seem to be published with financing by the (you guessed it) Dutch state (in Holland, Denmark and probably other countries?), so I wonder what’s up with this.
Hey. There’s a “mirror” in here… well, that’s nice.
Right. This was published for a festival at the university of Coimbra, so I’m assuming it was made to order.
Oh, that’s what the mirror is for…
Well, that was fun, but the comic itself is … not good. But I guess this was just meant to be a souvenir… and somehow they printed a Danish version of it, too.
|Pieter Nooten & Michael Brook: Sleeps With The Fishes|
20:42: The End
OK, I think I’m fading now. Enough comics for one day.