Comics Daze

It’s a nice day for reading comics. And I could listen to… hm… Yeah! I’ll listen to a lot of Bowie. It’s a Bowie kind of day.

David Bowie: Space Oddity

06:02: I Wish I Could Say “Thank You” by Yukari Takinami (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)

So this book is about the artist’s mother dying from pancreatic cancer.

I’m having some problems with the chronology here — things seem a bit messy, but that’s probably a conscious choice. The translation is somewhat wonky — the medical terms don’t seem to be quite the right ones often?

The ending was quite moving, though. Not the bit where the mother died, which was very matter of fact — to an almost bizarre degree. But the very last pages.

David Bowie: Hunky Dory

06:59: In Your Next Life You Will Be Together With All Your Friends by Anders Brekhus Nilsen

Oh, I’d forgotten that I had ordered this… that’s the nice thing about comics that take longer time than probably planned — it arrives out of the blue as an unexpected gift.

This is a collection of odds and ends (mostly published before), and some sketchbook stuff.

These kinds of things usually don’t work that well as a reading experience, but this one really coheres: The pieces seem to complement each other and grow into a larger thing somehow.

I love it, and I also love the thingness of the book — with the different paper stocks and the insets and stuff, it’s just a very satisfying object.

David Bowie: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars

07:24: The Thud by Mikaël Ross (Fantagraphics)

Lovely artwork, and it’s a ten-hankie story.

The pacing is a bit odd… but it’s a really strong book.

David Bowie: Aladdin Sane

08:09: Joe Frank: Ascent by Jason Novak (Fantagraphics)

I like these texts a lot. Very funny and sometimes affecting.

I’m assuming these texts already existed, and this is an adaptation? (It’s against my religion to read the text on the back covers of books (or introductions).) I’m not sure the illustrations bring a lot to these texts… but… it’s still a good book.

David Bowie: Diamond Dogs

08:57: The Strange by Jérôme Ruillier (Drawn & Quarterly)

I like the storytelling approach here — it’s a chorus of people recounting their encounters with “the strange” (i.e., an immigrant).

But it also feels really uncomfortable, because he remains a cipher who seemingly has no agency (or personality) of his own. All we get is what other people (and a bird) observes.

So it’s a bit “eh?”, but the mood conveyed by these pages is impeccable.

David Bowie: David Live (1)

09:22: The Golden Age by Roxanne Moreil & Cyril Pedrosa (First Second)

The graphic technique here is astounding — it looks like everything has been screenprinted. But I guess Pedrosa is just going hog wild with layers in Photoshop.

I get exhausted just by looking at it, though: It looks so labour intensive.

The storyline is… I guess… a kinda post-Game of Thrones kinda thing? It’s got a bewildering number of characters, and there’s plenty of intrigue and murder. But no sex or torture, which makes it less Game of Thronesian. It’s pretty good? I guess I’ll be getting the second volume, too.

David Bowie: David Live (2)

10:20: Heritage Awesomes Silicon Session Prototype V 6.0 by Carson Grubaugh and Dave Sim

I guess this is a parody of a Heritage auction catalogue or something? Never having seen one, I guess I’m missing how hilariously funny the parody is.


In any case, this is part of a fundraiser for Grubaugh to finally release The Strange Death of Alex Raymond? It’s a pretty handsome book, although I have to admit I didn’t actually read that much of it… perhaps there’s a ton of hilarity here… or just more “comics metaphysics”, which is (as far as I can tell) Sim’s version of what the rest of us call “random things”.

But here’s Grubaugh’s version of Ironheart, the Riri Williams super-hero from Marvel.

David Bowie: Station to Station

10:58: Min vilje, din lov by Bo Torstensen (Bogfabrikken)

This is a Danish comic from 1994 — and there wasn’t that many of them around that time (except for comics aimed at children). This one feels really ambitious, even if it’s basically just a very, very convoluted mystery.

Torstensen is obviously very influenced by Tardi: The panel placement, the tone, the views of the city… but the linework and the characters look nothing like Tardi, and the characters are pretty… bizarre? I mean, look at the two women in the lower right panel: They look like they a meter tall or something.

These pages are so busy that it’s difficult to interpret them immediately… and the story is also oddly paced. But it’s an interesting artefact to find; kinda thrilling — like something from a parallel universe. Unfortunately, he just did four albums, and he’s now apparently working for Lego.

David Bowie: Low

12:01: Nobody Likes You, Greta Grump by Cathy Malkasian (Fantagraphics)

This is super-duper cute.

I laughed and I cried. Thumbs up.

David Bowie: “Heroes”

12:31: The Crossroads at Midnight by Abby Howard (Iron Circus)

Uh-oh. Another book from Iron Circus… I think I’ve read several books from then in a row that have been pretty dire… Well, let’s see.

Wow, that’s really nice artwork. It kinda reminds me of Scott McCloud when he was doing those lush black and white issues of Zot… only better.

The storytelling, though, is rough. After having read a couple dozen pages I started flipping back and forth to check whether the pages had been printed out of order, and then I theorised that the pages with black borders were a flashback, and then I wondered whether those were supposed to be the “real world” while the white-bordered pages are fantasy, and then I gave up and kept on reading.

And then it ends! I thought this was one long story, but this is a collection of stories? Horror stories? Geeze. And the next story starts with a woman finding a grody mattress on the streets? How much does a mattress cost anyway?

I think I’d rather sleep on the floor than on mattress I’ve found on the street, really.

But, OK, after my readjustment… These are really good horror stories! And more gruesome than you’d expect.

Howard is really talented.

David Bowie: Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78) (1)

13:21: Š! #38 (Kuš)

It’s been a couple years since I last read Š!… I used to have a subscription, but that lapsed, and I forgot to renew it or something.

This isn’t the strongest issue I’ve read — most of the pieces seem really slight, but there’s a couple good ones in here (as seen above).

David Bowie: Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78) (1)

13:34: Power Pack #4 by Ryan North, Nico Leon, Rachelle Rosenberg and others (Marvel)

This isn’t firing on all cylinders…

… but it’s still pretty amusing.

David Bowie: Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78) (1)

13:49: Wiccan and Hulkling #1 by Howard/Vecchio/Grundetjern and others (Marvel)

So, I know nothing about this “King in Black” nonsense…

… but it’s a bunch of Venoms? Fine, fine; no problem. But the book is such a mishmash of scenes that go nowhere… it’s a very frustrating read.

And the artwork does nothing for me.

David Bowie: Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78) (2)

14:06: Maids by Katie Skelly (Fantagraphics)

This is really good!

It’s got a compulsive readability thing going on.

David Bowie: Lodger

14:22: 2024 by Ted Rall (NBM)

I like Ted Rall. Or at least his drawing style: Those wonky faces and those thick/thin lines. Even the lettering is appealing to me.

But this is so overwritten that there’s hardly room for any artwork.

It’s been a long while since I’ve read Nineteen Eighty-Four, and I didn’t realise until halfway through that Rall was doing a scene by scene … parody? of it. I mean, it was clear from the first page that this was a riff on it, but I thought that is was more general and less specific… but then we really do get a scene by scene version of it, down to being tortured by having to watch channel 101, which is the most boring nature channel ever (only about rats, you know).

I know! That sounds very funny indeed. But … it just feels badly edited. It’s like there is a really funny parody of the novel buried in here somewhere, but it’s hard to sift through this for the gems.

David Bowie: Scary Monsters

15:45: The Abominable Mr. Seabrook by Joe Ollmann (Drawn & Quarterly)

This starts of well with a very condensed life of this guy…

… but then it turns out that that was just the introduction! And now the book starts and we’ll get those 15 pages expanded to 300? I was getting bored with the buy after the first 15 pages already!

I’ve never been so instantly turned off by a comic like this. Whoever came up with the idea for doing that recap of his life at the start?

This isn’t bad, but I find that I have absolutely no interest in this book, and I bailed at page 80. Just out of sheer boredom. But I suspect that people that like this sort of biography will like this book.

Perhaps it would have worked better without that introduction.

David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1)

16:49: Tuberculosis 2020 by Rikke Villadsen

This book is a homage to Munch. It’s a gorgeous little book — the reproduction of a sketchbook is great, and the colours are fabulous.

And it’s hilarious!

I love how she’s also reproducing the bleed-throughs from the original book. It’s sometimes disturbing, because the next page in this book isn’t always what we’re seeing the bleed-throughs of. If you follow my drift.

Anyway; it’s a wonderful little book.

David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (2)

17:02: The Underground Sketchbook by Tomi Ungerer (Fantagraphics)

I guess if you were a hep cat in the mid 60s, you probably had this book, right?

It’s fine.

OK, I can feel myself fading… I think that’s enough comics for a day.

It’s was a very varied mix of stuff? And while there were a couple clunkers, it was mostly pretty spiffy.

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