Comics Daze

Hang on… I read comics all day yesterday. Is it possible to do that two days in a row? Let’s find out!

Hm… music… I’m still in a nostalgic mood: Let’s go with Talking Heads.

Talking Heads: 77

08:48: I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Mannie Murphy (Fantagraphics)

So… this is a book about River Phoenix?

I think the printing choices here are odd. Since they lean so hard into the watercolours-in-a-notebook vibe, what’s with the white borders on the pages? This would have looked a lot cooler if they’d gone for the whole “this is a notebook” kinda vibe.

Fantagraphics rarely do stuff like that, though — the books are kinda samey. I mean, as objects.

And then… Murphy expands the subject to be about Oregon and racism. The facts are interesting, sure… but… it’s… It’s structurally a mess. I think I see what Murphy is going for here, and while I agree 9000% with all he’s writing, I got pretty bored.

The Ken Death/Geraldo BIG REVEAL epilogue also seemed kinda odd, because… well… who cares about some Nazi asshole anyway? They’re a dime a dozen.

Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food

09:53: Orphand and the Five Beasts by James Stokoe (Dark Horse)

The last Stokoe series was absolutely insane.

Darn! This looks pretty normal…

No! It is absolutely, utterly insane! Yay!

Talking Heads: Fear of Music

10:01: Red Rock Baby Candy by Shira Spector (Fantagraphics)

This is absolutely amazeballs! It’s got such a wonderful flow… everything sort of slips and slides from one thing to the next, without ever seeming forced or weird. Well, everything’s weird, but in a great way.

I guess it reminds me a bit of Carol Tyler? And there’s no higher praise than that.

I love everything about this book. I mean, except the physical book itself; I don’t love that. It just feels to heavy and … square.

Talking Heads: Remain In Light

11:17: Mord for ord by Hans Ovesen (Bogfabrikken)

In the early 90s, it seemed like everybody was either emulating Tardi or Moebius. Guess which one this is.

But it’s good! This is a Danish comic from 1991, and it’s a story involving hired killers, a missing manuscript, and lots of intrigue and backstabbing. It’s fun! I guess I should get the other three books the author has made…


Talking Heads: The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads

11:54: On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden (First Second)

Wow. Another doorstop from Walden? … Oh! It’s from 2018! I guess I missed it somehow? Hm.

Walden’s super-talented… The plot of this is pretty… er OK, I won’t go into it, but it involves teenagers flying around fixing space ships/buildings, and everybody having a secret and stuff.

It’s totes engrossing, and the artwork is so gorgeous. I did have some problems telling all these people apart, though. And I’m not sure I actually understood the reveal in those caverns…

Talking Heads: Speaking in Tongues

13:50: Š! #39 (Kuš)

This issue is about death and stuff.

It’s fun.

It’s a strong issue.

Nice mix of narrative and non-narrative pieces.

Tom Tom Club: Tom Tom Club

14:14: American Splendor #6 by Harvey Pekar and others

This is it: The last issue of the original American Splendor run that I haven’t read yet. It’s a melancholy feeling… I’ve been a fan ever since I read my first issue (which I think was … *looks at the covers* #11 from 1986 (so probably in 1986, too)).

No Crumb here — Budgett & Dumm, the duo who’ve probably done the most Pekar pages…

Gerry Shamray is always experimenting. I like it.

This is more like his normal style — all crazied lines heavily based on pictures, I guess.

None of the stories here are… er… classics? But it’s still a strong issue.

David Byrne and Brian Eno: My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts

15:09: Children of the Atom #1 by Vita Ayala, Bernard Chang, Marcelo Maiolo and others (Marvel)

I can’t actually remember buying this… is this a crossover thing?

I have absolutely no idea what’s going on on these pages.

It’s very topical.

Hm… it’s not that bad? Perhaps I’ll continue reading it. Finding readable super-hero comics isn’t easy.

David Byrne: The Catherine Wheel

15:29: Bug Boys: Outside and Beyond by Laura Knetzger (RH Graphic)

This is really cute.

I wonder whether some of these stories are a bit on the scary side for the intended age class? Hm… probably not.

David Byrne: Music for The Knee Plays

16:17: Leonardo 2 by Stéphane Levallois (NBM)

So this is another one of those Louvre books…

It’s absolute twaddle.

Tom Tom Club: Close To The Bone

16:33: Castrovalva by David Genchi (Hollow Press)

Wow, this is a huge comic…

Pretty amusing, too.

Jerry Harrison: The Red And The Black

16:48: Wymoning Doll by Franz (Cinebook)

Cinebook is printing this in a smaller format, and it’d doing no favours to Franz’ already-muddy artwork…

I don’t think it’s just the reproduction… I just can’t get into this. I bailed at the halfway point.

17:16: Lon Chaney Speaks by Pat Dorian (Pantheon)

Uh-oh. OK, Pantheon has published some good comics… but a biography of an American actor?

Well, OK, how bad can it be?

Wow, that’s really awkward.

This is horrible! Much worse than I could have imagined.

I bailed ten pages later.

Perhaps I should just call it a day, even if I’ve just read comics for nine hours…

I’ve run out of Talking Heads (and related musics), too. When I first heard Remain in Light as… a twelve year old? I was flabbergasted at how brilliant it was, and I also had this idea that surely somebody who was that effortlessly fantastic had to have created an enormous oeuvre of amazing music… and so it seemed to be: All their old albums, and the side projects (Tom Tom Club, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, etc) were stunning.

So it felt like such a betrayal when they started to suck, and I couldn’t believe that they kept sucking. Badly! I know it’s absurd, but that’s how I felt as a teenager.

Ten fantastic albums is ten fantastic albums more than most people make. So thank you David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison.

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