Comics Daze

Today’s a nice day for comics. It’s kinda… grey…

Psychic TV: Dreams Less Sweet

14:37: The Gift by Zoe Maeve (Conundrum)

Love the artwork here…

… and it’s an intriguingly told fantasy about what the tsarinelles’ (that’s totally the correct word for “czar children”) lives (and deaths) were like. But… I just found myself annoyed with the entire thing. My brain was going “another fucking Romanoff thing? But why!”

It just seems crass and over-done as a subject matter, and somewhat offensive in the execution? Somehow.

But it’s well done! I’m so ambivalent.

Nobukazu Takemura: Zeitraum

14:55: Hilda and the Mountain King by Luke Pearson (Flying Eye)

I’ve like these Hilda books, but now that it’s a Netflix series, are they gonna start sucking?

This is apparently the second part of a two-parter, and it’s so… dense. There’s so many characters (with bizarre designs) that it’s kinda hard to pay attention.

And I’m sorry to say that it reads pretty much like a storyboard for a TV series. So I guess my fears were justified.

But, I mean, it’s not bad. It’s got a pretty epic ending.

Nobukazu Takemura: Zeitraum

15:23: Coping Skills by John Cuneo (Fantagraphics)

This is a sketchbook thing, so I assumed this was gonna suck, but it’s great.

It’s very funny, and I love Cuneo’s line. It’s also just a very handsome book — it’s tall and narrow and that somehow seems appropriate.

Nobukazu Takemura: Zeitraum

15:38: Only the Good Stay Dead by Joe Queenan & Keith Bendis (Fantagraphics)

Joe Queenan… is that the guy who wrote that hilarious Putting on the Ritz book? … No, that was Joe Keenan.

This is the story of Mitch McConnell’s karmic journey.

It’s… it’s amusing? But…

16:03: O bli hos meg by Lene Ask (No Comprendo)

This book is a collection of interviews with children of missionaries — they were usually placed in boarding schools while the parents went to Madagascar and Santal, converting people to Christianity.

It’s a nine hankie book: Ask allows the people to tell their own stories in a seemingly straightforward way, but it’s really… considered? It’s a very precise book, with heart-wrenching beats that sneak up on you. It’s kinda angry? But keeps it well hidden?


Kid Sister: Ultra Violet

16:29: Goes by Luke Kruger-Howard (Goes Books)

Oh, yeah, this was that book that’s… free… but you can buy copies for other people? Something like that.

It’s an interesting book — it’s all emotion, and I was expecting there to be a punchline somewhere, and it doesn’t happen, and that’s an interesting reading experience.

Kruger-Howard does some formal storytelling things that are pretty neat.

PJ Harvey: The Peel Sessions 1991-2004

16:45: Tongues #4 by Anders Brekhus Nilsen

My confusion here probably makes things seem even more profound than they are (I think this project was started three years ago, so I’ve basically forgotten what it was about), but this is a stunning issue anyway: So many things are happening and it all seems so… er… profound? I don’t mean that in a snide way, but things seem to connect in interesting ways. It’s fun to read.

And as usual, there’s lots of stuff included. I love getting an issue of Tongues in the mail.

David Harrow: The Succession

17:12: Gulosten: Gentlemansforbryteren by Kristian Krohg-Sørensen (No Comprendo)

This is based on the life of a true-life Norwegian guy who was a gangster in the 20s. There’s a lot of to-and-fro-ing, but it doesn’t really have much of a shape? There’s so much going on that I was exhausted after a quarter of the book.

I get the feeling that the artist got pretty bored with the project at points, too — the level of detail varies wildly on a page-by-page basis.

It’s not a bad book, but…

Mark Beyer: Radiator Music

18:18: A by Pavel Čech (Torgard)

This is the most generic book I’ve read in my life. It’s like “what if we could make a book that’s, like, against oppression! But not mention any specifics! That’d be awesome!”

No, it’s not. It’s just tedious.

So I wondered why on earth anybody in Denmark would produce a Danish edition (well, there’s not much to translate here), and the colophon explains:

It was paid for by the Czech gummint (and the Danes, for some reason).

Hey, I’m all for supporting the art, but that sometimes leads to absolute (well-meaning) trash like this getting distributed.

Coldcut: What’s That Noise?

18:37: Trots and Bonnie by Shary Flenniken (New York Review Comics)

Oh, right — getting a Trots and Bonnie collection published is something I feel like I’ve read about for decades now, but I guess that Flenniken just didn’t want it to happen. I’ve never read the original strips myself, so I was a bit… er… apprehensive? I.e., when something’s this popular, it has to suck?

It doesn’t — it’s very good. The oldee tymey artwork is fantastic, and the strips have a wonderful, chatty flow: The strips have great pacing and are pretty funny.

But I find the book format to be kinda odd. It all seems so cramped? Most of the pages are like this, in a narrower form factor, and everything seems like it’s reproduced at a too-small size.

And then the half-page strips are even worse, because they seem like they should have been much wider?

I.e., it’s odd that they didn’t do a larger format book.

My Cat Is An Alien: Mort Aux Vaches

19:43: Fictional Father by Joe Ollmann (Drawn & Quarterly)

Hm… Oh! Ollmann! I totally ditched his previous book (the Seabrook thing) because it was just horrible! But I got this one? Uhm…

So we start off with in introduction that tells the reader that the plot of this book may seem totally derivative, but that Ollmann didn’t know. And… Dennis the Menace? What?

This starts of really horribly — it seems to be a retelling of a documentary or something? It’s very choppy.

Ollmann drops in some strips from the “beloved cartoon”, and that doesn’t work at all, because they’re really bad — it’s hard to imagine anybody connecting to that, even on a Garfield level.

At about fifty pages in, I was totally ready to ditch this, because it just didn’t work for me. But I stuck with it, and … OK, it’s not really that interesting, but it gets better: The storytelling gets smoother and it feels like we’re going somewhere. It’s… it’s fine?

And I really enjoyed this page. Props for this page!

Fad Gadget: Incontinent

21:42: Prototyp by Ralf König (Fahrenheit)

This looks like a collection of shorter pieces that were originally published in a different format?

It’s all about philosophical questions about religion and stuff. I’m guessing religious people would find it deep and blasphemous, but I just mainly thought it was really kinda boring? Easily the worst thing I’ve read from König. (So it won a German award for “the best” something in 2009.)

Nobukazu Takamura: Music for the exhibition “Einheit”

22:33: Beatnik Buenos Aires by Diego Arandojo & Facundo Percio (Fantagraphics)

So this is a collection of moody… scenes? from Buenos Aires. With lots of poetry and stuff.

I do like the artwork… the figures sometimes seem overly posed, but it’s good stuff.

It doesn’t really build to anything, though, so that’s slightly disappointing.

(The font used for the computer lettering is really annoying. It’s so … strident.)

Various: Rocksteady Got Soul

23:12: Pizza Punks Collection by Cole Pauls (Conundrum)

This is very goofy. I like it.

It’s basically the same thing from the first to (almost) the last page, but there’s also some fun different things in here.

The Au Pairs: Playing With A Different Sex

23:44: Forår i Tjernobyl by Emmanuel Lepage (Fahrenheit)

This book is about a trip Lepage’s took to Chernobyl along with some other French artists do document the experience.

It’s a very personal book… Lepage mostly talks about how difficult it is to say anything of what he’d planned to book to be about, because everything just looks so… normal…

But it’s a string book. Lepage’s artwork’s very nice, of course, and it’s just got a good flow.

Various: Cold Wave

01:02: Trojka by Kim Leine & Søren Mosdal (Fahrenheit)

This is pretty interesting graphically…

I see influences from Brandon Graham, Blaise Larmee… CF? I basically see 2015.

I’m not sure what to make of the story — it’s a post-apocalyptic thing involving a prison in an icy waste with a mad priest and lots of ultraviolence (so it’s not very original), but the storytelling with the sudden flashbacks is kinda neat and exciting?

So I’m not sure I would actually recommend it, but I think I’ll be picking up the next volume in this series when it’s published.

Steve Reid: Nova

01:26: Sleep

And now it’s time to sleep. I only got in a solid eleven hours worth of comics reading time, but thems the breaks.

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