Comics Daze

I have totally fucked up my sleeping patterns again, so I’m now up in the middle of the night.


But I’ve got candy and comics, so let’s get readin’ until morn. And nothing but 80s music, because it’s that kind of night.

Joe Jackson: Mike’s Murder

02:50: Too Tough To Die edited by Haleigh Buck and J T Yost (Birdcage Bottom)

So this is a collection of punk nostalgia comics? It starts off swell with a great Hyena Hell story…

And then Casanova Frankenstein! Whoo!

But then it… tapers off. There’s so much stuff in here, and while a sizeable number of the contributions are fine, about half the stuff in here feels so… unnecessary. It’s like an anthology without editors: It feels like nothing offered was excluded, no matter how tedious.

Was this book kickstartererd? Yes indeed. I wonder whether anybody’s done an analysis of kickstartererd (that’s a word) anthologies? They all have the same feeling of … a lack of urgency. I have no idea what’s up with that; why an anthology being financed via Kickstarter should affect the contents. But let’s just… guess… Is it because you reach into a different talent pool; one that’s already on the intertubes, and are used to putting their stuff on instagram, so the ambitions are already low? Or… is it because there’s nothing financial at stake, so the editors just find it easier to say “yes” to all contributions instead of being the asshole who goes “we don’t have room for that”, and instead pad the book with 150 pages of nothingness?

I mean, I don’t mean to sound too down. There’s good stuff in here! Like this Fred Noland thing. It’s just not a very good anthology.

Eurythmics: Touch

04:32: No One Else by R. Kikou Johnson (Fantagraphics)

I rather liked R. Kikou Johnson previous books, but this… it seems so calculated. It’s hitting all the notes for getting on Publisher’s Weekly Best of 2021 list. (Or something.)

It’s got no air. All the lines are trite and seem like they were written with an indie movie adaptation in mind. And I was holding out for there at least not being a death/birth thing, but even that hope was scuppered by the final scene.

Depeche Mode: Construction Time Again

04:58: I See a Knight by Xulia Vicente (Shortbox)

It’s got nice colours. The storytelling is a bit on the choppy side.

And it was expanded from an 8 page mini?

05:09: Moving by Luis Yang (Shortbox)

This is a spooky, mysterious little book. Excellent.

05:16: Bun’s Comfort Food Corner by Chu Nap (Shortbox)

This is quite cute. About half the pages are comics…

… and the rest are recipes. I gotta try a few of those.

05:26: Gristle by Lily Blakely (Shortbox)

Love the artwork.

It’s very body horror and it’s got the proper mood. It’s disappointing in that what happens is just what you expect to happen.

Still a good read.

05:33: Temple by Jack T. Cole (Shortbox)

Oooh, this is gorgeous.

It’s a bit reminiscent of those Prophet comics, I guess? But it’s really good; it’s got a solid mood and a great flow.

Longer book next time, please.

Richard Horowitz: Eros in Arabia

05:39: The Strange Death of Alex Raymond by Dave Sim & Carson Grubaugh (Living the Line)

Well, here’s something I’m not really looking forward to reading, but since I bought it, I guess I have to.

I read most of this back in the Glamourpuss days, I guess? And it was the usual Simian twaddle — he promises a lot of woo-woo at the start, telling us all the mysteries he’s going to reveal to us, and then everything dissolving into a mound of stupidity. Sim’s an expert on over-promising and then not even attempting delivery.

Well, it doesn’t start off that badly… Grubaugh’s artwork is really busy and somewhat headache inducing, but it’s OK. And the reproduction is fantastic.

I like the technical bits about drawing and stuff.

But as the book progresses, the… stupid just piles up. Sim repeats “Layers upon layers upon layers” for just about any sort of silly… “connection”… between the comics and what happened. For instance, here we have a character with … distinctive ears, so therefore that’s a … “layer”… to Stan Drake getting his ears ripped off some years later (which apparently didn’t actually happen anyway).

It just gets worse and worse. It’s exhausting twaddle. I had to give up about two thirds in, because it’s mind-bogglingly boring.

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

07:51: Unimpressed by Miranda Tacchia (Fantagraphics)

What the fuck… of all things I hate most in the world, collections of insta jokes is er one of them?

Oh! But it’s December, right? So ’tis the season to be giving people collections of shitty jokes.

The artwork does have a certain charm, though.

(I skipped this after reading about 30 of these totes hilair pages.)

The Cure: Japanese Whispers

07:58: The Waiting by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim (Drawn & Quarterly)

The Korean memoir genre is really popular these days. (This is fictional, though.)

But, wow, such artwork. Gorgeous.

The storytelling is top notch — it’s got great pacing; it’s very pleasant to read. But remember to have some hankies ready, because it’s very moving.


Colourbox: Colourbox (PolyGram)

09:07: Ex Libris by Matt Madden (Uncivilized)

This is very meta — it’s a pretty goofy thing about somebody locked (?) in a room with comics.

And all the comics are about comics and stuff. And then everything connects up!

It’s all a very mid-80s post-modern novel kind of thing, which I like. It’s fun. But… I think it’d got pacing problems? I think you could basically drop out a third of the pages in the middle and it’d make absolutely no difference.

But the bits that work are really quite a lot of fun.

Various: It’s a Crammed, Crammed, Crammed, Crammed World!

09:48: Tunnels by Rutu Modan (Drawn & Quarterly)

Whaa… this wasn’t what I expected from Rutu Modan at all. I really enjoyed her previous books, but they were very serious indeed. This basically reads like a Tintin album. Or rather… a Blake and Mortimer album? It’s fun, anyway. Lots of funny little gags everywhere, but with a very strong narrative.

But… while it starts off brilliantly, and lands the ending, there’s a stasis to the middle bit that’s not totally … thrilling? I zoned out during some of the back-and-forth that seemed to happen a few too many times.

Still, it’s pretty unique and a lot of fun.

The Style Council: Cafe Bleu

11:23: Lure by Lane Milburn (Fantagraphics)

Hm… kinda Dash Shaw-ish artwork?

Anyway, this is about some animators who go to Dubai to do some lame corporate event animation.

It turns out that the evil corporation is evil! Oops spoilers.

There’s scenes in here that’s fascinating, but it’s mostly rather by the numbers.

This Mortal Coil: It’ll End In Tears

12:14: The End

And I think I’m all comicsed out, and it’s time to go to sleep.

This was not the best batch of comics ever… to put it mildly. Oh well, can’t win all the dazes.

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