Comics Daze

Yes, it’s another beautiful day here, so I’m just gonna finish up reading the comics I’ve got on the sill over there…

The Names: In Mutation

13:36: Aya: Love in Yop City by Marguerite Abouet & Clément Oubrerie (Drawn & Quarterly)

I read the first half of this the other day, so I’ll read the last half now…

The copy I have is the fourth printing (from 2021), so I guess this is a really popular book? For all the right reasons: It’s so pretty, and it goes down so easily… it’s a joy to read.

Blaine L. Reininger: Commissions 2

The book ties up all the major storylines, but doesn’t feel overly forced — not everything is resolved, and continuing the series seems like a real possibility. But it was adapted into an animated movie, and no further comics have been published after that… But they started a new series in 2010, Akissi, which is about one of the kids featured in Aya? Hm! I don’t think I’ve read those? *shopping happens*

Thick Pigeon: Miranda Dali

15:25: American Blood by Benjamin Marra (Fantagraphics)

Ah, yes, 2016-ish… It was a different age — the age of the post-dumbs, with books like All-Time Comics from Josh Bayer and Fukitor by Jason Karns. The aesthetic is basically “what would comics made by that weirdo that mubles all the time at the back of the class at junior high look like?”

Marra’s not very good at drawing human figures or, well, anything, but when he slathers a lot of rendering on top of his inept linework, there’s at least something interesting going on. It gets an emulated outsider artist vibe? When Marra can’t be bothered to do the rendering, it’s just tedious to read.

It’s a varied book — he tries to do a Johnny Ryan thing here, and it’s a whole lot more cohesive than Ryan, but it’s not actually funny.

Reading this book requires slightly more patience than I have, so I started skipping towards the end. It’s a book that has glimmers of interest here and there, but it’s mostly just not that good.

2016, eh? It was a weird time.

Blaine L. Reininger: The Blue Sleep

16:41: Tinfoil 2021 edited by Floyd Tangeman (Domino/Deadcrow)

If I understand correctly, all the pieces in this issue are collaborations? And… it’s the best issue of Tinfoil ever? I didn’t expect that.

Every piece is some sort of unexpected delight.

It’s a fantastic anthology! It’s got a great flow. *slow clap*

Section 25: Deus Ex Machina

16:58: Vacuum Decay #4 by Harry Nordlinger

This is a very cohesive anthology: All the stories are about torture, maiming and extreme sexual violence.

So I was thinking: This is some next level Mike Diana shit. And then Diana shows up himself in one of the final stories.

This book is probably illegal to own in most jurisdictions in the world. I’m thinking about the story by… Mavado Charon? Which I’m not showing anything of here.

Dude. C’mon.

17:10: Reptile House #8

Hey! A 3D book! It’s been… weeks since I read one last. (I’m reading old Kitchen Sink books for a blogging project.)

I applaud people trying to have fun with the format, but this production just has one basic problem: The glasses don’t actually match the colours very well. With the blue glass you see the “wrong” set of lines fine, so things don’t 3D-ise as easily as it should, meaning that reading this is more of a chore than it would normally be.

But there’s some interesting work in here…

17:21: Tops by Charles Biro (Fantagraphics)

What on Earth… I bought this book because it says “Michael T. Gilbert” on the cover, and I wondered what he was up to these days. But instead this huge book reprints Tops, a late-40s comic that only had two issues before it was cancelled?

Is this some kind of elaborate joke? Has Gilbert created an entire fake magazine? I mean, Charles Biro existed, right? Lemme check… seems to confirm that it existed.

I’ve read a few collections of Biro comics, and I’m not really a fan.

Hm… interesting artwork…

Hey! Happy ending! (Miscarriage.)

Pole: Fading

Actually… this book isn’t that bad? I’ve skipped most of the text parts, but some of the comics are pretty good? This one is about a woman being stalked and beat up by a guy, and the courts don’t believe her. (But then a copper catches him red handed, so… happy ending?) (Both the assailant and his lawyer seem to be coded as Japanese-ish.)

The best piece is this one, illustrated by Virginia Hubbell.

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Hidari Ude No Yume (1)

19:16: Donald Duck: “Under the Polar Ice” by Carl Barks (Fantagraphics)

This is a collection of Donald Duck ten-pagers from 1959… Hm, OK, these seem so familiar. I mean, I’ve read everything Barks has done before, and most of the classic Barks material from a decade earlier a gazillion times as a child, but this seems eerily familiar.

Oh! I read this one last year! I’ve accidentally bought it again.


OK, onto the next book; I don’t need to re-read …

Juana Molina: ANRMAL

20:09: Boy Maximortal vols. 1-3 by Rick Veitch (King Hell/Sun Comics)

I can’t claim to be a major fan of Veitch’s super-hero deconstruction comics. I guess I’m not invested enough in super-heroes to want to see them deconstructed? But I’ve probably read all of his previous King Hell books anyway, and I’ve saw somebody mentioning this book, so I got a copy. From *ick* Amazon, because this is a print-on-demand book from Amazon.

Of all things.

Oh, it’s in black and white… I think the previous books were in colour? I may be misremembering.

Very nice artwork — better than ever, I’d say?

But then after the initial few pages, it starts looking more… er… stark? It’s kinda stark-looking. But good. It looks good.

Have we had enough books of weakly coded comics history, though? This must be the dozenth time I’ve read about Jack Kirby at Marvel, only using different names. This seems to be more fictionalised than usual, though.

(I found the recent Howard Chaykin series especially annoying — why not just use their real names instead of asking us to use our decoder rings?)

Damn straight.

These three books are a hundred pages each… but there’s only fifty pages or story in each book, and the rest is filler. I mean, carefully collected sketches and stuff.

Cabaret Voltaire: Shadow Of Fear

The Boy Maximortal storyline is… it’s fine? But Veitch drops in so many of the things you’d expect — it’s all there, from Hoover in drag, to Kennedy getting killed (in volume 4, presumably), to MK-ULTRA, to Kubrick — that it feels like Veitch basically had an 80 page storyline, but then added 120 pages of STANDARD 60S CONSPIRACY NONSENSE to pad things out.

And speaking of the padding — in the third volume, the 50 bonus pages are mostly comics, some of them not published before, so that’s nice. (Veitch mentions that Amazon charges as much for printing a 50 page book as for a 100 page book, which explains the length of these books.)

I guess I’ll be getting the fourth and final book when it’s published, but I’m not as interested now as when I’d just read the first chapter.

Black Uhuru: The Dub Factor

21:52: King-Cat #81 by John Porcellino

It’s lovely as usual.

Various: Ni d’eve, ni d’adam

22:06: World War 3 Illustrated #13 & #32 & #35

Hm… this looks very familiar… oh! I read issue #13 some months back. I guess I’ve gotten two copies of this, too…

I should get organizised so that stops happening so often. So onto issue 32:

This is the eleventh of September 2001 issue, and it’s a really strong one. (James Romberger above.)

There’s a wide variety of approaches taken. (Becky Minnich)

And Spain shows up!

It’s not all 9/11, though: A very effective Romberger thing that may or may not work as a simile.

And this is by somebody that call themselves Nico… and… uhm… So the stories about some people cheering isn’t a myth?

Anyway, great issue.

#35 is very, very different. Spain illustrates an apparently continued strip by Steve Brodner, and that’s not the only strange thing about this issue: It’s “distributed” by Top Shelf, and it’s not on newsprint, and it’s only 64 pages long (a bit more than half the size of most WW3 issues). It’s more like a normal comics anthology — no room for a twenty page piece from somebody who’s never done comics before.

Instead we just get faces familiar from alternative comics, like Joe Sacco.

Peter Kuper, Seth Tobocman and Sabrina Jones are still present, but it’s… it’s not a real WW3 issue?

Fortunately, AK Press would take over publication a few years later, and WW3 contents returned to normal (although the format became a posher, squarebound one).

Muslimgauze: Mort Aux Vaches

23:27: You Don’t Get There From Here #57 by Carrie McNinch

OK, time to read one little comic more before going to bed… I’m exhausted…

But this is lovely as ever. I love the daily rhythm of the strip…

Oh! This one has more Japanese adventures. I love those things even more. You should join her Patreon and get yourself some good comics.

Ryuichi Sakamoto & The Kakutougi Session: Summer Nerves

23:54: Sleepytime

And now it’s time for bed.

That was a very… mixed batch of comics, eh? Yes it was.

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