I really shouldn’t be taking a day off to read comics — I’ve got errands to run and stuff — but I’ve gotten so much stuff over the last week that I just have to.
It’s a hard life.
|Various: PC Music Volume 3|
13:56: Cixtite Impératrice by Anne Simon (Fantagraphics)
Oh, this is the continuation of the Aglaia thing…. which I remember nothing of, but I think I’ve read it?
The printing of half the pages at the start is really bleached out. Printing error, I guess?
The ones that aren’t bleached looks quite nice. It’s a muted palette.
The story is kinda “eh”? I mean, it’s all about how horribly exotic Chinese people are, without even much filing off of the serial numbers. And the storytelling is oddly choppy — I mean, some scenes have a good flow, and then there’s abrupt changes.
|Various: PC Music Volume 3|
14:32: Tongues #5 by Anders Brekhus Nilsen
I love getting these books out of the blue. Not only are the physical books exquisite, but it’s like getting a birthday present with all these little bits and bobs.
I don’t know how many years it’s taken to get to this issue, but I’m amazed at how much I remember from previous issues. I could, like, go back and read them all every time I get a new issue, but uhm I’m waiting until it’s complete. And I really enjoy reading them this way — semi-confused, semi-recalling who these characters are and what the plot is.
This is a quite chatty issue, though, and things are coming to ahead. I found the discussion between the two gods puzzling, though — they kept saying that human minds are to wonderful and amazing, which feels like… fan service on a more abstract plane. Having characters going “oh yeah, the reader is so fantastic and smart and hot” (OK, didn’t say the last bit) is a bit eye-rolling.
We’re pretty stupid creatures — if these gods are impressed by our pattern recognition and synthesis skills, then those gods are pretty tragic.
|Porridge Radio: Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky|
15:02: Performance by Simon Hanselmann (Floating World Comics)
Oh, yeah, Floating World Comics had a sale (I think?). In any case, I went berserk in their web shop.
This is really cool. It’s a huge broadsheet newspaper thingie, but printed really well. Hanselmann’s artwork really pops here. It’s great seeing it this huge.
15:09: Q by Aidan Koch (Floating World Comics)
They sent me three copies of this? Perhaps they just grabbed three by mistake when pulling the order — these are pretty slim newspapers: Just eight pages. (I.e., two sheets of paper.)
15:17: Adapt #2 by Jonny Negron (Floating World Comics)
Wow, these things look so good… the paper isn’t quite newsprint, but is nicely matte anyway — and holds ink really well. The colours really pop, which they usually don’t do in these things.
Anyway, this is the second issue, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going on, but that’s fine.
And then there’s randomly an essay about Krautrock and Raw by Matt Seneca.
15:22: Kjøkken by Xueting Yang (Jippi Forlag)
This is a book of shorter pieces — many of them present themselves as being dreams.
It’s a lovely, languid book — these are narrative pieces, but have a vague, appealing flow.
The artwork looks a bit riso-ish — is this reproduced from riso prints, or perhaps just digitally made this way? Looks great, anyway.
|Various: On In Out|
15:38: Franka 25: Gratis goud by Henrik Kuÿpers (Cobolt)
Of all the neo-ligne claire people in Comics, Kuÿpers is surely the clairest. This deco design sensibility and ever-smiling people in stylish clothes is super attractive, I think. Razor sharp.
The storytelling is really abrupt, though — on this spread, Franka is run over, pushed into a pond, saved by a dog and two pest control people, flown to hospital in a helicopter, then a police reenactment of the pond thing, then a romantic evening, and then she gives the pest control people that saved her a gift.
And there’s a lot of stuff like this in between talkier scenes where we get the low-down on art heists and swindles.
It’s fun, but exhausting.
17:15: Ace Face by Mike Dawson (Adhouse Books)
This is an odd collection — it’s mostly about this guy with the arms…
… and then also some super-powered kids…
… and then the son of the guy with the arms. Each story is pretty amusing, but as a book it doesn’t really work.
But whatevs. It’s fine.
|Screamers: Demo Hollywood 1977|
17:35: Hvordan kan Los Angeles knuse hjertet mitt? by Ida Neverdahl & Øystein Runde (Jippi Forlag)
This is a unique reading experience. It’s about 50% pages from each artist, and it’s one continuous story (in a distracted sort of way).
It’s about going to LA and staying there for a while. So it’s basically a shared autobio book, but it also takes wild leaps into fantasy… but it’s not exactly clear what’s what, and it’s wild. It’s funny and interesting and looks good.
|Feathered Sun: Two Journeys EP|
18:05: After Land by Chris Taylor (Floating World Comics)
That’s a handsome colour for the cover, eh?
Anyway, I like the design, the artwork and the general flow here…
… but I didn’t like the story much: It’s not my kind of thing. It’s a “quest”, which has been a very popular thing in alternative comics the last decade. I guess the influence is from video games, animated things like Adventure Time, and pot? I find that sort of story structure tedious and a plot about finding a diamond to be tedious.
I feel like this book would have been much better if he’d just have ditched the plot and just gone full drug extravaganza. Because it works on a page by page basis.
|Feathered Sun: Saubohnen EP|
18:18: Rave by Jessica Campbell (Drawn & Quarterly)
So this is yet another comic book about teenage religious damage. Of all tedious subjects, that one.
The artwork doesn’t really do anything for me, and the storytelling is pretty choppy. And as I was reading this, I just got more and more annoyed, and when it ended (SPOILERS) in the way I was totally expecting, with The Naughty Girl Dying So That Our Hero Can Get An Epiphany And Break Free From Her Shackles (or Plot 11B as it’s called in the business) I was ready to hurl the book across the room.
But the cover looks nice.
|Dry Cleaning: Sweet Princess EP|
18:40: Kris Kool by Caza (Passenger Press)
Wow. I’ve only read Caza’s later, funnier work, which is very different. This is certainly super derivative — it’s all pop art riffs — but it’s fun to look at.
The story is like… as if Caza tried to put at many Freudian/Jungian things in here here as possible. We’ve even got a vagina dentata and a not-so-symbolic killing of the mother. I think Caza is making fun of these things? But perhaps he was just super into it; it’s hard to tell.
I forgot to say up there that one of the nice things about that book by Xueting Yang is that it has nothing to contextualise the work: You just have to take it on its own term. This book comes with a ton of extra material… which is nice, but it somewhat deflates the main story.
Comes with a nice print, though.
|Stephan Mathieu: Radiance (4): A Rainbow of Moonlight|
19:17: Chateaux Bordeaux 1: Le domaine by Corbeyran/Espé (Zoom)
From one extreme of French comics (arty porn from 1970) to another (non-arty wine porn from 2010). This looks like one of those hyper-specific French albums made to measure for a specific audience, namely people who are really into wine.
But sometimes these books are entertaining, and they usually look pretty swell.
*ding dong* Food! Ain’t nobody got time to make din-din while reading comics, so let’s eat some fishies while reading this thing…
Oh deer! This looks 100% generic — there’s a school in France that pumps out people that draws exactly like this, I suspect.
Look at that colour palette. Euuurgh! I suspect they do that to signal that this is a book that properly adult adults can read.
And the writing is exactly like it is in these books: You have a sort of plot (usually about a struggling and or successful business), but then the writer drops in factoids about The Subject every third panel, like here about the carbon dioxide dangers of sticking you head into a wine vat.
There’s even a mysterious found manuscript!
At this point, I was ready to ditch this book, because it’s just too hackneyed, but I was eating, which meant that it was difficult for me to get out of the couch, so I continued reading…
… and… I got kinda into the plot? And I liked the wine factoids.
Darn! Now I have to read the rest of the books in the series.
|Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: So Far|
20:20: Chateaux Bordeaux 2: L’œnologue by Corbeyran/Espé (Zoom)
So how convenient that I bought those, too, at the flash sale at Faraos.
I think the second album looks a bit better than the first — less generic. But it might just be that the relentless professionally of the plot’s keeping me interested. So:
|Normil Hawaiians: Dark World (79-81)|
20:53: Chateaux Bordeaux 3: L’amateur by Corbeyran/Espé (Zoom)
The plot thickens!
I’m really surprised — they turned this into a potboiler/soap opera with lots of twists and turns, and keep the wino factoids coming, and I’m really entertained.
It may not be clever or anything, but they know what they’re doing.
But now I have no more of these albums, so:
|Normil Hawaiians: Dark World (79-81)|
21:15: Object Compendium by Kilian Eng (Floating World Comics)
First I thought that this was a book of illustrations…
… but then I thought it might be narrative?
But then I went back to “nah, illustration” again.
The artwork’s quite narrative in itself, though — the favourite schtick here is a tiny figure confronting a huge artefact or building or landscape or cavern.
The artwork’s lovely, but I started zoning out after the first nine hundred pages.
|Fort Romeau: Beings of Light|
21:35: Heartstopper vol 1 by Alice Oseman (Scholastic)
Oh, wow. I can see why this is a major hit. I don’t think I’ve read something with this effortless storytelling since Raina Telgemeier.
I just breezed through the entire book with a smile on my face. I love that there’s not really much in the way of a plot. There’s some conflict, but it takes up so little space that it’s more there just to drive the action inexorably, breathlessly forward.
So sweet and so much fun. My only problem here was with keeping a couple of the characters apart, but that’s a very minor detail.
22:04: Selected Works 2012-2013 by Jonny Negron (Floating World Comics)
This is a little book of illustrations.
Floating World does very colourful books, eh?
|Fort Romeau: Beings of Light|
22:07: Thing To Do Instead Of Killing Yourself by Tara Booth/Jon-Michael Frank (Floating World Comics)
This is filled with really good tips.
I’m ordering a dog bed right now.
|Black Cab: Rotsler’s Rules|
22:17: Vile #1 by Tyler Landry (Study Group Comics)
This is a little sci-fi thing about a guy stranded on a planet. You know. The normal thing.
But I really like the look of this — it’s exactly the right green colour, and while it’s a well-known story, it’s told pretty inventively. It has an enjoyably wistful mood going on.
|Black Cab: Rotsler’s Rules|
22:24: Karmela Krimm 1: Ramadan Blues by Franck Biancarelli & Lewis Trondheim (Zoom)
Trondheim has been writing non-humour/non-fantasy comics (drawn by others) lately. (Or has he always done this?) I read one series the other year, Maggy Garrisson, was really enjoyable. And I guess it was commercially successful, because now he’s back with a series with a kinda-sorta similar name, and it also looks like it’s gonna be a crime/mystery book.
This looks very attractive. They manage to imbue their characters with er a lot of character very efficiently, and it’s a satisfyingly complicated plot, with all the required twists and turns.
The storytelling is pretty choppy here and there. Trondheim tries to drop in witty repartee in every other scene, which I appreciate, but deadpanning everything, so it’s often *read panel* *raise eyebrow* *re-read panel interpreting it as a joke* *lower eyebrow*.
But it’s entertaining, and I hope there’ll be more of these.
22:54: Shelterbelts by Jonathan Dyck (Conundrum Press)
I was all confused at first — I thought the priest on the left with the beardy thing was an older version of the priest on the right with the beard. And it was two different times and we were moving back and forth between those times.
But it’s not; it’s two different duelling beardy priests, and I went “oh noooooes”, because eh.
But it’s kinda interesting? It’s all about pacifist Mennonites vs Megachurch assholes (we’re rooting for the pacifists, natch), and it’s almost like reading sci-fi, because it’s so alien.
|Leslie Winer & Maxwell Sterling: Once I Was|
But it gets brutal. All the (at least) couple dozen characters (that look pretty similar) have identical personalities. They all talk the same way, and they’re all kinda laconic, and there’s no humour. Just page after page after page of these identical mannequins discussing things sincerely.
He does this layout thing I think he must have invented himself: The pages are essentially a six panel grid, and then he’ll split some panels up in various ways. But see what he’s doing on the right-hand page there? Suddenly we have panels in “the middle” — and those indicate a flashback. Neat.
And… I’d say the last fifty pages or so are pretty good? The ending really works.
OK, I’m fading now, but perhaps just one more comic book.
|Boris: Tears e.p|
00:22: The Clitoris by Rikke Villadsen (Fantagraphics)
I’ve really enjoyed Villadsen’s other books, and this one looks great as well. The first bit here explicitly presents this as a dream, but it doesn’t really read much like a dream?
It’s got that associative logic, though. It’s fun.
And I’m totally exhausted, so:
|Don Cherry’s New Researches featuring Naná Vasconcelos: Organic Music Theatre Festival de Chateauvallon 1972 (1)|
00:43: The End
Time to sleep. That’s a hard day’s comics reading.