Comics Daze

Oops! I got a ton of comics! What a surprise. Just because I ordered a bunch — now I have to read them!?

OK, let’s get started. With 90s music.

Electrelane: No Shouts No Calls

14:49: Aurora Borealice by Joan Steacy (Conundrum Press)

Yeah, I ordered a ton of books from Conundrum… Hm… this looks quite familiar? Perhaps I’ve read something else by Steacy? Or perhaps it just looks a lot like… uhm… can’t quite put my finger on it.

I guess it’s kinda influenced by Roberta Gregory, in a strange way? Hm, no… Lee Marrs? No… Oh, I know! Terry Laban! It’s quite Terry Labanish.

It’s a quite interesting book, but the storytelling is rather choppy. It’s all told chronologically, but things have a way of lurching forward, and then stopping and then lurching again, and it’s hard to get into the rhythm..

Ken… nuns in space… Is that Ken Steacy!? Is this book by Ken & Alice’s son? *looks at cover again* Oh! I totally read “John”. But it’s “Joan Steacy”. So this is written by Ken and Alice’s daughter?

*time passes*

I didn’t get that Joan and Alice was the same person until the end — this is autobio! D’uh! Now it all makes more sense, because I some of the scenes read very oddly when considered as having been written by Alice’s daughter.

(And she doesn’t have one.)

But I guess most people wouldn’t have that problem, because they read about books before reading them, so the reading is over-determined: People know what the books is going to be about etc and that informs the reading. I never do, so my reading experience is somewhat abnormal.

Electrelane: The Power Out

16:20: G.T.O.E.T. (Deadcrow)

I bought some stuff from Floyd Tangeman, and I think that this is one of those, so I guess it’s by him? Possibly?

It’s pretty cool.

16:29: Disco Lavante (Garresh)

This might also be from the Tangeman package… Doesn’t say who made it, unless Garresh is the name of the artist and not the publisher.

I really like the artwork. It’s like a 70s European version of Katsuhiro Otomo?

Oval: 94diskont

16:43: Miss Endicott 1 by Fourquemin / Derrien (Cinebook)

This colour palette is apparently extremely popular in French comics these days? All browns and greens and muted. Coupled with Cinebook’s indifferent printing, it’s not exactly a joy to look at.

But the book is a somewhat surprising read, in a good way. It mixes a lot of familiar tropes in a weird, almost dream-like way, and the result is quite readable.

Bundy K. Brown, Doug Scharin, James Warden: Directions In Music

17:16: Miss Endicott 2 by Fourquemin / Derrien (Cinebook)

Oh, I have another volume of this here…

The second album is all about running around, bringing a resolution to the story.

I kinda feel like this thing was a squandered opportunity: They set up a world with lots of interesting stuff, and the first half of the first album seemed like the perfect springboard for an amusing series about a nanny by day/detective at night, with lots of mysteries in the margins. But then they go straight ahead to the Götterdammerung, and reveals all the mysteries, and then “the end”.

Very odd. Perhaps they wrote this with a movie adaptation in mind.

Coil vs ELpH: Protection

17:47: The Green Hand and Other Stories by Nicole Claveloux (New York Review Comics)

This is absolutely gorgeous. Fantastic colours.

The stories are somewhere in the middle between symbolic and surreal, I guess? Very entertaining, anyway.

Coil vs ELpH: Protection

18:10: Next Time Around by Billy Mavreas (Conundrum Press)

Conundrum are apparently publishing 25 small books to celebrate Conundrum’s 25th anniversary?

This is pretty cool. Love the er charcoal? artwork.

Heidi Berry: Miracle

18:16: Eye Cue 2 by Gabriel Alcala (Tan & Loose)

This is a series of illustrations, and I think it might be screenprinted? Doesn’t look like riso, and feels kinda hand-made to the touch…

And it includes a little poster. Nice.

Heidi Berry: Miracle

18:19: Steal it An’ Deal It by Jiro Beavis (Tan & Loose)

This looks more like riso?

And is another book of illustrations. Nice.

Heidi Berry: Miracle

18:21: Keeping Two 7 by Jordan Crane

Oh, this is finally being published in a collected edition by Fantagraphics this summer. I think I have most of the issues, but I stumbled across this while looking for a copy of the latest Crickets issue. Hm… Oh, I see that he’s published the eight and final issue of Keeping Two now, too. Timing, timing.

This is a lovely little object — screenprinted covers and just the perfect size.

I love Crane’s storytelling — it’s a bit slippery and you have to pay attention, but it feels so rick.

This is the climax of the story (I think?), and I guess the final issue will be the denouement. I guess I’ll be getting the final issue, even though I’ll be getting the collection, too.

Heidi Berry: Miracle

18:31: Heaven’s Door by Keiichi Koike (Last Gasp)

This looks very Moebius-influenced? It’s got a very strong 70s vibe to it — the first story ends with the shocking revelation that it’s all a dream, and we’re in a sci-fi future. Which explains why Last Gasp is publishing it, I guess?

And the second story is about these mysterious kids that are having this philosophical talk…

… and then it turns out that we’re in a sci-fi future and the kids are robots.

Are all the stories going to have essentially the same twist? It’s all very 70s Métal hurlant.

And the answer is “no”, but they’re all have similar themes.

Love the artwork and storytelling, though.

Nicolette: Let No-One Live Rent Free In Your Head (1)

19:16: Swan Song by Sonja Ahlers (Conundrum Press)

So this is a collection of found pieces that have been somewhat modified, with some added text?

It makes sense in a kind of vague, associative manner.

Nicolette: Let No-One Live Rent Free In Your Head (1)

19:44: Bernard Prince 16 by Aidans & Greg (E-Voke)

E-Voke seem to specialise in publishing translations of French(ey) comics of the margins — comics that remind you of other comics; comics by assistants to famous people; or as here: a series that has lost the marquee artist name (who was 97% of the attraction of the series). I.e., Hermann. But it still has the author attached — Greg and Hermann started up this series (for uhm… younger teens?) in the mid-60s.

Which I think is nice, because these comics would otherwise not be available.

Not that I’m holding out much hope that it’s going to be actually any good.

Aidans is no Hermann, but he does a pretty good job at emulating his characters and his storytelling, if not his line.

*ding dong* Dinner time. Can’t make food myself when I’m reading comics.

This is a surprisingly entertaining book. I mean, it’s a standard Bernard Prince story, but it has great storytelling velocity.

And the back cover explains how E-voke ended up with the rights to this album: Aidans’ original artwork was lost (and apparently the plates, too?), so nobody could print it for decades. But they found them? (The back cover is vague.) So here we are.

Lamb: Lamb

20:33: Old Ground by Noel Freibert (Koyama Press)

For half a decade, it seemed like there were new Michael DeForge-inspired books popping up all the time, but that’s subsided now. This was drawn in 2014-16, so it’s from smack in the middle of The DeForge Time.

But this is really good. It’s a pretty simple story of two buried (and dead) people discussing things, and then there’s some guys that are going to demolish their graveyard.

See? Simple.

There’s these wonderful long sequences of them talking (on the left side of the page) and then we get what one of the people are imagining (based on what they’re talking about) on the right. It really works.

The ending is surprisingly moving. Class job.

Chris Watson: Stepping Into the Dark

21:20: Quay d’Orsay by Blain & Lanzac (Fahrenheit)

This is very inside baseballish — this huge book is about the travails of a speech writer for the French foreign dept — written by a guy who used to be a speech writer for the French foreign dept.

Blain’s artwork’s great, but the plots are all OH HOW STRESSFUL IT IS and it’s kinda… well… sure? But… do I care? I do not.

The Danish translation was done with support from Institut Francais, which I take to mean that they shovelled money at the publisher to make them take it.

On the other hand, West Wing and Borgen are insanely popular, and this is basically another iteration of that, so I’m not surprised that it won a bunch of awards and stuff, and was made into a movie.

There’s a… smugness… to the proceedings that’s hard not to get annoyed by. And as the book is insanely tedious, I ditched it after 100 pages.

Yoko Ono & IMA: Rising Mixes

22:36: Petrozavodsk by Alison McCreesh (Conundrum Press)

This is an excerpt from a forthcoming graphic novel?

In any case, this chapter (or what it is) works great as a standalone story. Such a fresh breath of air after the claustrophobic Blain book.

It’s really good.

Yoko Ono & IMA: Rising Mixes

22:46: North Start by Tom Herpich (Adhouse Books)

This is a collection of poems and illustrations.

That may or may not have a connection.

The book didn’t really grab me.

The Virgin-Whore Complex: Stay Away From My Mother

22:54: Project: Romantic edited by Chris Pitzer (Adhouse Books)

This is ostensibly a collection of romance comics, but virtually all of the contributors go for humour instead.

Some of it’s funny, but there’s so much in here that just doesn’t work. Reading story after story of things that just aren’t that good, I just lost all faith in the editor and it was hard to actually pay attention and read the stories.

It doesn’t help that virtually all of the stories are two to eight pages long — no variety in length. There’s only one longer story, but it’s this wordless one, so it reads as long as all the rest.

This one is probably the best story in the book, just because it’s kinda mean and funny.

Heh. Future publishing mogul Austin English.

Anyway, I wish the editor had done some editing here.

The Virgin-Whore Complex: Stay Away From My Mother

23:31: Spells by Graeme Shorten Adams (Conundrum Press)

Oh, this is great. It’s got a wonderfully odd flow — it’s a mysterious little book that doesn’t really try to reveal the mysteries. Lovely artwork, too.

It’s great.

The Virgin-Whore Complex: Stay Away From My Mother

23:40: The Peanutbutter Sisters by Rumi Hara (Drawn & Quarterly)

This is gonna sound like nitpicking, but I really hate the font they’ve chosen for the lettering here. Certain letters have so thin er stems that they disintegrate, and that makes my eyes think they’re not quite in focus, so my eyes are kinda skidding across the pages here without finding purchase.

So it might just be that these pages are physically uncomfortable (for me) to look at, but I’m having a hard time concentrating on these stories. Because they seem like they’re kinda awesome? The first one was so weird and wonderful (I think) and the second is so down to earth — I think this is probably a really good book?

But uncomfortable for me to read.

And I’m fading, but perhaps just one more comic book…

Oval: Systemisch

00:11: Letter to Survivors by Gébé (New York Review Comics)

Wow, this is an extraordinary book — it’s such a weird premise, but it’s carried off brilliantly. Gébé tells these stories with such aplomb, lulling the reader into believing everything. It’s magical.

Just amazing. And it’s funny, too.

Oval: Systemisch

00:35: The End

And now I think it’s time to go to bed.

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