It’s a pretty nice day today, but I gotta get some comics reading done. I was planning on cutting back a bit on my comics buying, but that plan hasn’t quite worked out. It’s like I’m still mentally stuck in an age where there was a dearth of comics worth reading, so whenever I see something interesting it’s GOTTA HAVE GOTTA READ.
So let’s go.
And… I’m gonna continue listening to music from 1982/83, just because.
|New Musik: Warp|
09:24: Kuš Minis #111-114 (Kuš)
Marco Quadri’s mini is a sly look at corporate culture. It’s fun.
*gasp* It cannot be! A new comic from Gina Wynbrandt! Someone Please Have Sex With Me is one of my favourite books — it’s pure genius.
So this is like a big event.
And… this mini is really funny, and also heartbreaking. Excellent stuff. More Wynbrandt books, plz.
Michael Fikaris does a slightly abstract thing about social media and abbrvs.
João Fazenda’s mini is about going home again, and where the magic may or may not be. Love the colours and the wistful story.
|Grace Jones: Living My Life|
09:49: The Face of Struggle by Seth Tobocman (AK Press)
This is a little wordless book about… yes.
It’s good, and it has a happy ending that, unfortunately, seems way too optimistic.
09:54: Fractures #1 by Aaron Wolfgang Crowe (Colossive Press)
This is a really intense book.
It’s a harrowing retelling of an assault by a disgruntled customer — the storytelling is unusual in that it’s extremely detailed, with minute details about what happened. It’s good, got my blood really pumping, and I can’t wait for the next issue.
10:10: Mid Career Survey by Dean Knight (Landfill Editions)
I was checking out the Landfill web site to see whether they had anything new (or old that I had missed). No comics, but a couple of books of artworks — and virtually everything is sold out? Are they shutting down? It’s a pity, because they’ve published a bunch of extremely interesting stuff.
This is nice — it’s a mix of watercolours (I think) and ceramics. (Most of the ceramics are abstract ashtrays.)
10:16: Full Gas by Charlie Duck (Landfill Editions)
And there’s hands.
|Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft: Für Immer|
10:31: My Beijing by Nie Jun (Graphic Universe)
For the first couple of stories here, I found this book to be insufferably saccharine.
But then things snapped into focus (or perhaps the two last stories were much better). The third story is actually moving, and the fourth story is really sweet.
And the artwork, which I didn’t much enjoy to begin with, also grew on me.
10:50: Blood on the Tracks 1 by Shuzo Oshimi (Vertical)
The storytelling here is really odd — there’s all there… pauses… that… don’t… seem… to really be… motivated by the subject matter. I mean, it’s just a simple domestic drama thing, right?
OK, I’ve got buy the next volume… Eek! There’s 15 volumes! OK, got the next five volumes, at least.
|Chris & Cosey: Trance|
11:09: Godhead 2 by Ho Che Anderson (Fantagraphics)
What’s happened? Anderson’s artwork used to be totally gorgeous… I guess he’s stopped using pen and paper and is now just doing stuff on the data computing machine?
The story’s pretty basic, too, underneath the rather confusing storytelling — it’s just impossible to keep the characters distinct. Fortunately they spout off reams of Golden Age of Quality TV-like expositions.
It’s a really goofy book. I’m still not sure whether Anderson meant this as a parody of people like Benjamin Marra, or whether he’s been inspired by those people, but it’s… it’s… goofy.
But if you don’t expect more from this than an action/heist TV series with robots with funny heads, you won’t be disappointed.
|Peter Gabriel: Peter Gabriel 4|
12:16: Snakkebob by Tim Ng Tvedt (Jippi forlag)
It’s basically phrases repeated again and again in a very insistent way. It’s hypnotic and makes for propulsive reading. It’s great!
(And I’m guessing the artist has seen Gerald Jablonski.)
|David Bowie: Baal|
12:30: Magical Beatdown 3 by Jenn Woodall (Silver Sprocket)
This is a lot of fun.
It’s the perfect spurt of pure gleeful energy. Whee.
|Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)|
12:36: Epoxy 3 by John Pham
I read all the other issues of this a few weeks back, but I finally scored a copy of this issue.
Heh heh Jack Kamen.
The first half of this book is a masterful story where we follow about half a dozen characters at a fair, where their paths intersect in various ways. It’s absolutely amazing — the storytelling is so assured, and everything seems to make sense in a sort of slippery, intuitive way. It’d be hard to describe what happens, really — but reading it, it has such emotional impact, and feels to vital and exciting.
There’s some smaller pieces, and then a epic involving the search for Astro Girl and a robot monster valley, and it’s drawn in a very adventuresome way — I guess some Acme Novelty Library influence? It’s great, too — Pham manages to do these intriguing layouts without the reader getting lost.
|Joni Mitchell: Wild Things Run Fast|
13:34: Earthman by Robert Nunn (Floating World)
This is allegedly a comic book drawn in the 70s and printed in the 90s that’s now been rediscovered. Tales like that usually aren’t true, but this one is? (Or perhaps they’ve hacked some databases.)
I guess I see what the attraction is — it’s “outsider art” for sure.
It’s kinda fun.
And there’s also some new bits.
They also include The Torch, which is about being against male nakedness and sissy behaviours. I sense… issues…
|King Crimson: Beat|
14:11: Liv & død (Magicon forlag)
Ah, this is a book made for an exhibition at a technical museum, and it’s about inventions like resuscitation training dolls, which is actually pretty interesting.
But also stories about being ill.
And corona. Very topical.
When I saw that this was an exhibition catalogue, I expected it to be dreary, but it’s pretty good.
|Kate Bush: The Dreaming|
I need to stretch my legs (and buy some bread). Back in an hour!
15:21: Let There Be Light by Liana Finck (Random House)
Oh, god. This is one of those “religious damage” books. So Finck is apparently working through hers by adapting the bible.
The artwork is passable, but if you’re not Christian (or in recovery from being Christian), it’s distilled tedium.
I ditched it after 40 pages.
|Depeche Mode: A Broken Frame|
15:37: Why Don’t You Love Me? by Paul B. Rainey (Drawn & Quarterly)
Oh deer. This is one of those continuous-story-told-as-separate-strips kind of things, which isn’t really my favourite format. The constant start-and-stop is tiresome — unless the story really warrants it, and then it can be good.
But this is pretty tiresome. It seems like it’s a slightly absurd look at a depressed, alcoholic family? So I was ready to ditch this after 20 pages — none of the jokes were funny, and it didn’t seem interesting as a whole.
But then I read on the back that that’s what Neil Gaiman thought, too, but that it gets better or something? So I soldiered on for another thirty pages and… zilch. But I’m guessing that perhaps they’re trapped in some kind of loop or something?
[Edit: While putting the stack of comics away the day after, I thought “well, perhaps I could finish this book” and I did. It… wasn’t worth it. I mean, the twists are pretty good, but the storytelling is still tedious. If he’d done away with the “Sunday strip” format, it might have been an OK book.]
16:05: Dracula by Alberto Breccia (Fantagraphics)
Wow, awesome art from Breccia. But is it supposed to look this desaturated? I mean, it’s quite possible, but it would certainly have popped more on glossy paper. (And I normally dislike glossy paper, but perhaps it would have made sense here?)
While the artwork’s great, the stories all have simple “ironic” twist endings, so that’s not really very thrilling.
|Talking Heads: The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads|
16:13: Joseph Smith and the Morons by Noah Van Sciver (Abrams)
Uh-oh. Well, I quite like Noah Van Sciver, so while this is the sort of thing I would normally avoid with every last fibre of my being (it’s a comics biography — they usually suck, and it’s religious — that always sucks), I bought it anyway.
I’m girding myself for some serious ditchage.
Yeah, I have no interest in this. Van Sciver’s artwork’s fine, but the storytelling is pretty plodding, and I’m guessing he wants to cover every nook and cranny of Joseph Smith’s various con jobs.
I’m sure ex-Mormons will find a lot to snicker about here, though.
16:36: Code 3;5 Burnout by Lale Westwind (Colorama)
This is a sci-fi story, but it’s very odd indeed — I couldn’t really make heads or tails of it.
But the artwork is great.
16:52: Void Packer by Lale Westwind
Westwind says in the introduction not to post too many snaps of this book online, so you only get one panel.
The book is great, though — Westwind is branching out in many different directions, and the artwork has never looked better. The stories are pretty exciting, too.
17:00: I’m A Cop and Failure Biographies by Johnny Damm
Both these books combine quotations with images from old comic books as well as photography. The first book quotes a bunch of cops.
The second, which is more interesting, I think, is about “failed” artists, and has a lot of information that I didn’t know… and that I don’t know whether is true or not, so er uhm.
But interesting nonetheless.
It all works quite well, but I don’t know how much these juxtapositions really add to anything. The Venus de Milo thing was good, and I quite like these strips with the more stark colouring.
|Robert Wyatt: Nothing Can Stop Us|
18:01: Jerome K. Jerome Bloche integrale 3 by ()
I had read the first Bloche album (or so) back in the 90s, and I was extremely unimpressed. But the first two albums were written by somebody else, and as I found out when I started reading these collections, when Dodier took over writing the book himself, it became something else — thoughtful, slightly wistful, but still amusing, and with very original plots.
So I’ve slowly been reading these, and I’ve been very impressed so far.
And nobody has time for any food cookery while reading comics, so takeout from a new pizza place again.
And this one is… hey, it’s quite good. Very yummy parma and nicely crispy crust.
But very salt!
|Scritti Politti: Songs to Remember|
And this is also really good. Perhaps it’s the pizza that’s giving me So Many Emotions, but it’s more than a bit touching in addition to being quite exciting. The series is obviously well inside the French(ey) comedy/detective genre, but is a bit more realist in rendering and less reliant on well-worn tropes than most.
Dodier is really adept at creating convincing characters (that are more than just a collection of tics), so the plots flow more or less naturally out of the characters and situations instead of being totally contrived (like, say, Ric Hochet).
|Simple Minds: New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)|
In the final album included here, Jerome K Jerome Bloche is even missing the entire album, and the other characters have to solve the mystery (which includes finding him). It’s fun.
And the artwork is really appealing, I think.
|Tom Robinson: North by Northwest|
19:51: Det grymma svärdet 43 (Lystring)
What the… it’s a Swedish anthology? That’s obviously been going for quite a while if this is the 43rd issue? And it’s a thick book. How weird that I’ve never stumbled across this before…
It’s a really good anthology. It’s very cohesive without being samey. (Jérôme Dubois.)
It’s not very heavy on narrative, although all the pieces are narrative (Anna Haifisch). That is, they mostly just sketch out a situation and then stop instead of having a longer plot.
It seems like the aesthetic is (as Chicks on Speed put it) “very now yesterday” (HTML flowers). That is, we get a large number of artists that have worked for about a decade or so? So it’s all one cohort of people, mostly, and it’s not the youngest cohort.
I’m not complaining or anything, but it’s definitely… striking (Simon Hanselmann)
Mostly very colourful stuff (Teddy Goldenberg).
It’s a solid anthology (Melek Zertal). And now I guess I have to find some way to buy older issues of this. (This is the final one — of course I discover it just when it ends.) Oh, it started 15 years ago. Hm… seems like earlier issues may or may not have been comics anthologies? Oh, and it looks like most of the issues are available from here? Well, that makes things easier.
|Thomas Dolby: The Golden Age Of Wireless|
20:33: Vision by Julia Gförer (Fantagraphics)
I happened onto this 2020 book in the bookstore yesterday at random. It’s so weird what books I miss — I mean, I pay attention to new comics being published, and I’m a Gförer fan, but I missed this one.
And it’s really, really good. Gförer’s line is freer, more sketch-like here than in the past, and it suits the story very well. And it’s a properly creepy little drama. Excellent.
20:53: The End
And now I’m completely exhausted — I’ve been reading comics for almost twelve hours with just a little break in the middle there. The day started off well, but then there were three pretty bad books I had to ditch, before ending the day with a number of strong books.
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