Comics Daze

I wasn’t gonna take a comics reading day today, but now I’m doing it anyway. But a short one, since I’m starting this late. Probably.

A Certain Ratio: Loco Remezclada

16:18: Anachro Magazine #1 edited by Floyd Tangeman (Deadcrow)

I got this yesterday, and as I was unpacking the package, I was going… er… what’s this… it’s big? What…

And then I went OH MY GH… OH MY GHHHHHHHH!

It’s an old book (about the artworks in the… Vatican?), and then there’s lots of stuff glued/stapled/taped into it. I mean, all kinds of things — envelopes, pages/panes from other comics, pages from notebooks, and stuff.

And some of the envelopes have other booklets inside etc. It’s so much fun.

And there’s painting/sketches on the pages itself. It’s brilliant! This is officially my favourite thing of the year!

So I read/looked at this thing yesterday for quite a while, but I’m just snapping some shots here so that you can be properly envious of me.

You’re welcome.

Just look at it!

I guess these people are the ones responsible. And I hope I didn’t get my copy by mistake, because I definitely didn’t pay enough for it.

Panoptique Electrical: Decades (2001-2021)

16:41: Marville by Bill Jemas, Mark Bright and others (Marvel Comics)

From the fantastic to the ridiculous… I read this tweet a few weeks back, and that reminded me of this:

The series was written by Bill Jemas, and the stories involve satirical comments on comic book industry conventions and trends. The book is regularly considered one of the worst comics of all time due to its confusing and rapidly-changing plots as well as its blatantly promotional nature.

Sounds great; I’ll have to read the other issues some time.

But then I totally forgot! So I now bought the Marville series, and now I’m gonna read it. So there. And I hope it’s as wonderful as that review says — “one of the worst comics of all time” is high praise indeed.

Huh. This is indeed pretty high concept.

But careful not to make fun of the current management at Marvel, I guess?

So the main character is a Superman-like guy called KalAOL… that’s… that’s a joke.

And it’s not that there aren’t plenty of jokes here — and some of them are even pretty OK. But it’s just really off. I could see this scene being quite funny with different pacing, perhaps, but it just kinda falls flat.

Well, that has a bit more bite… millionnaires punching/killing poor people because it’s what they do.

But then… with the third issue, the series grows really weird. They travel back in time and meet god (or Jack), and it’s told this way. And we’re told the history of the origin of life on Earth — and it’s not altogether totally wrong, either, but it’s really tedious.

But then they revert to speech bubbles with the fourth issue, and things grow even more tedious, and I didn’t think that was possible. It’s all about evolution/religion etc, and it’s so sophomoric that I literally died. I died. Literally.

Are these thoughts Jemas had been carrying arround since he was fifteen?

And then when you think it can’t get any worse, the sixth issue is a recap of the series! In case people were to stupid to get it the first time!

And then Jemas gives a pitch for his new version of Epic Comics, and you can read more about that here. (tl;dr It was a total shit show.)

So… one of the worst comics ever? Yes indeed — it’s really bad. The first two issues are OK, though.

Supertramp: Crime of the Century

17:45: Ric Hocket 6: Le Tiercé de la mort by Zidrou & Van Liemt (Zoom)

The first few albums in this revived series were pretty fresh.

The artwork is still attractive, but the storyline is almost as preposterous as Duchateau’s old plots, and even worse — it seems to drag instead of zip. Disappointing.

The Cure: 4:13 Dream

18:32: Flop Sweat #7-8 by Lance Ward (Birdcage Bottom Books)

I did some shopping at Birdcage Bottom and got a bunch of minis and larger books.

In a nicely illustrated box.

And a very nice bookmark and some stuff…

… and a menu? They have a café?

Anyway, Flop Sweat is an autobio comic, and it feels very honest (and is both pretty funny and affecting).

But it feels like Ward is so nervous about people not understanding the storyline that we get presented the same stuff many times — I’m guessing this was published page by page on the internet or something? Reading it in this format, though, it sometimes feels like the story moves like molasses.

It is a really interesting story, though, so that helps a lot. And christ, that Earl Root guy sounds like such an asshole — some of these pages are just painful to read. I’m going like “nooo, tell Earl to fuck off!” here on the couch.

But it’s good stuff.

19:22: Maple Terrace #1 by Noah Van Sciver (Uncivilized Books)

It seems like the indie floppy is having a kind of renaissance at the moment — I can’t imagine it makes economic sense (this book is only $6), but I really only the format.

OK, so this is going to be about Van Sciver’s childhood again…

It’s drawn in a simpler style than before, and I think that really suits the material.

And… wow. It’s just way, way harsher than Van Sciver has done before. If his family were uneasy about his comics before… This one is toe-curlingly raw and honest, it feels. I wanted to hide behind a pillow while reading it, because it’s excruciating.

And awesome! I think this might be Van Sciver’s best work yet, and he’s done a lot of great stuff. I can’t wait for the next issue.

Wouter Van Veldhoven: Mort Aux Vaches

19:34: PeePee-PooPoo #420 by Caroline Cash (Silver Sprocket)

There’s been a lot of buzz about this series (and this issue) all over the interwebs, I think? And it’s easy to see why — this is so good.

Every strip seems effortless and kinda perfect? The issue flows really well, too, with a mix of shorter and longer pieces.

19:45: Malarkey #4 by November Garcia (Birdcage Bottom Books)

I think I’ve read all the other issues in this series (including #5), but for some reason or other, not this one.

And, no surprise — it’s great. And I love the look of these pages.

But what happened to November Garcia anyway? It’s been a while since I’ve read anything new? Hm… she wrote an article about burnout in 2021. Well, I hope there’ll be more books, because she’s fantastic.

Richard Strange: The Live Rise of Richard Strange

20:08: Blab #1 edited by Monte Beauchamp (Dark Horse)

What? A new Blab #1? And from Dark Horse? That’s pretty… odd. I mean, that doesn’t seem like the most natural pairing.

And the format is more traditional than the previous Blab formats.

This starts off well enough with a Noah Van Sciver thing about an early British cartoonist…

… but that turns out to be kinda the theme of the issue: Many of the stories are about how mistreated comics artists were. Which is true, but the stuff they dredge up? Siegel and Shuster’s story of woe, which has been told so many times you could plotz (and this version of the story is about as exciting as reading the wikipedia page; it’s written by Beauchamp himself).

At least nothing else here can be that… “done”?

Yeah, Van Sciver does the story of How Wertham Killed US Comics. *sigh*

But Van Sciver does a good job here, and instead of talking about EC Comics, he talks about Crime Does Not Pay, and that story hasn’t been told that many times. So kudos for that, at least.

The longest piece is about Gorillas in popular culture, and goes on for a seemingly interminable 30 pages. I stopped reading after a page or two, so perhaps it’s totally brilliant?

The aesthetics of the new Blab isn’t quite like the old one — it went out on a kinda Daddy Roth/Juxtapoz tip, and there’s thankfully none of that here. But… it’s a nostalgic wallow, and I found most of the pieces either annoying or tedious.

But I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of people who’d be interested.

Niki Mono: Contradictions are a Luxury

20:56: Underlevet by Allen van Hansen (Forlaget Arabesk)

This one a “best comic” prize in Denmark last year, I think? So I got a copy.

The name of the book is a neologism and could perhaps be translated as “Subvival” — it’s a book about childhood sexual abuse.

Many of the pages from the childhood are illustrated like this — it’s very multimedial.

But most pages are illustrated traditionally, with a very expressive line.

The book is mostly about recovering suppressed memories, and the author uses a large number of metaphors to illustrate the difficulties. It’s well done, and the book is heartbreaking — but not necessarily… er… convincing? Some of these approaches feel pretty artificial.

Cat Power: Covers

21:28: The Cola Pop Creemees by Desmod Reed (Birdcage Bottom Books)

Is this a print-on-demand book? It has that feel…

Uhm… I guess I have to say that the character design doesn’t really do anything for me. But many of the gags are pretty funny.

It gets progressively less gag-ey, and is more about… well… depression and stuff.

Burial: Antidawn

(Oops, I think I’ve twiddled the white balance a bit much…) But it’s a pretty solid book. I feel that perhaps some of the bits were a bit repetetive, but there’s new stuff being introduced all the time, too. It’s an enjoyable read.

Humcrush with Sidsel Endresen: ha!

22:46: Lydie by Zidrou & Jordi Lafebre (Umpff)

This is the most cynical comic book I’ve read in a while. It’s melodrama that goes to 11. It doesn’t just push every button, it stomps on them while wearing wooden clogs. It’s so over the top that Douglas Sirk would have said “hey, that’s a bit much”. It’s Extruded Sentimental Product…

… but the thing is, it really works. It feels so calculated; like they had a conference deciding on what would be the most tear-jerkingest comic book ever, and then they did this.


23:10: That Ol’ English #1 by CM Campbell

This comic comes with helpful instructions.

The cartooning is kinda oldey-tymey, I guess, but it seems to float around in nothingness, so it’s not as engaging as it could have been, I think. The story is pretty interesting, but the book is pretty brief, so it’s hard to tell where this is all going (if indeed it’s going anywhere).

Stian Westerhus: The Matriarch And The Wrong Kind Of Flowers

23:22: Hul by Maya Elisabeth (Cobolt)

This reminds me of late 90s comics like Potential by Ariel Schrag, in a way. But more Swedish, which is odd, beause this is Danish.

Hottest sex scene ever!

It’s a good book, but it’s a bit static. That is, the first half flows along very nicely (even if the plot is a bit… standard), but then it’s like we have to sit through a bunch of scenes that have to be there because we have to get to the end. And the book loses all propulsion. But then it’s good again when we get towards the end.

00:03: Girls Steal Your Beauty by Ingrid Pierre (Verona Creative)

I don’t think I’ve seen a comic done quite this way — it’s so extreme in how it uses colours. (And, no, the white balance isn’t off again — there’s no white anywhere on these pages.)

This book is a collection of very brief stories; vignettes really. But every single one of these stories carry a punch; it’s amazing.

It’s an aboslutely flabbergasting book; I’m in awe.

And she has more books out, and I’m buying them all this second.

Prairie Empire: The Salt

00:21: Nada by Cabanes/Manchette (Mellemgaard)

Tardi’s adaptations of Manchette novels are famous, of course, and later artists have had a tendency to mimick Tardi, more or less. But Cabanes doesn’t at all, which is both a relief and a disappointment, I guess?

The Meters: Gettin’ Funkier All The Time (3): Just Kissed My Baby [Cabbage Alley & Rejuvenation]

This is a book about a heist, bus as it was written in 1972, and by Manchette, the heist in question is a bunch of Communists kidnapping the American ambassador. That’s fun! As usual in these hard boiled neo noir books, there are too many characters, and the preparations for the heist seem unnecessarily complicated (above, they steal guns from cops), but it’s got real nerve.

For a French comic book, it’s long — almost 200 pages, and it’s pretty dense. So it gives you a lot of time to get into this world, and… it really works. Towards the end of the book, I was at the edge of my sofa here. Super exciting and tense, and several nice kinda-sorta twists.

It’s one of the best French comics in this genre I’ve read in quite a few years.

Gichy Dan: Beachwood #9

02:16: Enlightened Transsexual Comix by Sam Szabo (Silver Sprocket)

The Manchette book was exhausting, but I just can’t go to bed yet, so — one more book.

Love the colours.

And it’s really funny.

Heh heh.

Anyway, this is a collection of shorter pieces, but mostly unified by theme. It’s a good read.

Catholic Discipline: Underground Babylon

02:51: The End

And now it’s starting to get light again, so I guess I should go to bed. Right? Right.

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