Comics Daze

Got a whole lot of comics yesterday… mostly mainstream stuff, but let’s start off with this month’s Desert Island Mystery Box.

Steve Reich: Reich-Richter

13:44: Aeon 6 by Jules Naleb (Peow)

This uses a fairly standard post-apocalyptic setup (deserts etc)…

… but it’s quite affecting. It’s got a real mood going on. It’s mostly fight scenes, so it’s a very quick read.

13:54: On Tour by Moa Romanova (Peow)

More Peow? From a close-out sale, perhaps? (I think Peow shut down(ish) last year or something?)

I feel I may have read this before? Hm. Or perhaps a different tour diary book from Romanova? I’m not sure.

In any case, this is hilarious and it’s also affecting. Great stuff.

Oops, have to run a quick errand; be right back…


Neneh Cherry: The Versions

14:34: Berzerkid by Guy Pascal Vallez & Mikael Lopez (Peow)

Yup, more Peow.

This is charming, and the first half of this is very enjoyable.

But it gets plot heavy in the third act, and it unfortunately a totally tedious plot, so that’s a let-down.

Mark Stewart: Vs

14:51: Smoke Signal 41 by Keiichi Tanaami (Desert Island)

This is the final thing in the Desert Island package.

And it’s a collection of extremely intricate illustrations. Kinda insane.

14:57: Jonathan 16 – Celle qui fut by Cosey (Forlaget Fabel)

Ooooh! A new Jonathan album! Well, OK, it’s from 2011, but this is a new translation.

Cosey’s got that wistful thing going… it’s very appealing.

This time around, Jonathan thinks about returning to Europe, but then he gets a clue to a missing friend, and we’re off on another adventure of sorts. It’s nice. The new girlfriend is a bit on the magic pixie dream girl side, but it’s still a satisfyingly nostalgic read (the series started in 1977).

And there’s just one album to go — Cosey wrapped the series up with the next album (which was published in 2021). I’ll have to re-read the entire thing once that’s published.

Jandek: Brussels Saturday

15:25: L’arabe du futur 6 by Riad Sattouf (Cobolt)

Oh, this is the final volume of this autobio series. I’ve enjoyed it, but the later volumes haven’t been as strong as the first.

This is very chatty… perhaps Sattouf feels that he has to cram the rest of his life (age 16 and up) into the book?

Which… he does! He takes us almost all the way up until he starts doing this series, so we basically get his entire life.

And it works — it’s an interesting, engrossing book, and he stakes the ending. It’s a very different book than the previous books had been, though, and it verges on being exhausting.

I don’t really feel tempted to go back to read the entire series again, because the storytelling is so clear that that’s not necessary? But it’s good stuff.

John Zorn: A Garden of Forking Paths

17:18: Little Henri in Sourland by Henri Dumas (Hollow Press)

As Little Nemo riffs go, this is pretty wild.

It’s all one kinda long narrative, and it’s totally out of control. Quite good.

Bailey, Tacuma, Weston: Mirakle

17:41: LSBN by Emma Jayne (Silver Sprocket)

This is fun…

… but the story is so slight that it’s almost not there. And it takes so long to get to where it isn’t going that I got really impatient towards the end.

I should eat something. One moment.

18:21: Minami’s Lover by Shungiku Uchida (Fantagraphics)

This is about a girl who shrank to a very small size, but keeps living with her boyfriend. And then you’d think hijinx would ensue, but nothing much happens.

It’s an oddly static book, and the storytelling is very choppy. The artwork’s nothing special, either, so there’s really nothing much to commend the book. I was bored out of my skull reading it, but I persevered, thinking that surely something interesting would happen, but nope.

Bill Laswell and John Zorn: The Cleansing

18:49: Palla by Paoli Bacilieri (Hollow Press)

This book has a pretty unusual physical format — tall and narrow, but the artwork really isn’t that tall…

Anyway, it looks like it was influenced more than a little bit by Like A Velvet Glove in Etc. But it’s pretty interesting. I don’t get what the jesusey bits that are sprinkled in between are all about, but then I never do.

18:59: Santos Sisters #4 by Greg & Fake (Floating World)

As before, these stories are so normal that they could almost have been published by Archie.

So I guess I’m just missing the joke. I mean, it’s a fun book, but it feels like it should be funnier.

19:10: The Sickness #1 by Cha/Nadler/Otsmane-Elhaou (Uncivilized Books)

Yet another serialised alternative book? It seems like we’re really having a renaissance of these after a couple of decades of graphic novels…

This is a proper horror comic.

It’s got the mood down perfectly, and while the storytelling is on the confusing side, that only makes things more scary. Very good stuff, and makes perfect sense to serialise it this way.

Sugarcubes: It’s-It

19:33: Nudism Comes to Connecticut by Susan Schade and Jon Buller (Fantagraphics)

This is the story about a, well, read the title, and that sounds like it should be an interesting subject.

But the storytelling is so choppy. There’s things like the angles changing between panels a lot, and then not changing for only some characters, and backgrounds dropping in and out… It just doesn’t flow.

I tried Googling “metallic sunbeam theory”, but found no hits.

It’s more of a family history thing than anything else — the first few chapters, before the nudist colony, doesn’t seem very interesting at all, and, well, not much of interest happens later, either. It’s just a very odd book that seems oddly pointless.

20:11: Les petites femmes integrale 1 by Seron (High Heels Society)

This is by Seron, who’s famous for his long-running Les petits hommes series, a children’s series which was very Franquin-inspired. So what’s this, then?

Yes, indeed — it’s porn! Porn parodies drawn in the traditional Belgian big-nose style was a major thing in French(ey) comics in the 80s, but I haven’t seen one of these in decades. (I guess the Internet happened.) But this is from 1999!

And it’s about miniature women, but not as small as those Petits hommes, because then they couldn’t have sex with this normal-sized guy at all. (They make sure he has a small enough penis first by measuring.)

It’s pretty amusing in part, but it’s also has plot elements that are bizarre for a porn comic — it’s got cannibalism, murder and… stuff… that you’d think would best be left out of something like this. These are genuinely odd books in many ways.

As usual with these collected editions, I didn’t read the entire thing, but I’m saving the last album for later.

Hm… oh! This is the second book about miniature women today, I guess? It’s a trend!

Icepick: Hellraiser

21:00: Storm #1 by Nocenti/Kotian/Dalhouse (Marvel Comics)

What on Earth is happening with the X-Men these days…

Oh, but this won’t tell me.

I find this whole “this series is set between these two scenes from a comic book 40 years ago” trend to be pretty odd, but whatevs.

I have no idea what’s going on.

And that’s some face on Colossus in the last two panels. Hm… yeah, really nobody has the same face in any two panels, do they?

It’s a mildly entertaining issue.

Various: New Sounds in Electronic Music

21:16: Prokaryote Season by Leo Fox (Silver Sprocket)

The storytelling on this book is pretty unique. It’s mostly dominated by philosophical conversations, repeating phrases like in a fairy-tale.

It’s interesting, and I think it’s successful in what it tries to do, but I didn’t really find it engrossing?

Various: Make More Noise (2)

22:08: Woodlands 1 & Spare Parts 0 by Anthony Woodward

The main story in the magazine is about a nightmare co-worker. I was going like “GNGNGNGGGGNG” for large parts of it, so Woodward was really able to convey the intense frustrations he was suffering. Without coming across as if was obsessing about the situation, which these things can sometimes read as. Really good stuff.

And then some other wistful pieces to round out the issue.

The mini collects shorter pieces from 2013-2019. It’s got some good jokes, but it’s also got a consistent mood going, which is nice.

Get the books from Spare Parts Press.

22:41: Darkly She Goes by Mallié/Hubert (NBM)

Well, this is very professionally done — the artwork is fine, the storytelling flows well, the colours are pretty… but that’s what you expect with these things.

It’s also all kinds of trite and stupid. Just the level of herp derp in the characters is astounding. I mean, I guess it’s OK, but it’s… you know.

Massimo: invalidObject Series (var)

The second half of book (really the second album originally) is even worse. It seems interminable — nothing happens except people withholding information. Because the creators here can’t come up with a plot that makes sense.

OK, I should go to bed, because that book almost put me to sleep, but I took a walk around the apt and now I’m ready for one more.

Farben: textstar+

23:49: Boys Weekend by Mattie Lubchansky (Pantheon Books)

Well, OK, this isn’t really my kind of thing — I mean the artwork. It looks very animation influenced? Or perhaps just very web optimised. But here with colours to signal “literature”, perhaps?

I dunno. I mean, it’s obviously fine, but it’s not my thing. The other thing is that the storytelling is really choppy. I love that Lubchansky drops us into the proceedings, but there doesn’t seem to flow well.

OK, I think I was wrong about the animation influences — this is more like if somebody overdosed on Matt Bors.

Bros, right.

But after all this alleged humour, there’s several surprising plot twists, and… I guess the book is OK, really? Just rather annoying.

00:48: New Pets/They Live In Me by Jesse Jacobs (Hollow Press)

Wow, this is amazing.

It’s both funny and horrifying at the same time. This develops into a proper horror movie story as it goes along, and it’s fantastic — it’s pretty affecting. You can buy the book from Hollow Press, but I’m sure bookstores will carry it to (and shipping might be prohibitive from Italy).

Comic book of the year candidate.

The smaller book is about the horror of buying houses?

It’s great, too — visually striking, funny and not a little unnerving.

The indicia says that it’s limited to 1K copies, but also that it’s the sixth (!) printing, so I guess it’s “limited” to 1K copies per printing? I like that kind of limited.

Arthur Russell: The Deer in The Forest (March 2 1985: Live at Roulette)

01:19: The End

And now I really should go to sleep.

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