Comics Daze

Oopsie! I’m awake in the middle of the night, and that’s not optimal, but since I got a bunch of comics the other day, perhaps I can read until morning, take a nap, and then read until night again? Let’s find out.

And because it’s the middle of the night, I’ll only play rockin’ oldies on the stereo.

But before I start reading, just a moment to mourn The Best American Comics series. It seems like it’s permanently dead now? I was looking at my bookshelves and realised that I missed the 2015 entry (edited by Jonathan Lethem), so I got that and read it a few days ago, and wow.

It’s not just that it’s chock full of wonderful comics (it is), but the contextualisation makes it so much fun to read.

And while I already have most of the contents, some it it was totally unknown to me and I got to do some shopping.

Since this is 2015, much of the stuff can’t be gotten at all now, like the above.

And some things you have to resort to ebay to get…

But it’s also great to revisit (parts) of stuff you’ve read before, like the best comic book from 2015, Gina Wynbrandt’s masterpiece.

Anyway. It was such a great series, but I guess we can’t have nice things.

Japan: Tin Drum (1)

04:11: Reggie 12 by Brian Ralph (Drawn & Quarterly)

This is a new edition of a collection of strips that were originally done in the late 90, I think. And I think I possibly have an earlier smaller version of this? Is that possible? I may just be confused as usual.

Anyway, it’s very funny.

Even though it’s mostly single and half page strips, it feels very coherent, and builds towards something larger. Unfortunately, it seems to lose some drive towards the end… but then it ends on a great note.

It’s a very cool book.

The Human League: Dare

04:44: Crumple #121 by Walker Mettling

This is a very large magazine, and it alternates between short stories (that are both funny, affecting and puzzling)…

… and illustrations. The result is that the book has a strange kind of compelling rhythm — it’s an outstanding book; it’s really gripping. So I guess I have to buy his other books now.

OK, done.

Eurythmics: In The Garden

05:08: Moonray 1 by Brandon Graham/Xurxo G. Penalta (Living the Line)

Hm. Is Living the Line specialising in publishing “controversial” artists or something?


Well, this is gorgeous.

And I like Graham’s storytelling — nobody else does narration like this, and for mostly good reasons: Having a narrator explain to us what we’re seeing is like a huge taboo these days, but it adds a ponderous touch; an atmosphere to it.

That said, as usual with Graham’s books, it seems to be going somewhere, but then again doesn’t. The story here is a straightforward quest, but the macguffin isn’t even there, and Graham just seems to pile on cool bits at a whim. I’m not sure there a there there.

But it’s an entertaining read, anyway — reminds me of oldee tymey science fiction.

Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft: Gold und Liebe

05:45: Poison Pill

It doesn’t say who edited this (I think), but it’s really coherent as an anthology — almost all of the pieces deal with kinda wistful memories, and features many of the most distinctive artists working in an er “retro indie comics” mode? Anyway, it’s a really good read. (Caroline Cash here.)

I guess this piece by Victoria Douglas is in a different mood, as it deals with comics artists being “content creators” and social media and stuff…

MS Harkness does a bunch of shorter stories…

… and Heather Loase is hilarious as usual.

All this and also Sam Szabo and Audra Stang — great magazine.

06:08: Tongues 6 by Anders Brekhus Nilsen

Well, this is an event… how long has the Tongues series been running now? Is it about one issue per year?

As usual, the book looks great — flaps and inserts and stuff, and it also comes with a process zine and some stuff.

The plot is really moving along now — we get a couple of infodumps that seems slightly out of place, but they might not be true, so that’s fine.

And… it’s both creepy and really thrilling. Fantastic book!

But I really should re-read all the issues one of these years, because I have a feeling I might have forgotten some of what’s going on… the weird thing is really that I remember as much as I do — it’s a striking series.

Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft: Alles Ist Gut

06:28: Nap Time

Is it nap time now? I think it might be.

*time passes*

David Byrne: The Catherine Wheel

14:40: Ralph Azham 3 by Lewis Trondheim (Super Genius)

OOPS! That wasn’t a nap, that was a proper night’s sleep. Only happening a bit late in the day. Or early? Oh well; now my sleeping’s gonna be even more messed up…

Anyway, this is a smaller-format collection of three more Ralph Azham albums. I’ve enjoyed the previous two volumes, and while the format isn’t ideal, it works well enough.

Somewhat unusually for French comics, it’s a very tight continuity — the first album here is the conclusion of a storyline that’s been running since the first album (I think), and I’m getting pretty confused by all these characters… and I’ve even forgot what all the hullabaloo is about. Some recapping would have been handy.

The Cure: Faith (1)

So with the 7th album, Ralph is rich and safe… and then off to on a wild chase again.

Tom Robinson: North by Northwest

With the 9th album, we get to the boring “well, now that he’s rich and powerful, is he gonna be all corrupt or what?” bits, and I feel like Trondheim things that a boring plot, too, because he fortunately goes off in a different direction pretty quickly — by bringing in yet further twists and complications.

It’s entertaining, but it feels like the book is sinking under the weight of its own mythologies…

Talking Heads: The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads

16:12: The Lonesome Shepherd by James Collier (Wig Shop)

The shepherd is lonesome because he doesn’t have any sheep, you see.

It’s an interesting book — it seems to hint at many things, but doesn’t try to resolve in any way.

16:22: New Level of Love by Patrick Keck

This is a collection of wild drawings.

Really cool.

16:29: Satan’s Kingdom by Robert Sergel (Secret Acres)

My first thought when seeing these pages was “another Nick Drnaso fan”, but I see that some of these were published before Beverly… so perhaps the influence goes the other way.

Anyway, many of these stories seem like they’re recaps from wikipedia, but then you get an O. Henry ending… They’re really creepy stories, though, and I think they do what the author wants, but it’s not really my thing.

16:50: Pet Peeves by Nicole Goux (Avery Hill)

This starts off entertainingly enough as a pretty standard early-20s-people thing…

… but then turns into an ambiguous horror story. (The ambiguity is that it’s not clear whether it’s a horror story or not.) That sounds like a good concept, but the book feels like it’s dragging its heels — it gets repetetive, and not much interesting happens. In some ways, it feels like a sketch towards a script for a horror movie or something.

17:06: Maple Terrace #2 by Noah Van Sciver (Uncivilized Books)

This continues the seemingly earnest autobio story of his childhood…

… but it’s hard to tell whether it’s fiction, and what kind — are we supposed to interpret scenes like this as daydreaming, or a dream, or a lie (he’s depicted as lying a lot), or what.

Anyway, it’s a fun book, and I wish the publishing schedule was more rapid — I like the resurgence of the indie comic book over the past couple of years.

17:18: Ginseng Roots #12 by Craig Thompson (Uncivilized Books)

And speaking of indie comics — I’ve really been enjoying this series, but I guess it had to end at some point.

The author writes that he had some problems finishing the series — a severe writing block. And… the final issue is pretty awkward — the previous issues were more whimsical and felt less like people being interviewed for a TV documentary.

But it’s pretty good — I think it’s the best thing he’s made. He’s now reformatting the series into a graphic novel and adding 40 pages, so I guess I’ll have to get that, too.

Simple Minds: New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)

17:50: The Sojourner Cooler by Luke Fallon

Huh, this looks kinda like Moebius, doesn’t it?

The first issue has some kind of narrative, although it’s vague. It’s rather engrossing.

The second issue goes totally off the rails, and I think the author perhaps lost interest in the narrative. It’s still pretty interesting…

Peter Gabriel: Peter Gabriel 4

18:09: I Don’t Want To Be A Mom by Irene Olmo (Graphic Mundi)

This book is an impassioned plea for people to stop questioning why some women just don’t want to have children.

And… to me it feels like “duh”? But it’s a Spanish book — she has oodles of friends, but doesn’t know a single woman that doesn’t have a child (and she’s 31). So I guess it’s perhaps not a “duh” thing in Spain? Even nowadays?

And the art style doesn’t do anything for me, but I guess it’s well made…

New Musik: Warp

18:52: Miracleman: The Silver Age #6 by Neil Gaiman, Mark Buckingham and others (Marvel Comics)

My reaction when this showed up in the mail was “eh? what? didn’t the series end already?” But nope — I guess I just found the last few installments of this (when did the last one arrive? half a year ago?) so disappointing that I’d filed this mentally in the “it’s over” dept.

And… it’s a full issue, at least, instead of being mostly filler. However, if you can’t guess what’s going to happen for the rest of this issue after reading these two pages, you’ve never read anything ever before.

19:04: The Plot Against The Giant by Caroline Bren

This is a very short little book.

It’s good, though.

King Crimson: Beat

19:07: Kafka by Nishioka Kyodai (Pushkin Press)

This adapts a whole bunch of Kafka short stories and fragments in a slightly abstract way.

The longest adaptation is the Metamorphosis one, and they’re doing something in a translation I’ve never seen before — some of the caption boxes are so narrow that they’ve opted for putting the English translation in sideways. (Presumably these originally had vertical text.) It’s a bit confusing until you get used to it…

Anyway, these are pretty good adaptations, but… on the other hand, they don’t feel very… urgent? I mean, we’ve all read these stories before, and I’m not sure these versions bring all that much to them? On the other other hand, they’re fine, so why not?

Kate Bush: The Dreaming

20:37: Yearly 2023 by Andrew White

Hey, it comes with a nice little sketch…

I got this from White’s shop

… and it’s lovely as usual. It’s a bit different from previous year’s books, as White has been creating a couple of longer works that aren’t included here. So we get some shorter, more direct works.


Grace Jones: Living My Life

20:58: Hockey Girl Loves Drama Boy by Faith Erin Hicks (First Second)

Hey, sports comics! I used to read some of those when I was growing up…

This art style is a bit confusing — that is, it’s difficult to say whether these people are supposed to be 45 or 15… and the faces look quite similar.

Hey! Food arrived. Mm, olives…

Anyway, it’s a pretty entertaining book? It’s a quick read with exceedingly clear storytelling, and I can totally see many, many teenagers loving this book. It felt a bit unresolved to me.

Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

22:09: The Ladder by Tana Oshima

This is a fun little parable (I guess) about er stuff. I like it.

And it has pearls and emeralds.

Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft: Für Immer

22:13: The Heavy Hand by Chris C. Cilla (Sparkplug Comics)

Well, that’s a nice way to start a book…

… but unfortunately it doesn’t really continue that way. At first I thought this was all a collection of short pieces, but it’s all one narrative, more or less.

But the characters keep infodumping at each other, and recapping books… and then stuff happens, and then it’s over. I guess the book feels very improvised? And kinda annoying?

22:38: The End

And I think I should stop reading comics now, because I’m exhausted.

4 thoughts on “Comics Daze”

  1. Hello, there! Would you please point out the source that says Ginseng Roots is getting a graphic novel version with more pages? By the way, your blog is really nice, been following ir for a long time. Cheers from Brazil

Leave a Reply