Comics Daze

It’s another lazy Sunday, so how about some comics reading?

The last few times I’ve been going “well, I shouldn’t buy more French comics that I can only read veeeeery slowly; I should definitely wait, like, half a year”, so inevitably:

Yes, I’ve bought more than 1K pages of Pratt/Oesterheld comics.

I’ve read most of Pratt’s comics already, of course (because most of them have been translated into languages I understand), but these ones, written by Oesterheld, haven’t been.

They’re early work, and there’s probably a reason they’ve been skipped, but c’mon. It’s artwork by Hugo Pratt.

Ernie Pike is about a war journalist, and Sgt. Kirk looks like a western… and these are quite handsome editions. And, like I said, about a thousand pages in total! *gasp*

Gotta hurry up and expand my French vocabulary so that I can read these… Duolingo, c’mon! Faster!

Meanwhile, I’ll be reading non-French comics. And for music… only albums that I haven’t listened to for a while.

Róisín Murphy: Ruby Blue

14:16: Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel by Anya Ulinich (Penguin)

Huh, Penguin doesn’t publish a lot of comics these days.

Oh, it’s ten years old… Physically, it’s a pretty special book in that it doesn’t feel like a typical comic book book — it’s printed on normal Penguin paperback stock, and the cover is pretty floppy, too, so it feels like a bigger version of an 70s Penguin paperback. It’s very nice.

This is autobio, I guess, but with changed names? It’s fascinating — it hits exactly that sweet spot where the material doesn’t feel over-digested (you can tell when the author has had too much therapy, or too “helpful” editors) nor just an undigested gulp of… stuff. (Oops. Sorry for imagery.)

Cabaret Voltaire: Groovy, Laidback and Nasty

The Knife: Silent Shout

The pages are can seem a bit er heavy on the text, but the storytelling really works.

Ooops! What’s that I see over here behind me…


Anyway, this book is really good. The story is original, and feels very true? I think the reason I bough the book is because somebody on the intertubes recommended it, and that’s a good thing, because I absolutely hadn’t heard of it before. And it was published in 2014, but the first printing is still available, so I’m guessing it didn’t really sell well. It’s one of the best comics I’ve read this year.

And it reminds me of the Big Drama on Comics Twitter this week:

*gasp* How dare they! People were all upset until somebody said “well, all that major publishers will pay for is YA and memoirs, so that’s what we’re making”, which sounds accurate. (It was amusing for a while after Maus, when nobody in publishing understood why that was a major success — you could see them going “well, Spiegelman is kinda avant garde — perhaps if we publish all his avant garde friends we’ll sell a lot of books?” and that totally failed. It wasn’t until the two-step of Persepolis and Fun Home that all the publishers went “ooh! the trick is memoirs!” and then we got a metric tonne of comics memoirs from the major publishers…)

(Heh. And speaking of Persepolis — I just googled Ulinich, and her prose novel is called Petropolis. Surely a coincidence.)

Juana Molina: Tres Cosas

18:00: Den sjunde vännen by Sara Granér (Galago)

This is a collection of a handful of longer pieces…

… and a lot of one page gags.

The longer pieces aren’t really stories, but are instead ruminations on a theme, in a kind of dissociative way. There’s funny bits in here, but they’re basically serious. It’s nice.

Pet Shop Boys: Fundamental

18:53: Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou 3 by Hitoshi Ashinano (Seven Seas Entertainment)

This is another thing somebody on the interwebs recommended, but I’ve apparently bought volume 3 of this thing? Oops.

Well, OK, so there’s about 900 pages before this, so I’m not surprised that I don’t understand anything, but the Standard Japanese Art Style here doesn’t really help — it’s hard to tell even how many characters there are supposed to be, since they have about two faces to go between them.

I guess you could call the storytelling style “calm”. Not a lot happens over the 450 pages in this book.

And the things that do happen are like “wha”. But again, I’m new around here…

Oh, she’s a robot? Several of them are robots? Well, OK, that explains… er… nothing.

OK, I’m not a fan of this book after reading this volume. But it’s very… calm.

Eurythmics: Touch Dance

19:38: Mennene by Anne-Kristin Strøm & Daniel Østvold (Ford Forlag)

Like the Lena Finkle book, this is also about dating, illustrated by Østvold in his distinctive style.

It’s an odd book — it’s really heartfelt and very amusing at the same time? I started wondering whether perhaps the author Anne-Kristin Strøm (it’s presented in a way that leads the reader to read this as autobio, I guess) was fictional, but apparently not. It’s good.

Cat Power: Sun

20:21: Blake et Mortimer: L’art de la guerre by Floc’h, Fromental et Bocquet (Cobolt)

Oh, wow — this has a much starker graphical quality than you’d expect in one of these nouveau P. Edgar Jacobs books.

It’s almost more like a 40s American comic book look than a Belgian ligne claire thing? And it looks like it’s been drawn at a smaller scale than it’s been printed at, so it looks like clip art in a way? And also a bit like Mike Kupperman… Drawn on an Ipad, perhaps?

And the colouring looks basically flat, but then you notice that it isn’t — you get an almost homeopathic rouging of their chins, for instance.

I’m just saying that Floc’h’s graphical approach here is really striking.

Here’s a page from a thing Floc’h did in 1991 — it’s much more traditional ligne claire.

(Huh. I should buy that album. Done. OOPS!)

Róisín Murphy: Simulation

Anyway, the story is pretty entertaining, too.

Arthur Russell: World of Echo

21:36: Won’t Back Down by Trina Robbins (Last Gasp)

Wow! A new book from Last Gasp… you don’t see that often these days. (Or new anthologies edited by Trina Robbins, for that sake…)

Ah, right, this is an anti forced birth anthology.

And it’s a very mixed bag. The pieces done by underground veterans are generally pretty solid…

… and the ones done by more mainstream creators veer between wildly offensively moronic and just boring.

But like I said, there are some good bits. And it’s for a good cause — the profits go to Planned Parenthood. I guess you can buy it here? Possibly?

22:17: Old Stuff by Alex Schubert

This is a collection of short pieces from all over…

… but they also seem to form a distracted narrative of sorts. It’s weird, and it’s great.

And there’s a book of sketches.

LCD Soundsystem: This Is Happening

22:30: Perry Shitlife/Perry Midlife by S. R. Arnold

Hey, nice sketch!

Perry Midlife is an intense and harrowing book — but also funny? It’s kinda Clowesian, I guess. (And you can order it from here.)

Perry Shitlife is presented as autobio (taking place about ten years ago)…

… but some of the things just seem too unreal. I mean, singing Blue at a karaoke pub?

But it’s funny and it’s quite affecting. I like it.

23:16: The End.

And now I think I’ve read enough for today. It was a pretty good batch, eh?

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