Comics Daze

I had planned on going to London today, but then I didn’t, so now I’m reading comics instead. And for music… only albums from 1977-78. Just because.

But before I start reading, I just wanted to mention this book I’ve been slowly working my way through over the past few weeks: Marvel February 1964. And I remember thinking a few years back “it sure would be cool if Marvel just released a series of books reprinting all their comics in chronological order”. Well, this isn’t that…

… but this book reprints all of the comics Marvel published in February 1964, which is pretty cool. And it’s the fourth book in the series, but I missed the 1961-1963 books (which also do one month each).

Now, somebody should make a book to reprint all comics published in the US in a particular month, right? So we could experience what it’d be like at a newsstand in the US in, say, August 1963 or something… The book would probably be thick as a longbox, though.

Here we get some of Marvel’s fantastic creations like The Human Top.

Four out of the 17 comics here are Patsy Walker related.

Yes, 17 comics, and they all bear the credit “Written by Stan Lee”, which seems in-credible. But while it’s popular to contest that when it comes to, say, Fantastic Four, I haven’t really seen many people fight to get Stan Goldberg given greater credit on these comics. Such ironic.

Still, even if Lee didn’t actually write any of these comics, he presumably scripted them all, which means that he had less than two days to script each book, which is a pretty good clip. I mean, while doing everything else at the same time…

And I have to say that I enjoyed reading this volume — there’s a lot of fun stuff.

And also experience the mix of comics at Marvel — it’s all super-heroes, romance or westerns at this point. So I think I’ll go and buy the previous volumes.

Anyway! It’s readerin’ time!

Talking Heads: 77 (Sire)

13:42: Ruins by Peter Kuper (Selfmadehero)

Oh, this book is almost a decade old? This is a new edition, which is why it showed up in Previews, I guess. But how odd — I mean, I’m a huge Kuper fan, but I was totally unaware that this book existed. And it’s such a hefty book, too — I think it has to be Kuper’s largest work? And the book won an Eisner award? I must have been asleep in 2015 or something.


Anyway, this book seems very thoroughly worked through — we follow a monarch butterfly on its journey from Canada to Mexico, observing things along the way…

… while the main story here is about these two people who are spending a year in Oaxaca.

She’s writing a book, and we get excerpts from that book, and then there’s a demonstration, and corrupt Mexican politicians, and then there’s a stray dog that the guy fights with and eventually becomes friends with, and then there’s a recurring scorpion, and then there’s the plot bit where she wants to get pregnant, and he doesn’t want a child, and there’s an artist she’s getting involved with, and then there’s a photo journalist friend…

Devo: Satisfaction (I Can’t Get Me No)

I’m just saying that this feels like a book that Kuper has worked a lot at. It’s not that it feels overstuffed particularly, but Kuper had a lot he wanted to fit in here — sort of making his Grand Opus or something? It has that feeling.

But it’s good! It’s good stuff. Lovely artwork; solid storytelling. It builds on his charming travel comics — they are very freewheeling, and he’s taken bits of pieces from that and jigsawed it into a major work.

I wonder what the critical reaction was:

This is a story that shows a lot of respect and affection toward Oaxaca (verging on but never crossing the line into exoticization), but it’s an ex-pat story nonetheless. That respect is made manifest in Kuper’s astonishing facility with his watercolors and colored pencils.


The butterfly is more sympathetic than either of the self-absorbed pair, whose early adventures – fleeing local dogs and mooching around the colourful streets – feel like the hackneyed stuff of an expat romcom.


Choosing to tell the story of Oaxaca and the 2006 teachers’ strike massacre through the POV of two insufferable white New Yorkers puts Kuper at an incredible disadvantage, and he digs himself deeper by failing to effectively develop any characters except for George, one half of his ex-pat couple.

Well, that’s just not true:

Ruins isn’t the kind of book you can take in over the course of an afternoon. Even its wordless sequences are packed with moment, inviting the reader to stay and linger a while (even if you’d rather look away). But it’s also anything but obtuse, illuminating the realities of a disintegrating relationship in ways that will be familiar to almost anyone. Much like Oaxaca itself, Ruins is a work that’s worth getting lost in.

Peter Gabriel: Peter Gabriel 1

14:47: Nuie by Nuie (2d cloud)

This is a lovely little book.

It feels like it’s narrative in a way, even though I don’t really know what’s happening. Very cool.

14:54: Of Thunder & Lightning by Kimberley Wang (Silver Sprocket)

This is very video game influenced, I guess. (As well as the obligatory Japanese comics influence.)

But it’s an intriguing book. There’s a lot going on, and the cartooning is on point.

Pink Floyd: Animals

15:06: Mini Kuš (Kuš)

Kuš had found a lot of older minis that I didn’t have, so I bought a little stack of them. Let’s read these five at random.

Aidan Koch’s mini starts out very abstract and then it turns out to be a therapy session.

Ernest Kjavins & Andrej Klavins do an amusing story about diving and performance enhancing drugs.

Akvile Miseviciute does a story about fighting back.

Emmi Valve does an autobio thing about friendship and stuff.

Finally, Amanda Baeza does a stylish thing about… er… I don’t know, but it’s cool.

Joni Mitchell: Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter

15:28: Mors dag by Klara Wiksten (Galago)

Man, this book is the saddest book ever.

And I mean that in a good way. It has thirteen short stories, and they are all about the same thing: People whose mothers have died when they were children.

Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express

So it’s a book about boundless grief and how to deal with that, and it’s super duper affecting — it’s a seven hanky book, at least. It’s amazing how well Wiksten tells these small stories — she avoids clichés and easy solutions, and just goes straight for the jugular.

It’s fantastic, and the artwork is perfect in its rawness for these stories.

And as you can imagine, it’s an absolutely exhausting book to read, so I think I’ll go for a little walk.

David Bowie: Low

17:49: M: skrattens ridder gjenfødes by Mads Eriksen (Strand forlag)

Eriksen was doing a very popular daily strip in Norway, but apparently burned out (at least a decade ago) doing that (which isn’t unusual). But he hasn’t done much since that, so this is kind of a comeback event.

We start off with a sort of Dark Knight Returns parody/reference thing, and it’s pretty funny.

But why did they print the strips so large? And with the middle of panels disappearing into the spine?

Anyway, it’s good stuff.

Alice Coltrane: Transcendence

18:34: First There Was Chaos by Joel Priddy (Uncivilized Books)

OK, this isn’t my kind of thing — it’s not that I mind Greek myths and stuff, but this is all spiritual and stuff, which just makes my eyes glaze over.

But it’s an inventive book.

And I’m sure if you’re into this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you’d be into.

And! It has a very extensive fold out page thing.

David Bowie: “Heroes”

18:57: What’s Fear Got To Do With It? by Ivana Filipovich (Conundrum Press)

Ivana Filipovich! I absolutely adored the last book of hers that I read, if I remember correctly.

Hm, this looks familiar… oh! It’s an expanded version of a strip that ran in that self published collection? Sure, I’m on board for that.

The artwork here is just amazing. It’s so fluid and exciting — very 70s Italian, I guess? The story, on the other hand didn’t really gain all that much from being expanded, I think — it’s more meandering now? That’s fine, though, because it’s a pretty exiting milieu to be in for a while.

The end notes says that this has been languishing in a drawer for quite a while until Conundrum expressed an interest in publishing it. Hopefully there’s more in that drawer (or Filipovich does new comics).

Supertramp: Even in the Quietest Moments

20:06: Sensible Footwear by Kate Charlesworth (Myriad Editions)

This is a sort of history gay life in Britain (done in a collage-ey style)…

Sandy Denny: Rendezvous

… but also an autobio book that covers the same years (done in a wide variety of styles).

Aksak Maboul: Onze danses pour combattre la migraine

It’s a fun book — the artwork is often amazing, and the storytelling moves in strange and amusing ways. It can be pretty difficult to keep track of who’s going out with whom at times, but it’s both affecting and funny.

OK, I’m fading now, but just one more comic book…

Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Dancer With Bruised Knees

22:37: You Will Own Nothing And You Will Be Happy #2 by Simon Hanselmann

I got this from here, and… it’s not sold out yet!? The first issue was sold out almost immediately, I think? Hm… Oh, there’s a second printing of #1, so get on that, then.

So this continues on straight from the first issue. (Nice touch with the Cybertrucks.)

And… I wasn’t totally on board with the first issue, mostly because I was just “eh? zombies? really?”, but now I’ve gotten used to the idea, I guess. Because I was really into this issue! Or perhaps there’s just more going on in this issue… I think. I mean, the previous issue was a year ago, so I may be misremembering.

Anyway, Hanselmann says in a text at the end of the issue that he’s doing TV deals at the moment, so he’s unsure when he’ll be able to do the next “proper” Megg & Mogg book… and when the next issue of this is going to be out. *crosses fingers*

Throbbing Gristle: The Second Annual Report Of Throbbing Gristle (2)

22:58: The End

And now I’m exhausted, so it’s time to call it a night.

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