Comics Daze

I really should be doing other things today (I’m in the middle of writing a Brand New And Exciting Package For Emacs), but look what I got in the mail yesterday:

Yes! I big whopping box of comics from Domino Books! I’ve been slacking off on buying small press comics lately — mostly just because I’ve been buying all this other stuff, so I did some Extreme Shopping last week.

And! I also got other comics yesterday, so it’s time to do some mixed reading.

Various: Outer Spaceways Incorporated: Kronos Quartet & Friends Meet Sun Ra

09:33: Isolated Comments/A brief yet rambling journey through a bunch of country style quote and bits of worthless advise by Jonathan Petersen (Colour Code)

And I also bought a new lens for my camera I’m using here on the couch — the conditions aren’t ideal for snapping pics (somewhat low light, but it’s handheld so I can’t do longer exposures, and I’m holding the comics at an angle usually, so can’t use a big aperture, and the colour temperature of the lamps is much redder than the daylight in the background), so I’m trying to use a 20mm lens that I can stick closer to the comics… We’ll see.

Hm, I think this lens might indeed work well… Even if the angles aren’t quite right. I mean, it’s got a fish eye lens quality going on here. But whatevs.

Wow, this artwork is impressively obsessive. It’s cool.

The bigger book is a collection of one-page strips, many of which feature aphorisms or absurd statements. It’s fun.

And the smaller book is also like that, but with red ink. And here he poses one of the eternal questions.

Caroline Shaw & Sō Percussion: Rectangles and Circumstance

09:57: Ljubav, Optor &td – Love, Resist etc by Ivana Armanini

This is a collection of mostly short pieces from this Croatian artist — mostly single page strips.

And the graphics are really intriguing — the pieces often seem to be narrative without it being quite clear what the narrative is. It’s interesting.

But perhaps the more overtly polemical pieces are less compelling? But they’re fun.

Gastr Del Sol: We Have Dozens Of Titles

10:20: Tokyo These Days 1 by Taiyo Matsumoto (Viz)

Abhay Khosla was talking about this the other week, so I bought the two first volumes. (And they say that viral marketing doesn’t work!)

This starts off with an comics editor leaving the business…

… even considering selling off all of his comics! It cannot be!

And indeed, it cannot be — the story then takes a u-turn where the editor decides to self publish a new anthology, featuring all of his favourite old comics artists.

OK, I was just gonna read the first volume, but it was a brisk read, so…

It’s really good? I mean, there’s a lot of really nice little scenes like this…

… but it’s a bit disappointing that the storyline sort of dissolves. Well, OK, the main story about the editor collecting contributors for his anthology as if they were Pokémon wasn’t all that interesting in itself, so it’s understandable how the book spends more and more time with individual comics creators instead of the editor, but it all feels rather aimless.

But like I said, each individual scene is really good — wonderful storytelling and solid artwork. The final volume is being published in September.

11:57: Yaw Pitch Roll by Rodger Binyone (No-Man Press)

Is this screenprinted? At least the cover?

The insides are a mix of (I’m guessing) screenprint, riso and inkjet? Perhaps?

Anyway, looks great. And it’s funny.

Beth Gibbons: Lives Outgrown

12:05: Infinite Wheat Paste volume 1 by L. Pidge (Avery Hill)

Hm, OK, this art style isn’t really my thing.

And er…

… uhm, ah, OK, the storytelling is just choppy as hell? I’m not really sure what’s going on at any point, but it’s not a productive confusion — it’s more like gazing on some in-joke I’m not part of.

And even if they’ve worked hard at making the characters have visually distinct designs, I still having a hard time telling them apart? Weird.

So I guess this just isn’t for me, and I ditched it after about 40 pages.

And now I’m taking a nap.

John Cale: Caribbean Sunset

15:05: Komikaze #22 edited by Ivana Armanini

I’m awake! I’m awake!

This is a Croatian anthology, I think, but mostly with English text. (And with subtitles at the bottom of the pages.)

It’s mostly very short pieces, but with some longer ones — it’s a nice mix that way, but doesn’t have much cohesion as a book. But there’s several good pieces, like the above.

Some absurd stuff.

And some jokey stuff.

I think I’ve read a few previous Komikaze issues before, but a long time ago? And it’s nice to see that they’re still going.

The weather outside turned lovely while I was napping, so perhaps I should pop out for a walk and get some takeaway…

Adult Jazz: So Sorry So Slow

17:09: Balladen on Yano Young-Star by Jacob Thubo (Forlaget Fabel)

This is a pretty traditional western — but for some reasons, there are elves and orcs? They behave exactly like humans, so it doesn’t really make a difference much.

Perhaps the most outré fantasy element are all these low-rise pants.

It’s a very odd book in that it’s a totally traditional, well-paced and well told western… but then it just ends on the most jarring, nihilistic note ever. Very strange. If I were to guess, I think the author just lost interest in the storyline? But perhaps it was planned that way from the start as an ultimate downer story.

17:18: Tales from the Richy Vegas Psychoverse by Richard Alexander

I think I’ve read the first issue of this before?

But wow, this is unique. So we’ve got the guy below narrating this (I guess) autobio, and the parts of the action in the circle above that he’s looking at is the reading order — from the upper right hand corner and around the circle.

And it works! It’s absolutely hypnotic.

These are very compelling reads. The way these stories are told make them much more dynamic than they’d be laid out in a traditional way. It’s propulsive in a way, the way you have to let your eyes skip up and down and around.

Wonderful stuff.

David Bowie: Divine Symmetry (3): BBC Radio Sessions and Live

17:37: Walking Distance by Lizzy Stewart (Avery Hill)

Yes! I love watching people walking around in cities in movies.

This is a very smart little book — it’s interesting, and it’s strangely affecting. And lovely artwork.

17:59: Second Hand Love by Yamada Murasaki (Drawn & Quarterly)

This book collects two stories. The first is composed of five-page characters, and it wasn’t really obvious at first that it was a continuous story instead of a series of vignettes over the same theme.

It’s about having an affair with a man, and it ends in the most conventional way imaginable.

I like the pensive atmosphere, but it doesn’t really say anything new or interesting.

And whatever impact the first story may have had, it’s diluted by including a shorter story at the end — and the shorter story is about exactly the same thing as the long story, so I’m sitting here going “yes, I know! we’ve already been over this!” My guess is that they felt that 160 pages would be too slim for a book in the US bookstore market, so…

(The second story does have a better ending, though.)

Machinedrum: 3for82

18:46: Jaywalk #3 edited by Floyd Tangeman & Austin English (Domino Books)

Always great to get a new Tangeman anthology…

Whoa. That’s impressive.

It’s an excellent anthology — it seems to have a kinda unified mood going on. And it has more Richard Alexander.

Toshimaru Nakamura: Culvert: No-Input Mixing Board 10

19:08: Johnny Viable by Steve Aylett (Floating World Comics)

Hm, have I read this before? It looks really familiar now that I’m holding it in my hands. (I have Online Shopping Aphasia — I never recognise a comic book when I’m shopping online.)

This is hilarious. As usual, it’s panels from old comics repurposed with a new text, and it works brilliantly.

Some of the pieces veer more into abstraction, though, which isn’t as funny.

But it’s mostly bangers.

Meat Beat Manifesto & Merzbow: Extinct

20:20: Safer Places by Kit Anderson (Avery Hill)

Hey, lots of Avery Hill today…

Huh, this looks extremely familiar… Oh, this piece was printed in a mini earlier. I guess this is a collection of shorter pieces, then?

Yes, I’ve read many of these before, but that’s OK. There’s a number of different styles, but they all have this wistful longing quality to them.

So it feels like a proper book, and not just a collection of random pieces.

It’s very good.

James White: James White’s Flaming Demonics

20:49: The End

And now I think I’ve read enough comics for today. And… I’ve now discovered that my camera has a lens distortion correction thing that I can switch on! *doh*! So the next Comics Daze should be less fish-eyed.

Leave a Reply