Comics Daze

I’ve done enough programming this week, so let’s get some comics readin’ done. And for today’s music — music from 1975 only.

Joni Mitchell: The Hissing Of Summer Lawns

12:49: Hogbook and Lazer Eyes by Maria Bamford & Scott Marvel Cassidy (Fantagraphics)

This starts off being the story of how the two creators met — and it’s very refreshing, because there’s like no drama.

But after a few pages of that, the book is almost exclusively about the various elderly pugs that they adopt. With a couple of pages about their careers in between.

So it’s an odd book — it kinda evaporates while you’re reading it? But it’s a very enjoyable read, and the artwork has a pleasant second generation underground artist thing going on. It’s good stuff.

13:11: Nedzus lykter by Rui Tenreiro (Jippi forlag)

This looks pretty intriguing…

… but the story just kinda feels… not very compelling? It’s a riff on Japanese fairy tales, I guess, and the artwork is inspired by Michael DeForge, I guess, so it feels rather second hand.

David Bowie: Young Americans

13:26: Desert Rats by Nick Bunch (Reptile House)

This is a lot of fun — the artwork is so dynamic and energetic.

It’s really propulsive, which makes it seem like the stories are going at a breakneck speed. Wonderful stuff.

13:38: Nosebleed by Sweick Jones (Reptile House)

This book is basically Scanners.

It’s told very traditionally and solidly, and I wouldn’t be surprised this artist was working for one of the majors soon.

Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here

13:53: Mora mi by Trond Bredesen (No Comprendo Press)

This book is about the author’s mother’s last two years before she died — it’s a series of sketches of her room at the home, and short vignettes.

And it’s incredibly moving. An extremely strong book — it takes a totally mundane approach without any drama or overall narrative arc, and it’s completely devastating.

14:16: The duke and his army by Emilie Östergren (Sanatorium Förlag)

The artwork here is intriguing.

And the story isn’t really dreamlike, but more kinda sorta incomprehensible, but riffing on Alice in Wonderland, I think? But in a bizarre, squishy way.

Kraftwerk: Exceller 8

14:27: Frankenstein Now and Forever by Baladi (Typocrat)

This is a riff on Frankenstein and monsters in general…

… and it’s really successful in generating an unnerving atmosphere.

And now I have to run some errands.

Kraftwerk: Radio-Activity

17:50: Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol (First Second)

Geez, that took a longer time than I planned…

Oh, right — I read an excerpt of this in the 2018 “Best American Comics” a couple months ago.

It’s a classic tale of an unpopular kid being an unpopular kid — there’s been so many of these autobio books over the years.

The problem with this book is that the author really leans in on the kid here being a dweeb. I’m as wimpy as they come, and even I was going “c’mon” at some of these embarrassing exploits: It gets to a point where you’re just starting to blame the kid, and I don’t think that’s quite the effect they wanted?

But it’s well-told otherwise — it zips along nicely.

Betty Davis: Nasty Gal

18:36: Du har ingen makt i denne situasjonen by Harman Breda Enkerud (Foot Books)

Each page here is like a slogan, lettered an illustrated in an interesting way.

It’s fun and it’s engaging.

And it comes with a fold out translation.

Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Kate & Anna McGarrigle

18:46: The Swordfish is Jesus by David Tea

I haven’t read The Old Man and the Sea since I was, like, 19, and that’s a long time ago, man.

So I have no idea whether the interpretation of the book in this comic makes sense, but I found it quite interesting. I like the way it’s presented — in a kind of offhand, talkative way.

Robert Wyatt: Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard

19:10: Her Frankenstein by Kawashima Norikazu (Living the Line Books)

Huh. More Frankenstein?

So many of Japanese comic books are collections of serialised comics, and that leads to many of them having a pretty staccato reading experience (even when it’s one continuous story). This, however, was created and published as a whole, and I found myself weirdly waiting for a chapter-based structure that wasn’t there.

So that’s fun, but I’m not sure this fires on all cylinders anyway. It starts off as a supernatural horror thing (apparently), but then we get a sad sack backstory…

… and it’s way more harsh than these things usually are.

I dunno. It’s pretty good? Yeah.

19:42: Fahrenbühl by Anna Haifisch (Lystring)

Huh, this is very different from Haifisch’s usual meticulous style.

But I like it. And the story is good, too — it’s about being on an artist’s retreat kinda thing, and then being isolated by somebody.

Heh heh — the mouse there with the hat is complaining about the repetetive nature of making comics — sketches, tighter drawing, inking etc — and the other mouse suggests just printing the sketches instead. Très meta.

19:54: Pictograms by Warja Lavater (50 Watts)

These require some interpretation.

But many of them are quite straightforward — here’s the story of what happens when artists hang out at restaurants, and then tourists arrive.

Julie Tippetts: Sunset Glow

20:19: The End

And perhaps that’s enough comics for today? Yeah, I wanna get back to programming.

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