MCMXXXIX XII: You Can’t Get Away with Murder

You Can’t Get Away With Murder. Lewis Seiler. 1939.

Bogie!

This is an odd movie. It started in one place, and now we’re in a totally different place. I wonder where this is going.

OK, now the two parts are connected… but… it’s kinda boring now?

So this is all about a kid who’s on the skids and stuff.

That’s not a very exciting plot line. Especially when the kid is such a pushover.

This blog post is part of the 1939
series
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Comics Daze

What? Another day of comics so soon after the last one?

Yes, I’m slacking off this week.

Let’s get readin’.

Hilt: Stoneman

10:57: The Contradictions by Sophie Yanow (Drawn & Quarterly)

The way Yanow portrays awkwardness is absolutely amazing. On the other hand, the book is such a “oh look how stupid I was when I was twenty” feeling going on that’s a bit exasperating.

The book is basically “Yanow realises that Anarchy is bad”, which is a bore? I rolled my eyes so hard at the ending, where Yanow learned about the awesome rave in Berlin she missed because she was hitch-hiking because of vague principles.

Still, despite my the icky subtext, it’s a fun read. The style she’s chosen to use here doesn’t do much for me, but I wonder whether she’s chosen it deliberately to illustrate her general befuddlement. Some characters look so similar that you tell them apart by one having glasses, and the other not, and then she does stuff like the 180 on the spread above, and you have to decide whether the character has just taken the glasses off, or whether indeed it’s a 180.

Asking the reader to decode to this extent is perhaps a deliberate choice? Or just not… you know.

Machinedrum: Room(s)

11:53: Please Don’t Step On My JNCO Jeans by Noah van Sciver (Fantagraphics)

This is a collection of (mostly) single-page strips Van Sciver did for a newspaper…

Sometimes collections like this are a bit of a chore to get through, even if the strips themselves are fine — meant for a different reading pace and all. This doesn’t have that problem. Instead things just become funnier and funnier cumulatively.

Telebossa: Telebossa

12:22: Dash: The Case of the Mysterious Zita Makara by Dave Ebersole, Delia Gable, Vinnie Rico and others (Northwest Press)

So this is a noir pastiche… Those are seldom any good, so I was dreading this a bit. But it’s fun! And I like Gable’s faces, although anything that’s not a human body seems to be an afterthought — the backgrounds are mostly not there, and that desk looks more like the idea of a desk than a real one. And why is her torso barely sticking out from the desk in the third panel?

13:01: Unscheduled break! The mailman delivered a new laptop.

And more comics! From Denmark!

Dude.

Scout Niblett: It’s Up To Emma

14:16: Back to Reading Comics

Oh, yeah, there’s mummies and stuff in this noir.

Halfway through, Vinnie Rico takes over on the artwork, and not only do we get backgrounds in the panels, but things get a lot goofier. It does suit this story, because it’s all kinds of weird. But entertaining.

To round off the package, there’s a bunch of shorter stories, fleshing out some of the characters. It’s all fun and entertaining, and I’m on board for more Dash in the future.

Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band: Take Me to the Land of Hell

15:02: Ever by Terry Moore (Abstract)

So it starts off as some stalker thing… (Nice figure work by Moore; a more scratchy style than usual?)

… and then there’s nine thousand pages of angels explaining theology at that poor woman.

And why does Moore use such crappy paper? It’s thin (see through) and feels nasty.

15:21: Fingerless by Spugna (Hollow Press)

Hey! It’s signed! And with a sketch. Nice.

The story here is about an alien invasion, but the particulars here are really horrifying.

It’s a brisk, breathless read. It a total rush, and actually scary, which is rare.

Oval: Ovalvoa

15:31: The Biologic Show by Al Columbia (Hollow Press)

Was there some controversy about this release? I think somebody who claimed to speak for Columbia started… in on Hollow Press after the release for reasons I didn’t quite catch?

Anyway, I’ve read these comics before, of course, since it’s a reprint of the Fantagraphics almost-kinda-series.

Er… All other Hollow Press releases I’ve seen have been exquisitely printed, but the reproduction here just looks… bad? Moire all over the place… has this been shot from published copies of The Biologic Show #0 and not been touched up?

When there’s white-on-black lines, you almost can’t make out what’s going on. (Considering that this is a Columbia book, perhaps that for the best, though.)

Very disappointing.

15:57: Duke by Hermann et Yves H. (Faraos Cigarer)

Oh, this one of those gritty westerns?

Yup.

There’s not much of a story here. Hermann’s artwork fits the gritty story, but the book is pretty much a parody of itself.

Neneh Cherry: Blank Project

16:17: Noget frygteligt er altid lige ved at ske by Lars Kramhøft (Fahrenheit)

I almost didn’t buy this because the cover is so… I want to say Sethish, but I’m not quite sure? It reminds me of something…

Anyway, the interiors are better.

Unfortunately, it’s the story about a hapless, depressed kid who can’t get any dates and starts disappearing into the Manosphere, but he doesn’t quite take the red pill. It’s really hard to stay interested: He’s portrayed as somebody with absolutely no interesting qualities whatsoever. Oh, and the twist ending is totes cringe. (So it won the prize for best comic last year in Denmark? And it’s apparently “deeply touching and entertaining”.

Food arrived! Yay. I ordered… a bit too much? I’m gonna be eating half of that. *sigh* Oh, well, I can have the rest for breakfast. :-/

Throwing Muses: Purgatory-Paradise

17:35: Døden by Halfdan Pisket (Fahrenheit)

Pisket made waves some years back with the biography of his father (sort of), called “Danish”. Or something. It was really good, so now this had better be good! Or else!

And it is!

It’s nothing like his previous comics — this is more like late-70s Frenchey art comics (which is my favourite thing). The graphics are so sharp!

And the storyline is all about loss and losing yourself and gets progressively more symbolic as it goes along. It’s gripping and moving and gorgeous.

It’s even better than Dansker.

Various: Music from the Mountain Provinces

18:28: Lefranc tome 26: Mission Antarctique by C Alvès and F. Corteggiani (Faraos Cigarer)

Here’s my most controversial opinion ever: I can’t stand Jacques Martin. Of all the people who came from the Tintin camp, he’s the absolute worst. Oh… I forgot about Edgar P. Jacobs… he’s almost as bad… or even worse? I CAN”T MAKE MY MIND UP

I love all the rest of the Tintinish people, though. I like that stiff, awkward style.

But this isn’t by Martin — Lefranc is Martin’s series, but now new people have taken over, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Wow, they’ve gone all in on this — it’s printed on cream, non-shiny paper, so that it looks oldee tymey. And the artwork is eerily similar to Martin’s, even if the proportions are sometimes a bit off (the characters tend toward bobble heads).

It’s even got as much exposition as Martin books usually have, but somehow it doesn’t annoy me here? It’s a fun book — it’s an entire, huge adventure, like a classic Frenchey children’s album. It’s an almost perfect pastiche of these adventures… and better than Martin even was.

There. I said it.

Tujiko Noriko + Nobukazu Takemura: East Facing Balcony

19:47: Blake et Mortimer: Le Cri du Moloch by Jean Dufaux, Christian Cailleaux, Étienne Schréder (Cobolt)

And speaking of Edgar P. Jacobs… here’s somebody doing a new Blake and Mortimer. I hope this one is as good as the Lefranc.

Well, it looks very P. Jacobs… in all the worst ways.

And it reads like P. Jacobs! Dude. The sheer tedium in incalculable, as one of these characters no doubt would say.

I couldn’t finish this crap.

Vashti Bunyan: Heartleap

20:45: Maggy Garrison 3: Je ne voulais pas que ça finesse comme ça by Lewis Trondheim & Stéphane Oiry (Zoom)

The pacing is very much like a modern detective drama series: Each album is a couple of cases, but advances the main soap story plotline forwards a bit. It’s neither big nor clever, but it really works: They’ve got the pacing down pat. It’s got a certain stillness about it that’s irresistible.

The artwork looks very computer-assisted, though… I mean, it’s attractive, and the uniform panels help with the mood they’re going for, but you never get the “now that’s an exciting page” thing. But, you know.

It’s a good read.

Tujiko Noriko: My Ghost Comes Back

21:18: Woods by Mike Freiheit (Birdcage Bottom)

This has got some interesting storytelling choices in the first part… but then it turns into…

… “is she insane or is the horror real?”, and at that point it all just got rather boring.

And that ending… I hope twitter didn’t see this.

Machinedrum: Vapor City Archives

21:38: I think it’s time to go to sleep. I got up early.

But that was a solid batch of comics. The Pisket was outstanding, of course, but I think there was just one real clunker?

The Only M1 Benchmark That Matters

I’ve got a new Apple laptop, so I thought I’d do an Emacs build benchmark. Building Emacs is what people do on computers, right? At least if I extrapolate from myself, which is the only natural thing to do.

It’s called proof by induction. Look it up, nerds.

So here’s the benchmarks:

My Main Build Machine AMD Ryzen 7 3700X (8 Core/16 Threads) 2m14s 7m31
My Lenovo Carbon X1 Laptop Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-10610U CPU (4 Core/4 Threads) 6m22s 15m22
My Old Apple Laptop Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-7360U CPU (2 Core/4 Threads) 7m13s 12m33
My New M1 Apple Laptop Apple M1 (4-to-8-ish Cores) 2m44s 6m37s

The next-to-last column is with -jTO-THE-MAX, and the last column is with -j1.

I’m impressed! The M1 is able to build Emacs almost as fast as my AMD machine… which is a lot bigger.

Of course, on Debian I’m using gcc and on Macos I’m using clang, so it’s an apples-to-some-different-brand-of-apples comparison.

It’s even more impressive how much faster this laptop is compared to the Apple laptop from… 2019? Yeah. It’s more than twice as fast! And doesn’t have a fan! The old Apple laptop would sound like a VAX in a hurricane while building Emacs!

And it’s also twice as fast as the laptop I use daily here on the couch; last year’s Lenovo Carbon X1, which is just embarrassing. Lenovo! Get on it! Make an ARM laptop that’s fast!

For the first time in my life, I have Apple envy. That is, for the first time ever, they’ve made a laptop that’s clearly superior to what’s available for us Linux peeps. My only comfort is that the Apple keyboard still sucks. Yeah! And it doesn’t have a TrackPoint! Yeah! My laptop is still the best! Yeah! Take that!

Yeah! I’m not the least envious!

*sniff*

Edit some hours later:

But one thing that would be interesting to look at is Emacs performance on M1 vs the other machines. And a way to broadly look at that is to see how long it takes to byte-compile a bunch of Emacs Lisp files: This exercises much of Emacs, except display-related stuff.

So: Benchmarking with

rm `find lisp -name '*.elc'`; time make -jMAX

I get:

My Main Build Machine AMD Ryzen 7 3700X (8 Core/16 Threads) 0m57s
My Lenovo Carbon X1 Laptop Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-10610U CPU (4 Core/4 Threads) 4m13s
My Old Apple Laptop Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-7360U CPU (2 Core/4 Threads) 5m33s
My New M1 Apple Laptop Apple M1 (4-to-8-ish Cores) 1m33s

Here the AMD clearly wins over the ARM, but per-core performance is in advantage of the ARM. And, of course, the ARM soundly wins over both of the other two laptops.

Comics Daze

Let’s do it! I’ve wanted to do a comics reading day for yonks now, but things keep getting in the way. But now!

I’ve got candy!

I’ve got a new, soft blanket! (It’s chilly.)

I’ve got comics! And Now That’s What I Call Quite 80s on the stereo!

Let’s go!

The Smiths: Complete (5): The World Won’t Listen

11:18: Tin Foil Comix #1

This anthology has a very strong point of view — I wonder whether these artists all hang out or something?

It’s all about drugs, dreams and video games, though.

11:34: The Party by Tomi Ungerer (Fantagraphics)

It’s this party, see.

I do like the sheer revulsion on display, though.

John Lurie: Music for “Down By Law” and “Variety”

11:50: The Life of Namezuko by Daisuke Ichiba (Hollow Press)

As usual with Hollow Press, this is beautifully printed.

And interesting graphically.

But I can’t tell whether this is meant to be funny, or whether it’s sincere, or whether it’s just some edgelord thing.

I was bored senseless halfway through, though, and started skimming.

12:10: Love and Rockets #9 by Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics)

Gilbert is filling in yet more stuff from Palomar history… it’s fascinating, but it also feels a bit like a retcon? There’s a lot going on.

Jaime is doing lighter stuff. It’s a nice mix.

M-A-R-R-S: Pump Up The Volume

12:29: Psychodrama Illustrated by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)

So this is another of Fritz’ movies? I mean it has to be…

Ah, yeah, there she is (in a clever disguise). I mean, the introduction pretty much said so, but I still wasn’t quite sure what this was.

As Fritz movies go, it’s not the normal fare. And I’m not sure whether it’s supposed to be a really crappy movie or not?

Sussan Deyhim & Richard Horowitz: Desert Equations: Azax Attra

12:45: Power Pack #1 by Ryan North, Nico Leon, Rachelle Rosenberg and others (Marvel)

I think The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl was the best thing Marvel published the past like decade, so I’m excited to read Ryan North’s new Marvel book.

And… it’s fine? I mean, it’s got some good gags, and good energy, but I didn’t actually laugh out loud even once. Perhaps my expectations were just too high.

It’s good; I’m on board.

Biting Tongues: Compressor

13:02: I, René Tardi, Prisoner of War in Stalag IIB Volume 3 by Tardi (Fantagraphics)

We start off where the previous volume ended…

… and there sure is a lot of infodumping about the war and stuff. And imagine! The French cops joined the Resistance ten days before the Liberation. Now what does that remind me of… hm… hm… no, can’t think of anything.

But then we switch to the story of Jacques Tardi growing up, mostly without his parents, and we shift storytelling modes significantly: Instead of an endless series of facts about the French/German sitch, we get amusing quotidian scenes.

I absolutely love everything Tardi does, and I loved this book too, but the structure is pretty weird.

The Art of Noise: In No Sense? Nonsense!

14:58: To Know You’re Alive by Dakota McFadzen (Conundrum)

It’s weird — I’m pretty sure that I’ve read the magazines where these short pieces were originally printed? At least some of them? But I can’t remember reading them before, and that’s odd, because McFadzen has insane cartooning chops.

On the other hand, the stories are a bit… generic. Post-Columbia, say — it’s this mixture of childlike wonderment and transgressive horrors. And the horrors get really gruesome and kinda nauseating. I think he’s going for unnerving.

Not the above story, though, which I assume is autobiographical.

Mick Karn: Dreams Of Reason Produce Monsters

15:27: The Forbidden Harbor by Teresa Radice, Stefano Turconi (NBM)

So the set-up here is that there’s a guy with amnesia and I’m just eh. What. Again?

The artwork is very Italian Disney, I guess?

I’ll read just about any comic book, but this is just such a slog. Nothing about this interests me, and I ditched the book one third in. I guess I’ll take it to the charity shop.

Pieter Nooten & Michael Brook: Sleeps With The Fishes

16:04: Portugal by Cyril Pedrosa (NBM)

I love Pedrosa’s line, his pacing, his way with using bits and pieces of dialogue, his characters and his way of drawing scenery.

But the colours are doing me in! There’s pages and pages that look like somebody is watering out vomit with piss and using that as the only palette! It’s horrible!

On the other hand, it makes spreads like this really stand out, which is perhaps the point, because it’s about a guy that’s… well, not depressed, but a bit pensive and sad.

And I also love this spread because it the most accurate representation of what it feels like to come to a new, warm place, listening to bits and pieces of conversation in a language you don’t understand, and just loving it. And Portuguese is the loveliest language, isn’t it?

Wonderful book, although in the third part it became a bit too much like a mystery novel.

I don’t have time to make food when I’m finally having a comics reading day, so today’s dish: A “kebab bowl”.

It tastes better than it looks. Lots of veggies on the bottom there.

Jane Siberry: The Walking

18:25: Versailles: My Father’s Palace by Labat, Veber, Lemardelé, Vitrebert (Humanoids)

Wow, that’s some stilted dialogue… the artwork’s a pretty odd mixture of cartoonish and realist…

“Don’t get it twisted”?

I’m… OK, this is just dreadful. Bailing.

Various: Lonely is an Eyesore

18:55: The Burning Hotels by Thomas Lampion (Birdcage Bottom)

It’s a graphically interesting book…

… but the storytelling is rather choppy.

Andrew Poppy: Alphabed

19:15: Eddie’s Week by Patrick Dean (Birdcage Bottom)

Another Birdcage book? Oh, yeah, I … kickstartererd something? Or something like that? Looks like a little stack of books from them here. I had forgotten.

This is a very unexpected comic. I mean… it reads a lot like a 90s indie comic series? And you don’t see that a lot these days. I mean, a comedy/underground thing that has nothing to do with drugs, ultraviolence or video games, which is what contemporary undergrounds are about (see Tin Foil up there).

Instead it’s just this pretty funny, solidly narrative thing… but… I find myself tuning out. The plot is great; I never know where it’s going next. But I think I would have enjoyed this more in smaller doses? Like… a 90s alternative comic book?

Bel Kanto: White-out conditions

20:52: On The Odd Hours by Eric Liberge (NBM)

Lots of strange aesthetic and narrative decisions taken here. First of all, this is printed at about standard US comic book size, and these pages are super cluttered, so just telling what’s even going on is exhausting.

And then making the protagonist totally unlikable, in addition to looking like a schlub is… a decision.

The storyline is the normal “oh art has to be a living thing”? I think? It’s not very good, and I started skimming halfway through. (Man, I’m not having the greatest of luck with this batch of comics…)

I do like the depictions of people signing. Very original.

Chris & Cosey: Exotika

21:12: Desperate Pleasures by M. S. Harkness (Uncivilized)

Hey! Uncivilized have never published anything bad…

This started off kinda choppy? The line work here is really attractive…

… but the character designs are just a lot. It’s a lot to get used to, what with the bobble heads and the … hair… And I had a lot of problems deciding whether a couple of the characters were the same character (but with different hairdos, so we were skipping back and forth in time?) or not.

But things resolved themselves at about halfway through, and then it was all… gripping?

It’s very interesting structurally, and more than a little horrifying.

Steven Brown: Searching For Contact

21:55: Be Your Own Backing Band by Liz Prince (Silver Sprocket)

Hey… have I read this before?

I think I may have? At least parts? Perhaps in a different edition?

Anyway, I read it again, because it’s super cute and fun.

David Sylvian: Secrets of the Beehive

22:43: When I Came Out by Anne Mette Kærulf Lorentzen (Selfmadehero)

The art style here isn’t really working for me. The empty, colour-filled spaces seem so randomly placed…

… and the whole anthropomorphic thing doesn’t seem that well-thought-out, especially when other “real” animals are involved. And I think there’s something off about the translation? I found myself back-translating into Danish to get the point of what they were saying here and there? If I’d known it was translated, I would have bought it in the original Danish.

ANYWAY. It’s a pretty cute book; a bit meandering and shapeless, but it’s got a sort of low-key, quiet atmosphere going that’s appealing.

Jon Eberson & Sidsel Endresen: Pigs and Poetry

23:17: The End

And now it’s time to sleep, I think. I’m exhausted.