FF2003: Ape

Ape by Theodoros Nikos Jouflas.

Jouflas appeared in various anthologies (like Pictopia) throughout the 90s, and published two books, both of which I vaguely remember as being collections of shorter pieces (Scary and Filthy). But I may be misremembering; it’s a long time since I’ve read those.

This 32 page magazine (with stiff covers) is basically one long illustrated poem. With end rhymes.

Jouflas illustrates the poem (which is about politics and stuff) by painting with white over black, apparently. It doesn’t look like scratchboard or anything, but has the texture of (perhaps) acrylics on canvas? Or perhaps it’s been inverted photographically…

That’s George W. Bush. The little prince.

It looks like this was Jouflas’ final comic book, but he’s still working as a painter and illustrator.

This post is part of the Fantagraphics Floppies series.

FF1990: 3 Fox Comics

Tattoo Man Special #1 by Dave Hodson and Greg Gates.
Walking Wounded #1, True Confusions #1 by Dave Hodson.

These comics were part of the attempt by the Australian Fox Comics to get wider distribution by co-publishing with Fantagraphics. The Fox Comics anthology was being published somewhat concurrently with these comics.

Tattoo Man reprints the serial from the Fox Comics anthology, and adds a final chapter to give a resolution to the somewhat dreamlike story.

I really enjoy Gates’ hatching technique. Also note the border at the bottom to fill the space due to originally being drawn for magazine ratios.

I guess fate didn’t allow, because I can’t find anything about any further issues being published.

Apparently Hodson also did a series for Eros? I haven’t read it. Somebody should really do a write-up of Eros comics. I haven’t read all that many of them… It’s not that I don’t like porn; it’s just that the ones I’ve read from Eros have been pretty horrible. Still, there’s quality stuff hidden between all the dross (I seem to remember Molly Kiely doing a rather good one, for instance), but I don’t want to wade through all the horrible ones to get to the few good ones.

Take the Eros challenge! Please!

Anyway, Walking Wounded is a solo Hodson book, and includes a flexi from his band by the same name. (I haven’t listened to it.)

I really like Hodson’s storytelling approach. The drawings are usually somewhat oblique: Lots of drawings of random body parts instead of showing complete figures. The short captions create a very specific rhythm pulling you through the pages.

However, 48 pages of these rather light-weight stories is a bit much. I found myself growing rather impatient after a while. The storytelling technique seems to hint at depths while the content seldom seems to rise above simple jokes.

So I was completely unprepared for True Confusions, the third of these Fox Comics, and also by Hodson. I was expecting more of these lightweight one-pagers, and instead it’s a harrowing autobiographical story involving death of a child, divorce and childhood remembrances.

Interspersed seemingly at random are these nonsensical stories apparently springing out of childhood remembrances of an Australian radio show about some astronauts.

It feels like our minds slip into these astronaut stories to escape the intensity of the surrounding autobio comics. A breather of sorts or a chance to recover.

It’s a remarkable comic book.

It seems like Hodson is still active in Australian comics circles, contributing to various anthologies, but no further books have been published outside Australia, as far as I can google.

This post is part of the Fantagraphics Floppies series.

FF1999: Steven

Steven Presents Dumpy, Steven Comix #2: Steven at Sea by Doug Allen.

Steven is a long-running weekly strip that’s mostly featured in alternative magazines and newspapers.

While these two comics have titles that seem to hint at more focussed tales, they turn out to just reprint a bunch of Steven strips. Eight issues had previously been published by Kitchen Sink, I think, and they went bankrupt around this time, which might explain why it moved to Fantagraphics.

I guess the obvious comparison to make is to Bill Griffith’s Zippy, so I won’t do that.

Allen’s art is satisfyingly cartoony.

And the stories don’t really go anywhere, but not getting anywhere is half the fun, isn’t it?

I’ve spent five minutes Googling whatever happened to Steven after this, but I’m coming up short.

This post is part of the Fantagraphics Floppies series.

FF1998: Pop Life

Pop Life #1-5 by Ho Che Anderson and Wilfred Santiago.

I’m running out of Fantagraphics pamphlets to write articles about here. (Was that a sigh of relief I heard?) But that’s not because I’ve done them all. No, it’s just that I’m stalled since I’m waiting for a bunch of comics to arrive in the mail to complete various series.

But since I’ve got about a month of articles backlogged, you probably won’t experience any service interruptions. I guess you’ll find out tomorrow. (Was that a sigh of relief I heard withdrawn?)

Anyway, our object of appraisal today is Pop Life, a short-lived luxurious series of the late 90s. (It’s hard to stop writing “luxurious” after re-reading Meat Cake.)

What’s that about Anne Rubenstein, I wonder? Hm…. Rubenstein had reviewed King, but that seems like a quite positive review. Oh, here we are: “Ho Che Anderson’s drawing is so beautiful and good […] if […] he could stop writing those incoherent, dopey stories.” I guess that explains that mystery.


Anderson had earlier published a number of series through Fantagraphics, including I Want To Be Your Dog, King and Black Dogs. I’m not sure whether Santiago had done anything before this, but his name seems familiar. Hm… Oh, he worked at mainstream superhero companies.

His artwork doesn’t really seem all that super-heroish, though.

About half of each issue is taken up by a serialisation of a story written by Anderson and drawn by Santiago. It’s about these people, who are in a band, and all have broken legs. Those legs are never explained, and that’s quite typical of Anderson’s oblique storytelling.

And it’s a storytelling trick that works. He just plops us into an interesting milieu and then goes from there without much exposition. These are pretty dense pieces.

The other half of each issue are taken up by shorter Anderson-drawn pieces, as well as the serialisation of a longer story, which is apparently a continuation of a storyline from I Want To Be Your Dog. Which I can’t remember; I should perhaps have re-read it before reading this.

As would become a theme in the text pages in this series: This series doesn’t pay much for anybody, and seems to be on the verge of cancellation from the first issue.

Anderson used to be quite influenced by Howard Chaykin, but by this time he seems to have shed that style completely.

The title of that letters page (the only one in the series) is accurate: They’re all rather harsh.

Anderson’s longer piece in issue three uses a quite unusual technique: Just various shades of blue. It’s pretty, but perhaps a bit difficult to follow sometimes?

Oh. The blue strip wasn’t supposed to look like that.

Some of Anderson’s artwork is incredibly stylish.

And then Anderson announces that Pop Life has finally been cancelled. The last issue is 24 pages (as opposed to all the other ones which were 32), and seems to collect bits and pieces meant for later in the series. Like this one (drawn by Santiago) about breasts.

It’s a very mammary series all around.

Anderson rounds out the issue with some fumetti.

I think both Anderson and Santiago have since retreated into illustration work, but they both recently published new work at Fantagraphics: Scream Queen by Anderson and 21 by Santiago.

This post is part of the Fantagraphics Floppies series.

WFC Lithuania: Nesamasis laikas

This is one of those “big reveal” films, and the reveal is surprising. However, it felt like it was going to reveal something completely different through most of the middle bit, and that was annoying. It was like the filmmaker was taunting us with “yeah, you’re clever, you’ve already figured out that “. Which isn’t a pleasant way to watch a film.

And then it turned out that the filmmaker completely had us all fooled all along, which is nice, but it still didn’t help with the actual viewing experience.

So a bit frustrating.

Non-Present Time. Mykolas Vildziunas. 2014. Lithuania.


  • Half a liter of water
  • 350g honey

Bring up to a boil and skim. Add

  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 cardamom pods, cracked slightly
  • half a whole nutmeg, cracked slightly
  • 3 whole allspice, cracked slightly
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • Half a tsp fennel seed
  • 4 cm ginger, cut into pieces
  • 2 cm inch turmeric root, cut into pieces
  • Half an peel of an orange
  • Quarter peel of a lemon
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

Simmer for half an hour.

Add half a liter of vodka, pour into a bottle, and let it settle for a couple of weeks. Then drink.

It’s like… drinking Christmas. A very sweet one.

It’s settling…


After one week.

This post is part of the World of Films and Cocktails series. Explore the map.