PX Stuff by Gary Panter (280x320mm)
This is a cloth patch, and I found it randomly on ebay. I have no idea what the provenance is — I think it has to be a brand new bootleg thing? Because the cotton hasn’t yellowed at all.
But it looks pretty good, right?
So now I just have to hand stitch it to the back of my Rick Owens coat.
This blog post is part of the Punk Comix series.
I’m really looking forward to today’s stack of comics, because when The Comics Journal published their “best of 2022”, I went on a shopping spree to buy stuff that I’d missed. And a batch of those arrived the other day, and I’ve been raring to go.
But first, the Desert Island Mystery Box also arrived, so let’s start with that. Just because.
And… for music today: Only new stuff.
|Xiu Xiu: Grumpus Krampus|
15:41: www.randomwordgenerator.com by B. Trout
This is series of illustrations, apparently based on random words?
It’s an inverse Rorschach. It’s good.
15:45: King-Cat Comix & Stories #82 by John Porcellino
Is it just me, or have there been more publications from Porcellino lately than usual?
Which is a good thing, of course.
And this is a stronger-than-usual issue, too. It’s quite focused, but in a meandering way, which is really pleasing.
|Xiu Xiu: A Forest|
16:01: The Glass Chamber by Tia Roxac
Well, I’m not really sure what the name is. Interpret that cover yourself.
The cover stock is a nice pearlescent paper…
… but the contents are really, well, unpleasant.
It’s body horror and mutilation and stuff.
|Laura Jean: Amateurs|
16:06: Cram Comics #1 edited by Andrew Alexander
This is a riso-printed book on stiff, thick stock. It has some self-contained pieces and some excerpts from longer works, like the above by Andrew Alexander.
This thing by Kade McClements reads like a… strange, lost comic book from the 40s? It’s wild.
It’s a pretty good anthology, but excerpts are seldom satisfying. The stand-alone pieces, like the above by Clair Gunther, read a lot better in an anthology like this.
|Patrick Cowley: Malebox|
16:31: C Comics #2 by Joe Brainard (Boke Press)
I’m not totally sure that this was part of the Desert Island box…
This is a collection of shorter pieces where Brainard apparently illustrates various poems (written by others) or found text pieces and stuff?
It’s absolutely amazing. I guess this is a new printing of something that was (self-)published a long time ago? There’s some dates in the book — 1956 is mentioned — but surely this can’t have been drawn in the 50s?
So that’s the end of the mystery box (I think), so onto all the other stuff I got this week.
|Adrian Belew: elevator|
17:01: The Science of Things Familiar by Johnny Damm (The Operating System)
This feels like a print-on-demand book — it’s got that feel. It’s hard to get excited by a print-on-demand book as a physical object (but it’s understandable why people go for this option)…
Nice — a little signed print included in the book.
About half of this book uses repurposed issues of Classics Illustrated and other comic books, and adds new text. That’s well-trodden ground, but Damm does something quite different from what people usually do. There’s not much juxtaposition of the art and the text at all, and the text is really interesting.
About half the book isn’t comics at all, but it a rumination on certain directors (Sirk, Ray, Lupino), and again, it’s really interesting (not to mention quite hypnotic). The text makes references back to the earlier text, too, so it feels quite natural.
The one thing I don’t think quite works are these “Filmography” sections where Damm weaves together the movie titles into a story of sorts. It just feels gimmicky.
The final section of the book doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the previous sections, which is a disappointment. The text is about blues music and stuff, with comics reproduced from various war comics.
It’s a really enjoyable book.
|Twinkle3 ft David Sylvian and Kazuko Hohki: Upon This Fleeting Dream|
20:02: Freak Buck by Alexi Zeren (Pig Roast Publishing)
Oops. I took a little nap (still a bit hung over since yesterday)…
Pet peeve time: Anthologies that do this. Or rather — this isn’t the worst example of it: Here you actually have page numbers, and if you concentrate, you can actually find out who did what. But I’d rather just have each piece marked with who did what on the actual pages, like Raw used to do, and like Kuš does. I guess some editors find doing that to be totally square and lame and stuff? Because it foregrounds the creator over the material or something?
Well, that’s Marti, and I don’t need no table of contents to tell me that…
And this is… er… OK, I just don’t have the patience to parse that lettering, so I’ll leave the job to you, dear reader. But it’s pretty cool.
|Oren Ambarchi, Johan Berthling, Andreas Werliin: Ghosted|
But as the anthology progresses, I’m feeling myself lose confidence in it. There’s a number of very short pieces, and most of them don’t seem to be going anywhere?
And some artists seem to be popping up in several places, with imagery that seems to have some sort of connection to surrounding pieces, but not really?
Like… the one-page thing to the left has a person in bed, and then there’s a bed in the longer story that starts on the right…
This is apparently the American edition of an anthology that was originally published in Spain? Presumably in Spanish? Perhaps?
One of the longest pieces here is a bunch of snaps of altered coins, and it’s perhaps one of the best things in here.
There’s also an interview.
Finally, some good parenting.
This is a very odd anthology. It does feel like it has a real vision — it’s not just random stuff dumped together. But there’s too many pieces here that go nowhere, and when you start losing confidence in an anthology, it gets to be a struggle to convince yourself to pay attention.
|Mary Halvorson: Amaryllis|
21:28: Speedy #1-3 by Warren Craghead
“Letters are shapes” The first booklet is a collection of these poem type things (I think a larger collection was released recently? I remember reading it some weeks back), and it’s great.
The second booklet is a collection of drawings done on January 6th, 2021.
The third seems to be bits from his sketchbook, but also other stuff. The wind is blowing “sun ra sun ra sun ra”. It’s great.
21:40: Heaven #1-3 by Katie Skelly
Skelly artwork is super attractive.
This story looks like it’s going to be going for quite a while — over these three issues we’re only introduced to the characters and the concept, really. It’s fun and it’s exciting, and I want more.
|Oren Ambarchi: Shebang|
21:53: Blah Blah Blah #3 by Juliette Collet
This is a real mix of stuff, from pretty straightforward (if stoned) autobio, to less narrative pieces like the above…
… to wild collages. It’s oddly gripping stuff. The only piece I didn’t think worked perfectly was the last one with the band…
Oh, and there’s a little booklet inside, and the cover is heavier, matte stock while the innards are shiny paper. It’s good as a physical object, too.
22:13: Boo Boo Comics edited by Olivia Brummett (Door Press)
I… think this was from Deadcrow? Yup. It doesn’t really say who made the book anywhere, does it? Hm.. Oh, there’s the credits.
This, even on a Deadcrow scale, is a very odd book. It’s very thin — it’s printed on this extremely flimsy but shiny paper, and the longest story looks like a Crumb homage.
And then there’s a short story, and then some random stuff. I like it.
22:22: Crux by Virgil Warren (Deadcrow)
Wow. I don’t think I’ve seen something looking quite like this… is it offset printing? The colours pop like crazy. Looks amazing, and is perfect for the wild, colourful artwork (with many of the lines being done in white).
It’s a super-hero story of sorts — it reminds me of some of the more confusing bits of Copra? That is, I have absolutely zero idea what’s this is all about. But it’s an entertaining read anyway.
|Carl Stone: Wat Dong Moon Lek|
22:34: Give My Best To Your Kind! by Frances Cordelia Beaver
Another print-on-demand book, I think.
This is one of them there animal/human/philosophical comics. It reminds me a bit of True Swamp by Jon Lewis? But only vaguely.
It’s a quite quiet book — but funny and oddly moving.
22:58: Myth by Jérôme Berthier
This is very pretty, and it seems to be a narrative work, but I can’t work out at all what it’s about.
Since it’s called “Myth”, I’m guessing it’s all mythical and stuff (I’m so smart S M R T), but…
|Lucrecia Dalt: ¡Ay!|
23:03: Chromazoid #1-2 edited by Lale Westwind
This is an anthology from 2012-ish, and are squarebound books with very shiny paper. (Nick Jackson.)
It’s mostly narrative pieces, and are sci-fi/horrorish, mostly, I guess. (Lale Westwind.)
Oh, right — there’s a mixtape included with each issue (and a sketch). Trey cool.
There’s some wild artwork in here, and quite a few of the stories work. (Nick Jackson again — totally amazeballs, and a the story has funny ending.)
Otto Splotch… is that a pseudonym for Simon Hanselmann, by any chance?
Austin English is the only one that does a black and white story here.
Anyway, these are pretty strong anthologies — they feel pretty cohesive without being samey.
|Various: Close To The Noise Floor (2)|
23:46: Hot Dog Beach #1-4 by Lale Westwind
Hard guys, dude!
This are (mostly) 32-page magazine-sized books, and tell one long story. Which is pretty unusual these days — it seems like people are mostly using smaller books to publish a bunch of shorter pieces, and release longer narratives in one go as a huge book.
The art style morphs quite a bit over the years this was made. It first becomes wilder…
… and then even wilder…
… and then becomes more streamlined. It’s pretty wild, anyway.
The storyline isn’t all that complicated, but there’s a lot of weird stuff happening along the way. It’s two guys chasing somebody who has a cannon in her head, for some reason or other. It’s a propulsive read, but unfortunately it ends with “to be continued”.
|Various: A Tribute to Ryuichi Sakamoto: To the Moon and Back|
00:29: Whisnant, Hypermutt #1-4, Funky Dianetics #3 and Plaguers Intl by Max Huffman
I went wild in the web shop…
These are all pretty small booklets, and some are very nicely printed in colour…
… and some are black-and-white (but on coloured paper). The Hypermutt series is one continuous, if very loopy story, and seems to be ongoing. What’s up with that dog!
It’s all good — I really like Huffman’s sharp artwork and storytelling flow, but my favourite here is the Dianetics book — it’s a collection of gags, and it’s very funny.
I laughed out loud a bunch of times. And it has this nifty little booklet included.
The oddest book is about Plaguers Intl, and it also seems like it might be a continued story? I just didn’t get a handle on what that was supposed to be about, but it’s pretty entertaining anyway.
00:57: Clamp #4
This is an anthology with all these people contributing.
It’s mostly illustration, not comics.
And… once again, there’s a little booklet included.
But… it seems like it’s actually a real Chrysler instruction booklet? How dada.
These are sculptures, I guess?
And then we get about 20 pages of comics towards the end, and a few of them are hilarious.
01:14: The Veggie Team #1-4 by Ginger Craghead-Way
This is action packed.
And then the plot becomes quite complicated, with secret organisations and stuff. It’s neat.
01:22: Seed Toss I Cast, Crown’d, Drawings from the World Economic Forum in Davos 2019, Falllll by Warren Craghead III and others
Yes, I visited Craghead’s web shop.
Heh. It’s the tinyest, cutest little booklet.
Oh yeah… the first days of the pandemic… I think we’re just pretending that didn’t happen now.
OK, I think my brain is shutting down now, so I should close up shop and go to bed… but one more book.
01:32: Grip by Lale Westwind (Perfectly Acceptable Press)
Ooh, looks great. The indicia says that this was originally riso printed, but this edition is offset printed.
The artwork is incredibly kinetic and attractive. The story is seemingly pretty simple — it’s a road movie kind of thing (well, more of a travel/quest thing, really), and ends with… er… enlightenment? Or something?
I wonder whether Westwind was influenced by Yuichi Yokoyama? It’s got a similar feel.
|R. Aggs: Tape 1|
01:47: The End
I’m totally exhausted. So much interesting stuff…
It’s -10C outside, so I think today’s an excellent day to be a couch potato and read some comics. And for music… stuff from 1978? Why? Why not?
15:25: Agent 327 (1966-1968) by Martin Lodewijk (E-Voke)
I’ve been reading this collection lethargically over the last couple of weeks. Agent 327 is a Dutch James Bond parody, and was never a big hit throughout Europe, so it’s a bit odd that they’re publishing a collection like this. It’s very well-made — we get 40 (!) pages of background material, for instance.
But the series (at this point, at least) consists of four to six page vignettes, and reading 160 pages of this tends towards the repetetive.
|Peter Gabriel: Peter Gabriel 2|
There’s one longer story included in this book, though, and it’s a lot of fun. Sure, the villain is called “Dr. Maybe”, and that’s sets the level for the jokes in this book…
… but the artwork is really lively, and the gags keep coming. It’s pretty good! There are apparently six more of these collections planned, and if future collections have less of the short gag strips and more of the full-length albums, I’m on board.
16:17: Ronin Book II #1 by Frank Miller, Philip Tan and Daniel Henriques (FMP)
Huh! I guess I’m both surprised that there’s a continuation to Ronin (which wasn’t that successful commercially in the first place) and also surprised that it took almost 40 years for the continuation to arrive (since Frank Miller is, you know, A Name).
Oh, Miller isn’t doing the artwork at all here? Well, that brings my excitement down to a sub-zero level.
It’s not that Tan’s artwork is bad, but it’s totally normal. At least he tries to emulate Miller here and there.
The book consists mostly of two-page spreads, and it’s one long fight scene. Spoiler warning: They kill the monster; issue over.
16:33: Doctor Strange: Fall Sunrise #1 by Tradd Moore & Heather Moore (Marvel Comics)
This is really cool… I’ve seen Tradd Moore illustrate some other Marvel comics (Silver Surfer?), so I was expecting a lot of splash pages (it’s a common go-to when artist write their own books). But instead it’s a lot of little intricate panels, and an intriguing storyline.
And it’s gorgeous — both Tradd Moore’s artwork and Heather Moore’s colouring. Love those colour.
I’m on board for the series, obvs.
16:45: Cult of the Ibis by Daria Tessler (Floating World)
I remember back in the 90s, alternative comics artists would be hard-pressed to be able to get a couple of issues of whatever 32-page series they were doing per year. These days, it seems like people are casually dropping 200-400 page books, and I wonder whether people just have gotten that much faster at drawing? Do they all work in animation and have gotten used to churn the stuff out?
Being faster allows people to do really decompressed storytelling, and that’s great. I mean, these two pages of not answering the phone could have been half a panel, but then that wouldn’t have been as much fun.
The artwork here is really accomplished. It’s an action paced story, with a surprisingly moving ending.
|Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians|
17:08: Sorte historier by Alfonso Font (Tegneseriekompagniet)
This book collects a large number of two-page stories with “ironic” twists. I don’t quite understand why they’ve chosen to publish them this way instead of having each story span a two-page er spread? It makes for awkward reading.
A couple of the stories are longer, and are more humorous, but they’re basically just a collection of atrocities that end with an obvious twist. After a while, it seems like the point behind these stories is less to point out some injustice or other than to just be able to draw torture and sexual abuse. It all seems sophomoric.
But then! It turns out that that’s just the first 50 pages, and then the rest is hagiographic “essays” about how awesome Font is, and a whole bunch of random pages from a whole bunch of albums Font has done. It’s the most pointless thing I’ve seen — it’s a book that should have been a blog post.
17:44: In His Time by Jason Novak (Fantagraphics)
These are adaptations of short stories by Hemingway, I guess, and they seem to distill the stories down into their essences — without becoming recaps, but instead becoming gripping little vignettes.
It’s fantastic. Absolutely riveting book. And I’m not even a Hemingway fan.
|Tom Waits: Blue Valentine|
18:01: Ti kniver i hjertet by Nora Dåsnes (Aschehoug)
This book won a bunch of prizes for “best comic” in Norway the other year, and was also selected for Angoulême, but it flew under my radar.
Oh, OK, the conceit here is that this is a read diary by a twelve-year-old, complete with drawings and everything.
But it deviates from this pretty soon, and becomes a mixture of diary entries and more straightforward comics bits.
The colours are wonderful, and the artwork is cool. It’s a pretty compelling story about growing up — well-trodden ground — but it really hits all the right notes. My copy here is the fifth printing, so it sounds like it’s a major hit? And that’s understandable: It’s really good.
It does sometimes feels a bit over-digested: The protagonist is very precise in her analyses of what she’s going through. But it doesn’t get too annoying.
|Kraftwerk: The Man Machine|
18:48: Sala Ni Yalo: Path of the Shades by Clarence Dass (Living the Line)
Living the Line started out as a Cerebus adjunct (sort of), but they’re branching out into other stuff.
And… this is pretty odd? A 24 page freestanding floppy, mostly wordless?
It’s pretty neat, though.
18:53: Crowbar 9 by Steven McArdle (Floating World)
Oh, I assumed that this was by the people who did All-Time Comics… but it presents itself as being a reprint of a series from the 90s?
I guess that could be true, or it might not be, but I’m not really interested in this, so I ditched it after a dozen pages.
|Kate Bush: The Kick Inside|
19:13: Des milliards de miroirs by Robin Cousin (Epic)
As with the previous Cousin book, we’re dealing with a near-future science fiction setup. It’s depressingly accurate wrt. where the planet is going etc, what with all animals dying and all that fun stuff.
But it’s a frustrating read. First of all, I just find the art style to be really, really off-putting — it’s a style apparently designed to leech any possibly enjoyment from reading the pages. And there’s so many characters that have to have their character arcs that I just grew tired of the entire thing.
The book kinda sucks, but the frustrating thing is that is has a germ of interest, so I couldn’t make myself ditch it, either.
|Lester Bowie: The 5th Power|
20:24: The Stoneware Jug by Stefan Lorenzutti & John Porcellino
So these are poems by Lorenzutti illustrated by Porcellino?
It’s just lovely. It somehow seems like an even more Porcellino book than the ones that are just by Porcellino. It’s magical.
|Sun Ra: Lanquidity|
20:37: Evig inre kris by Nina Hemmingsson (Kaunitz-Olsson)
Oh, this is a career-spanning collection. I’ve read bits of this before, but most of it seems unfamiliar to me… (But she’s been going for 20 years, so that’s perhaps not unexpected.)
It’s a mix of more narrative comics in black and white(from a couple to a handful of pages, mostly) and one-panel strips in colour. And it’s both harrowing and hilarious.
I feel seen! That’s totally me.
This book is brilliant, and the funny stuff is hilarious. But it’s more than 300 pages of this stuff, so I’m thinking I shouldn’t be reading this all in one setting, because it’s also exhausting to read all these shorter pieces, one after another. So I’m pausing this half-way through, and saving the rest for a later date…
|Alice Coltrane: Transfiguration (1)|
21:38: Boat Life 1 by Tsuge Tadao (Floating World)
Huh. Floating World Comics is really stepping up their game, aren’t they? Publishing more and more stuff, and larger books than before, I think? Did Drawn & Quarterly pass on this, for some reason or other? They published the previous Tsuge books, I think?
And starting to read this, I kinda understand why that might be — the earlier books (like Slum Wolf) are a lot more immediate… this is a book about growing old and stuff.
|Tom Robinson Band: Power In The Darkness|
And it’s absolutely pure genius. It’s got such presence, such mood — it’s a wonderful reading experience.
|Genesis: And Then There Were Three|
It’s hypnotic. Tsuge’s best work ever, I think. The storytelling is so seemingly effortless, with nothing tripping up the story, and with the occasional burst of beauty breaking through quotidian life.
|Public Image Ltd.: First Issue|
23:15: Valérian et Laureline: Là où naissent les histoires by Pierre Christin & Virginie Augustin (Cobolt)
Mézières died in 2022, but hadn’t drawn the series for a while. So this is a “Valérian par…” album (the third one). But it’s written by Pierre Christin!
And amazingly enough, this feels like a real Valérian et Laureline album — the first in decades, really. The series had been at a standstill a long time before it ended in 2011. And this is really good. I’d say it’s the best album since, say, Les foudres d’Hypsis (from 1985). (The highpoint of the series was Métro Châtelet direction Cassiopée / Brooklyn Station terminus Cosmos, of course, from 1980/81.)
Virginie Augustin’s artwork is perfect for this, and the slightly elegiac tone is appropriate. But it’s a story without much baggage — it’s a fun adventure, without The Entire Universe At Stake, which was sometimes a problem with the series. It’s kinda perfect as a Valérian et Laureline album.
Which makes the “The End (… for good?)” on the final page rather distressing. But Christin is 85 years old, so…
|Public Image Ltd.: First Issue|
00:05: Stripburger 62
I’m making my way through the stack of Stripburgers I bought a while ago…
This is a particularly strong issue.
It’s all intriguing stuff.
From all over Europe, and variety of approaches. It’s not a grab bag of stuff, though — it all fits well together as an anthology.
The high point is the excerpt from Barrel of Monkeys, though.
|Devo: Q: Are we not men? A: We are Devo!|
00:20: The Complete Crepax 7: Erotic Stories, Part I by Guido Crepax (Fantagraphics)
Oh, so the other volumes have been non-erotic?!
I haven’t kept up completely with this series, but I’ve started getting the volumes now. These are heavy, large books that leave indentations on my thighs, but I’ve found a fix: I put another book flat underneath the Crepax book.
I’m a genius.
I’m fading, though, but perhaps I can read a couple stories here before turning in for the night.
This has more story than I imagined… It’s fun.
|Various: No New York|
But the two Emmanuelle things are quick reads indeed, so I ended up reading the entire book.
It’s good. Not as wild storylines as some of the other books, though.
|Grace Jones: Fame|
01:17: The End
And now it’s sleepytime. That was a solid bunch of comics. The Novak and Tsuge books were fantastic, and the Hemmingsson book, too, but all around good stuff.