Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Austin Comic Con

Jeremy A. Bastian auteur behind "Cursed  Pirate Girl."  CPG has to be the breakaway 2010 critical success.  While the book has had all kinds of success it has had lots of distribution and printing issues.  The indvudial issues and collection are hard to come by and I had feared I would have to buy a copy from a third party Amazon dealer.  I wasn't aware he was attend and I must have walked by his table three time before stumbling across him.  We got a chance to talk for several minutes and I had a chance to pick up the collection of the first three issues.  I look forward to reviewing it.

Andy Hirsch artist of SLG's "Royal Historian of OZ."  As well as auteur of his new self published serires "Varmints."   He has a wide body of short works like "Doggie Houndser: Muttical Dogtor" and "Idle Threat" as well as other on-line comics.  I really really want to see him at Staple: Independent Media Expo.

David Mack is the auteur behind "Kabuki."  He has been working since 1994 but largely went under my radar.  It started amid a slew of comics with cheesecake pinups with swords on the cover "Shi" and "Lady Death."  Recently Indie Spinner Rack brought it to my attention, and just thumbing through it at the library it is startlingly cerebral.   I 've been reading this and a few other collections the breadth and variate of his art and storytelling styles will merit a much longer analysis then I can pt forward now.

Marv Wolfman  is forty year writer and editor veteran of comics.  I had hoped to get my nephews sketch books full of doodles and get my older nephew who is sort of interested in writing a chance to get Mr. Wolfman's autograph.  Unfortunately my brother-in-law and younger nephew came down with the plague.  The my nephew and some of his friends quickly became distracted by all the toys and wall art....

Jeffery Stevenson's mains stream credit is probably as writer "Jim Valentino's Task Force 1" at Shadowline.  I talked to him briefly about his role as writer for creator owned "Steam Punk Faeries" and online comic brat-halla.  We also talked about an opportunity he had to correspond with Marv Wolfman.  He has attend Staple: Independent Media Expo in the past and is thinking about the 2012 con.

Robert Wilson IV artist "Knuckleheads"  I didn't talk to him long I think he did say he was thinking about coming to Staple: Independent Media Expo.   I bought this because it looked art looked like Jamie Hernandez take on Matt Wagner's "Mage."

Isaac Mardis auteur"Defending Neverland" Didn't have time to talk to him but a James M. Barrie interpretation is the fast way to separate me from my money.  At quick glance I can't find any web info in the book : (  But I do have a card.

I picked up two free samples from Penny Farthing Press pfpress.com they look like a neat outfit and there web page is awesome.

With the last few dollars in my account I bought the latest two issues of Richard Moore's  "Gobs." Apparently he has a long history with Antarctic Press.  I may look into them the link is antarctic-press.com , but they seem to be pretty far flung and developed. 

I didn't get a chance to talk to Joe Eisma artist "Morning Glories."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A biblical parable

It starts with James K. Polk winning the 1844 Democratic convention as a dark horse candidate. Because if he had not, there comes into question the timeliness of the great western expansion. And in that time of success and fortune, rose an industrialist, who is of no importance to us other than the fact that this industrialist had a successor who moved west and built a huge mansion with a large and well stocked garage. Wanting only the best, the successor hired a master mechanic to move out west with him. After years of services the master mechanic retired and sold his shares in the railroads and built a diner out of a train car to occupy his golden years. It was mildly successful. After the master mechanic's death, his estate passed to an estrange son from an earlier marriage back east. The estranged son, wanting nothing to do with the diner or the railroad town the diner was in due to the railroad's rapid decline in the face of the national highway system, sold the diner. Then the master mechanic's estranged son took his young wife and moved to the Pacific northwest. The young wife was an avid bird watcher, so the estranged son built a beautiful garden and filled it with all kinds and shapes of bird feeders. They lived happily for many years but eventually the young wife stopped being young and the estranged son became a widower. In the following years the beautiful garden fell into disrepair and the hummingbird feeder developed a slow leak. Perhaps this disrepair was because the estranged son's heart was broken or because he was succumbing to Alzheimer’s, or perhaps because the hummingbirds were too enthusiastic. It took no time at all for a large, thriving colony of ants to develop under the leaking hummingbird feeder. Eventually, the industrialists' successor's mechanic's estranged son stopped refilling the leaking humming bird feeder. The hummingbirds moved on and ant colony weakened and became host to an aggressive fungal disease. Within a week, the spores in the ant carcasses congregated and collectively gave praise and thanks to the Lord our God for this the best possible of all worlds.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Two weeks in comics

    Hey, theme of this post seems funny, bizarre and writer/illustrator auteurs who express singular visions.   There still three books that are over due for a review as of this post.  Miss Lakso-Gross's A Mess of Everything doesn't quite fit partly because I found it so personally effecting that it will occupy a larger part of one of these upcoming Week in Comics and maybe a review of its own.  I also have finished all 90 issues of Terry Moore's Stranger in Paradise collected in pocket book 1-6.  Besides being over 2 thousand pages of material I also want to discusses it after touching on Jaime Hernandez's Locas. Finally, the Flight:Explorer inspired post on all-ages comics is still on its way.  Till then, here is four quick reviews.

The Lost Colony no2: The Red Menace, Pub. First Second, Owner Glady Klein
     Glady Klein Writer/Illustrator.
(Political Satire, Animated, Pogo-ish) 3.5 out of 5
     http://indiespinnerrack.blogspot spent some time plugging First Second.  I've already reviewed The Fate of the  Artist.  I liked Joann Sfar's Klezmer and Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese is easily a 9.5 out of 10.  So when I found Klein's second volume  for a faction of the cover price I snapped it up.  I liked it enough that I will be keeping an eye out for vol.1 & 3 in the library but I am not completely sold.  One of its strength is that Klein uses a very tight coloring with a simple/cartoony palate over line work that is controlled but wildly expressionistic.  It fits in nicely with the Yang and Sfar books in that it can come off as childlike while dealing with content that is very serious.  In this second volume Klein is looks at some lies we tell our selves about war.  Wars we fought, will fight, are fighting or wished we fought.  What seemed to me to be an abrupt ending is fitting but as a stand-alone reading experience I just don't feel like I'm ready to make a final call on this one.

Rasl, Pub. Cartoon Books, Owner Jeff Smith
     Jeff Smith Writer/Illustrator.
(Sci-Fi, Noir, Wild-Ride) 3.5 out of 5
     Jeff Smith is a solid contender for the role of the inheritor Eisner's place as the preeminent graphic storyteller. Over the years of his work on Bone he has honed his page-layouts, panelization, panel composition and illustration to a seamless narrative engine.  Unlike Bone, Rasl is unapologetic aimed at a mature audience in genera that I have followed closely in the past (not entirely unlike Tansmetropolitan, Atomic Robo, B.P.R.D. and SCUD the Disposable Assassin).  That said there are two things are standing in the way of me given these books a much higher rating.  First is unlike Bone, Rasl is not a feta comply.  Although, have read about as many pages of both series I know I can finish Bone at any time (probably mid to late June) and because of other reviews I know it will never jump the shark.  To unstand the other objection I want to go back to those other four noir/dystopain visions.  Ellis' dialogue in Tansmetropolitan is heavily influenced by the disjointed gonzo prose, Atomic Robo's narrative timeline disorderly jumps from point to point to accommodate the mode and mood of the storytelling, Guy Davis artwork in B.P.R.D. is unapologetic un-pretty (like all of his work)  forcing the reader to be aware that they are entering a space that he created and SCUD the Disposable Assassin does all three.  While Smith content in Rasl is neither smooth nor pretty his artistic mastery is both.  On further reflection, I will say there is something that can be disjointing or disorientating about his panelization.  He opens some scenes with panels that give either little or misleading information that can give similar feel to mid to early David Lynch films.  Anyway, I will be keeping an eye on Rasl and even if he never produce more I will be returning to these books.

Transit, Pub. Image, Owner Ted Mckeever
     Ted Mckeever Writer/Illustrator.
(Expressionistic, Noir, Dystopian) 3 out of 5
      This book came about as highly recommend as possible from the folks from http://indiespinnerrack.blogspot.com.  I honestly didn't care for it, which is possibly hypocritical of me in light of my review Rasl.  After the first issue it is clearly a perfect marriage of form and content. Once he got past a little cartoon playfulness, his artwork took on a simple but harsh expressionist line work that screamed out that this is a dark world filled with unsavory characters with awful agendas.  While I admire it as stands today (I can't imagine how mind blowing it would have been in the early 80s), I real never got into partly because I never got attached to any of the characters.  I am taking my time with Eddy Current and will hopefully have more to say about that.

Arkham Asylum: Madness, Pub. and Owner DC
     Sam Keith Writer/Illustrator.  Michelle Madsen & Dave Stewart Colorist.
(Character-Driven, Horror, Warmer than Expected) 4 out of 5
     By way of an apology to the tone of this blog, I need to say to things.  First there has been long standing suicide pack between readers and the major publishers of supper hero comic books.  Innovation along with any attempted to reach outside of the base readership has been met with suspension or betrayal.  One thing that sets this book apart is that this is Joker story that sans-batman, and spends more time with ordinary people trying to get through a rough (extremely rough) day at work   The second part of my apology is that Mister Keith singular vision has found a place in works in every corner of comic book landscape.  The division between indie and mainstream as well as those between contractor and auteur don't seem as relent when looking over Sam Keith portfolio.  Keith gives no more or less of himself to this than any other project.  It is a solid horror story with some of the same slow pacing and explosions into the strange that I except form the Maxx or Zero Girl.  It also has some touching monument.  Keith has an ability to inject the warmth and playfulness of his self owned and/or directed work into work he did for other writers.  I haven't read his work for Marvel but the over seriousness of his short run and Sandman and Dark Horse's Aliens are both improved by the wild playfulness of his art.  While Time-Warner by way of DC doesn't need or particular want your $19.99 or $13.59 on Amazon, they  have given us a book that is uniquely a product of Keith vision and those are few and to far between.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Week (more like 2-3) in Comics

      OK, this is my first week in comics post.  The format is pretty simple.  I will list books I at least tried to read once, provide a 3 word teaser, a 0-5 initial rating, and a paragraph of first impressions.  Latter I will be doing more in-depth reviews that talk about how style informs and forms the narrative and narrative spaces of a given work.  That is to say I will be doing some more highbrow reviews of works that are both highbrow and lowbrow but that show a single and singular vision.  Starting with Alex Robinson's Box Office Poison and More B.O.P.  As for these weeks in comics other than reviews I will be experimenting with a few other things after the review section.

The Fate of The Artist, Pub. First Second, Owner Eddie Campbell
     Eddie Campbell Writer/Illustrator.
(Auto-Bio/Collage/Avant-garde) 3.5 out of 5
     I know this is not the first or only post-From Hell auto biographical work by Campbell and the lowish rating just reflects the fact that if I did  the request research for a full review the lowest score I could see myself giving it is a 7 out of 10.  Right now it is a little over my head.  This book is an auto biographical written and illustrated from a third person  perspective told in a multiple styles.  The story skips between full text, collage, 1-4 panel comic strips, full page Sunday style strips and yes even pages of photo-novels!  It is not even a story in the traditional began middle and end since.  Rather, it is a steam of instances that tease at some personal vision into the inner-workings of the Campbell household.  Over all challenging but rewarding read that hope to revisit once this blog has found its footing.

Flight Explorer, Vol. 1 Pub. Villard Books, Owners Creators/Writers/Illustrators
(All-Ages, Page-Turning, Solid Anthology) 4.5 out of 5
      People who dig Owly and Bone should get a kick out this.  Is is accessible to very little kids I blew through the 104 in about an hour or two.  This another book I'll come back to its a couple of years old so there may be substantially more.  I may spend a week on all-ages works, so that something to look forward.  For now let me say that there are some works in this collection that show some singular virtuosity.  Also a  like Owly many of these stories do some pretty amazon layouts that help comic book literacy.  In my Master's thesis I talked about how comics can change and expand our conventions of narrative space and time and the layouts by Kibuishi, Soo and (unsurprisingly) Hamaker are all good starting places.  The most notable thing about this Anthology is how well the collection holds up as a collection.  There really aren't any story juxtaposition that really break the follow of the reading experiences. 

Ocean, Pub. Wildstorm, Owner Warren Ellis
     Warren Ellis Writer/ Chris Sprouse Illustrator.
(Futurism, Arther C Clarkish, Snarky) 4 out of 5
     I read this pretty quickly because I knew I was going to review Excalibur and I didn't want to give the impression that I normally would be psyched to read ANYTHING Ellis wrote.  This work has some of sharp wit of Transmetropolitan with some of the wonder of Orbiter.   Not as mind blowing as either but that like saying that a given Kevin Smith project isn't as good as Clerks.   Its good and unlike a lot of Ellis' work for Wildstorm it doesn't require any background or investment beyond the single book.  If your a fan of Ellis' work certainly pick this up.

Northlanders Books 1-3, Pub. DC, Owners Brian Wood & DC
     Brian Wood Writer, Many Illustrators .
(Vikings, Stand Alone, Heavy) 4.5 out of 5
      Wood doesn't disappoint.  These books have some of the same historical atmospherics as Ellis' Crecy but with that human day in the life style that attracted me to DMZ.  In my opinion the shorter story runs and stand alone issues collected in book 3 are the strongest.