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.