Sunday, February 14, 2016

ICYMI -- Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 2/7/16 to 2/14/16

Highlighting some great comics criticism being published, as well as other random things that have caught my eye over the past week.


COMICS CRITICISM


* Mark Dickson on CRY HAVOC #1
* Alex Hoffman on Benjamin Urkowitz's THE BEAUTY THEOREM
* Greg Hunter on Jacob Canfield's I FELL ASLEEP



WHATNOT


* Kim O'Connor's MARRIED TO COMICS (there's a lot to digest here)
* Tillie Walden's WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE GAY IN AN ALL-GIRLS MIDDLE SCHOOL
* Andy Oliver talks to Off Life editor DANIEL HUMPHRY
* 55 MORE THOUGHTS FOR ENGLISH TEACHERS by Nick Ripatrazone
* Sarah Grey's OPEN LETTER TO GLORIA STEINEM ON INTERSECTIONAL FEMINISM
* THREE POEMS by Strummer Hofston
* Ta-Nehisi Coates on THE ENDURING SOLIDARITY OF WHITENESS

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Artist in the Biography: Examining Elijah Brubaker’s REICH



Over on Comics Bulletin, Jason Sacks and I discuss what we loved about Elijah Brubaker's 12 part series REICH from Sparkplug Books.


"Biography is tricky business, and graphic biography, I would imagine, even more so. Presenting a person’s life in this sort of format requires not just extensive research, but large choices — what to put in and what to leave out, not to mention pacing, layout, and design. Expand that over 12 issues and then stretch that over (in the case of the Sparkplug books) seven years and choices of consistency and intent have to also be factored into the equation. Just as Reich seemingly transforms, so too does Reich. In the course of creating this series, Brubaker is developing his prowess as an artist. The Elijah Brubaker of 2007 is not the same cartoonist as the Elijah Brubaker of 2014. By reading this art, we also are reading the artist.  Which now, I guess, brings us back to your earlier questions of “artistic ambition, of youthful enthusiasm colliding with mature approaches, and of the commitment that an artist owns for completing his work.”"

Sunday, February 7, 2016

ICYMI -- Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 1/31/16 to 2/6/16

Highlighting some great comics criticism being published, as well as other random things that have caught my eye over the past week.


COMICS CRITICISM


* Zainab Akhtar on Valentine Gallardo's SOFT FLOAT
* Scott Cederlund on Tom Hart's ROSALIE LIGHTNING
* Nick Hanover on KENNEL BLOCK BLUES #1
* John Seven on Meags Fitzgerald's LONG RED HAIR
* Jason Wilkins on Alex Demetris' DAD'S NOT ALL THERE ANY MORE
* Chase Magnett on HUCK #1-3
* Amy Diegelman on FAITH #1
* Jacob Monir Canfield and Alex Hoffman discuss Riad Sattouf's THE ARAB OF THE FUTURE


WHATNOT

* Tom Spurgeon on THE FAKE AWARDS AT ANGOULEME
* Sarah Horrocks on Guillermo del Torro's CRIMSON PEAK
* Chase Magnett on VIOLENCE IN SUPERHERO COMICS
* TWO POEMS by David Morgan O'Connor
* ROUNDING UP HOURLY COMICS DAY 2016
* Noah Berlatsky's #OSCARSSOWHITE: HOW QUESTIONS OF DIVERSITY ARE INEXTRICABLY LINKED TO TASTE
* Laura Kenins on COMICS AS LITERATURE
* Chris Gavaler on HOW WORDS AND PICTURES WORK TOGETHER IN COMICS
* Paul Tumey's THE MINICOMIX REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Smart “Dumb” Comic or Putting Out A Fire … With Gasoline!: Benjamin Marra’s TERROR ASSAULTER: O.M.W.O.T. (One Man War On Terror)


Keith Silva and I put our collective noggins together and try to figure out what the hell is going on in Benjamin Marra's TERROR ASSAULTER: O.M.W.O.T.


"But hard times deserve hard commentary and slick Swiftian satire, right? And it appears O.M.W.O.T. fits the bill of fare here in this pre-apocalyptic hash house serving, as it does, crude crudités, moist meatballs, and a thick apple pie with a slab of cheddar stuck in it like a caseiculture hammer. There’s a jukebox in the back corner stocked with the entire discography of both Ted Nugent and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Every waitress is named Blanche and they all have an ax to grind about Syrian refugees.

Sweet gibbering gobstopper, it sure does take a thick stomach full of hot bile to macerate what Marra is cooking, doesn’t it? But we breed them big here in America. I mean, it unquestionably takes a capacious, dumb mouth to ingurgitate and bloviate simultaneously. Thank goodness we have a 24 hour news cycle to provide us with role models in that game."

Sunday, January 31, 2016

ICYMI -- Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 1/24/16 to 1/30/16

Highlighting some great comics criticism being published, as well as other random things that have caught my eye over the past week.


COMICS CRITICISM


* Andy Oliver on Tille Walden's I LOVE THIS PART
* Austin Lanari on Gene Luen Yang's BOXERS AND SAINTS 
* Austin Lanari also wrote about Richard McGuire's HERE
* Chase Magnett on THE VISION #1-3

* Greg Hunter on Suzette Smith's CE/ZE
* Paul Mirek on Carlos Gonzalez's TEST TUBE
* Mark Dickson on AFTER THE GOLD RUSH #1
* AJ McGuire on Lale Westvind's HAX
* David Fairbanks and Mark Stack on LUCIFER #1
* Kyle Garret is still writing about Morrison's ANIMAL MAN



WHATNOT

* Alenka Figa on JANE: DOCUMENTS FROM CHICAGO'S CLANDESTINE ABORTION SERVICES 1968-1973
* Dustin Illingworth on THE PERPETUAL RELEVANCE OF MISS LONELYHEARTS
* David Fairbanks on WHY CRITICS MATTER
* Andrew Yates interviews GILBERT HERNANDEZ
* Noah Berlatsky on the 1997 film AS GOOD AS IT GETS 
* Ryan Ottley sketches a BICORNACLOPS!
* TWO POEMS by Jenna Cardinale

Sunday, January 24, 2016

ICYMI -- Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 1/17/16 to 1/23/16

Highlighting some great comics criticism being published, as well as other random things that have caught my eye over the past week.


COMICS CRITICISM


* Annie Mok on SOLDIER'S HEART by Carol Tyler
* Chris Gavaler's ABSTRACTION BINGO WITH BILL SIENKIEWICZ
* Nick Hanover on Ted McKeever's PENCIL HEAD
* Broken Frontier's 6 SMALL PRESS CREATORS TO WATCH IN 2016
* Pete Redrup on a WHOLE BUNCH OF GREAT BOOKS
* Kyle Garret is still writing about Morrison's ANIMAL MAN
* Scott Cederlund on PLANETES OMNIBUS VOLUME 1


WHATNOT

* Keith Silva interviews David Hine and Alberto Ponticelli about SECOND SIGHT
* Richard Gehr interviews EMILY FLAKE
* TWO POEMS by Laurie Sewall
* HOW INTERSECTIONALITY MAKES YOU STUPID
* Britney Stigler on THE FILMS OF CHANTAL AKERMAN
* Announcing the Broken Frontier SMALL PRESS YEARBOOK

Friday, January 22, 2016

Jürgen Becker's BLACKBIRDS IN SEPTEMBER Silently Stalks the Oddities of Consciousness


I step out of my comics criticism niche and review the selected shorter poems of Jürgen Becker, BLACKBIRDS IN SEMPTEMBER, translated by Okla Elliott and published by Black Lawrence Press.


There is much to enjoy in Blackbirds in September. Becker’s quiet oddities of consciousness and his quiet celebration of moments don’t come at the expense of the realities of chaos and destruction. He acknowledges the transience of beauty and, in that, elevates its precious nature.
For such an attitude to have come from someone so inured to destruction so early in his life, Jürgen Becker shows his audience the infinite capacity of the poet for creation and understanding.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

ICYMI -- Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 1/10/16 to 1/16/16

Highlighting some great comics criticism being published, as well as other random things that have caught my eye over the past week.


COMICS CRITICISM


* Nick Francis Potter's graphic review of Sam Alden's NEW CONSTRUCTION
* Sequential State has been running a great list of COMICS THAT CHALLENGED ME: 2015
* Alexander Lu on SANDMAN: THE KINDLY ONES
* Andy Oliver on TILLIE WALDEN
* Thomas Powers on Garrett Price's WHITE BOY
* Kyle Garret is still writing about Grant Morrison's ANIMAL MAN
* Jason Wilkins on Lovern Kindzierski and GMB Comichuk's UNDERWORLD


WHATNOT


* The Venture Brothers Creators talk about BOWIE
* A.G. Moore's MOURNING A BLACKSTAR: BOWIE AND THE PERFORMANCE OF SELF
* Dangerous Minds on BOWIE
* Tom Ewing on discovering BOWIE
* Tracy K. Smith's poem "DON'T YOU WONDER, SOMETIMES?"
* Sarah Larson's GROWING UP WITH DAVID BOWIE
* Chris Thompson and Michael Shields' BOWIE'S FINAL ALCHEMY
* Momus on BOWIE
* Christian Hoffer on BOWIE'S LASTING INFLUENCE ON GEEK MEDIA
* Lou Anders' tribute to BOWIE

Monday, January 11, 2016

Review: Derek Van Gieson's ENOUGH ASTRONAUT BLOOD TO LAST THE WINTER


Over on Wink, I wrote about Derek Van Gieson's new book, ENOUGH ASTRONAUT BLOOD TO LAST THE WINTER, published by Fantagraphics Underground.


While not a graphic novel in the traditional sense, Enough Astronaut Blood to Last the Winter is still narrative. The reader understands mood more than movement, but even in this there is still a beginning, middle, and end. So many of Van Gieson’s inky portraits have a surreal sense of disconnect, as much as they convey discontent. His subjects mostly look away, askance, from the viewer, or have their eyes covered completely by hair or by shadow. Many of the photographs are of his subjects caught in the midst of liminal moments, between this and that, indecisive and unsure of how to proceed. And his prose-poems further the sense of unbecoming that suffuses the book as a whole. They are often grounded in the experience of the day-to-day, yet twist out into hypnagogic landscapes and scenarios, as if the “now” only leads to the impossible and the reality of the minute is unfathomable as it stands.