Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Art of Anticlimax

Dear DC Comics,

If you advertise a storyline called "Batman R.I.P." as revealing the final fate of Batman, at the end there should be a body. If you advertise a storyline called "Battle for the Cowl" as revealing who the new Batman will be, at the end you should show a face.


Mr. Fob

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cypher (1997)

by Brad Teare

This is currently in second place for best book I've read in 2009 and since I'll get to read it again (I own it but not The Arrival), it may be able to win this race. (Although, I must remember, the year's not yet half over.

Excuse me?Cypher is in the same family as plenty of alternative comics with their weird crap such as the work of Gary Panter. The major difference is that Cypher is a pleasure to read and for all its surrealist weirdness, it never gets boring or dull or irritating or painful or ugly or hateful or pointless or sucksucksucky. Which most do. Nearly all do. Maybe every other booklength comic of this type ever made.

So I love it and I recommend it and if you are a comics publisher I insist you contact Mr Teare and bring the ten unpublished followup volumes to light.

Do it!

(Although when you republish #1, please give it a new cover. The current one is so 1997-CG and does not do justice to Teare's scratchboards [woodcuts?].)


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Faith in Frankie (2004)

by Mike Carey, Sonny Liew, Marc Hempel
My Faith in Frankie.

This is from the same creative team that gave us Re-Gifters and I'm happy to say that this earlier effort is a much finer book. Not a great book, but a book that makes me glad they stuck together and hope they still are.

My Faith in Frankie is the tale of a girl and her god. She's his only worshipper and he's a doting deity. Like Re-Gifters, the art varies from more standard graphic-novel fare to a style more like the Sunday funnypages. I like both styles.

The audience for this Vertigo-not-Minx comic is, at least officially, older. Although I imagine fifteen-year-old girls will be perfectly okay with the added sex in this volume.

Clever bits (like the demons who intercept phone calls) are delightful and tired bits (like the polyandrous final solution) don't get in the way of enjoying the book.

In brief: god leaves home, finds a baby to worship him, makes baby's life great, she goes to college, blast from the past, god nearly killed, exciting conclusion. I wonder if the (otherwise welcome) comic tone keeps it from reaching the emotional zeniths that could have made it a Great Book. Hard to say.


by Kenan Rubenstein

Tick offers a brilliant concept: a comic told over the course of a year, over a calendar, in a book that feels just like opening a calendar:

The story's a fairly typical tictoc man type of thing that can't decide whether it wants to be mute or not. The artist's website says it's his first comic, so we can excuse the sins as the errors of a neophyte and look forward to better work in the future.

But seriously --- what happened to June and October?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Janes in Love

by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
Janes in Love.

So the first book about the Janes was brilliant, IMHO. This one was good enough that I wish Minx had survived solely to publish a third, but decidedly less great than #1.

The problems:

a) Pheromones = lame. Total breaking of the rules of realism which I have cherished herein.

b) Waaay too much mopey internal dialogue.

c) Much of the book feels like a stall.

But having made those complaints, I still liked this book and I'm happy to own it. Most of the driving force which brought the first to life is diluted or missing from this book. Perhaps a longer breath between books would have worked well. But it hardly matters now....

I will say that the samples from other Minx books kill me. I'm horribly depressed DC axed this line so quickly. They poured a lot of effort and money into launching it then gave up on it when it didn't turn profitable quickly enough. I find that horribly depressing. They should have stuck it out. They had so many great or near-great or at-least-look-to-be-great books.

1000 Steps to World Domination

by Rob Osborne

from 1000 Steps to World Domination

Rob wants to take over the world. Using comics:

from 1000 Steps to World Domination

Go, Rob!

The book's pretty okay. Some funny moments. Good characters (Rob, his wife, the monkey, hot chicks [love world dominators, generally don't love cartoonists], a general, anal-probing aliens, God, et cetera). Good enough I would definitely read more, but not so good that I am compelled to.

Monday, May 4, 2009

110 Per¢

by Tony Consiglio

Three women, not teenyboppers, in love with boy band 110 Per¢. One seems to have it fairly together (even though the opening page shows her grabbing the band's fastfood trash from a can), but in the end, she's the one without a meaningful relationship. Which was a clever swap that I didn't realize happened for several hours.

The book is shot like a documentary --- so much so that I feel obliged to say it was "shot", apparently.

A good book and worth reading if you have the chance, but not worth running down unless this is really your subject matter.

from 110 Per¢