Comics I Have Read Recently
Love and Rockets vol 3 #3 - Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics) - This was as amazing as folks said it was. No knock against Gilbert, but Jaime murdered it this time around, absolutely killed, fired on all cylinders, drowned it in ink. Jeepers, someone give that man a cartooning medal.
Black Jack vol 13 -- Osamu Tezuka (Vertical) - I continue to love this crazy comic despite all the reasons I can see someone not loving it. The cartooning is always top-notch, I enjoy the bugfuckery, and can go with the melodramatic flow just fine.
Late Bloomer - Carol Tyler (Fantagraphics) -- I forgot how much I enjoyed reading Carol Tyler's comics when I was tripping over them in various anthologies in the 80's/90's. I stumbled across this book while cleaning up in the basement where all the comics that don't fit anywhere sleep, and was happy to revisit these pieces, as well as material I hadn't read before. The perils of buying a book and putting it aside for too long. Funny, warm, human, honest, occasionally beautiful/heartbreaking "life" comics. I really have to pick up You'll Never Know, or at least see if the library has it.
Chi's Sweet Home vol 1 (and bits of vol 2-4 as Emily has been reading them) Konami Kanata (Vertical) - Well done, pretty and amusing (is that damning with faint praise--?) cute little cat comic. It is sweet, that's for sure. It's also a little too goddamned cute for my tastes, and I'm a sentimental idiot and a cat person and I like cute, besides. It made me think of a stickier, gummier version of some of the What's Michael? scenarios, but that might be too easy a comparison (cat manga, how many have we seen imported here, two? Three? I dunno) and/or a poor memory jog. I think the main character's widdle-kid dialogue just doesn't do it for me, to be honest. Yeah, I think that's the main sticking point, the speech impediment baby talk that Wonder Tot would frown at. Emily loved it, I must point out, and we borrowed it from the library, so, I call it a win for the kid. Sarah tells me this actually runs in an adult manga or magazine in Japan, which I found kind of funny.
Hanako and the Terror of Allegory vol 1-3 - Sakae Esuno (Tokyopop) - Semi-okay (if not super-original) high concept involving Japanese urban legends becoming real and haunting believers is blown apart by indifferent, awkward and sometimes downright confusing plot and storytelling, iffy-to-poor art and sub-rote characterization. The dialogue really rankles and clunks, I don't know if that's due to an awkward translation, a poor original script, or both. To a slight degree it reminded me a little of Mail, which Dark Horse put out here, but if Mail stunk completely and didn't have excellent horror visual set pieces and a decent sense of dread going for it. There's one more volume left of this very slight mess and it isn't out yet, I'll probably forget to look for it to see how it ends. And I almost always want to know how something ends.
Captain America Omnibus - Jack Kirby (Marvel)
Thank god for store credit. I picked it up it even though I have all of the source material in staples. MAD BOMB! MAD BOMB, BABY!!! (somebody cover Flipper's Sex Bomb and change ot to you-know-what, please. For me. Thanks). And there's Arnim Zola, the Bio-Fanatic, the batcrap Bicentennial Treasury Edition story and both WTF Cap annuals, to boot. This is crazy good stuff, you cats either already know you like it or know you don't, right?
The Creeper - Steve Ditko (DC)
The Losers - Jack Kirby (DC)
Thank god for gifts. Two mild surprises here, I enjoyed the Kirby stuff more than I thought I would -- I'm not a huge war comics fan, especially the DC variety, and this is 70's Krazy Kirby without super-insane concepts like the New Gods or The Eternals or MAD BOMB, so it's hobbled, for me at least, by a dose of "reality", albeit Kirby reality, which isn't reality at all, of course. I don't think I would have paid for these comics, because there's so much better Kirby out there, and better comics out there in general. But I'm happy as hell to have this goofy book on my Kirby shelf.
I enjoyed the Creeper stuff a lot less than expected, which I almost felt bad about. I always liked the bonkers Creeper design and the "feel" of the character, but I'd never actually read any of the comics (much like how I always loved the Metal Men strictly for their design and energy, but when I finally read the original Kanigher-typed comics I thought I was going to lapse into a coma). I expected the usual Ditko craziness, but it's seriously restrained and by the numbers and really rather boring and even kind of stupid. And not in a fun or galvanizing way. I think other writers came in on this and I'm not interested enough to go look upo who did what, I'm not getting paid for this. Anyway, I couldn't get through much of the book, and I can read a lot of garbage (see Hanako and the Error of blah blah blah). I'm gonna take another whack at it sometime just to finish what I started. So, yeah, The Creeper. A funky costume, cool name, a few evocative and nifty Ditko covers...and that's about it. Not so good.
Captain Easy vol 1 - Roy Crane (Fantagraphics) - I love Roy Crane and I'm super-happy this is in print. Cartoonists and cartoonist-wonks, take heed, there is some beautiful work to be pored over here. My only complaint is the cover stock on this thing keeps picking up weird stains from other books or what have you coming into contact with it. Maybe I'm just a slob. Anyway, Crane = Master. Wish the racial stereotypes weren't so goddamned stereotyped, though. Also wish volume 2 was out.
I'm also picking through and jumping around the Todd Hignite book on Jaime Hernandez again. It really makes you want to quit drawing comics. Well, it makes me want to, at least. Cripes.
Special Guest Review by Emily Dyer - Tiny Titans #whatever the new issue is, w/the Marvel Family (DC) - "This was too fast to read!" ( said while flipping the comic aside like Ralphie and Randy tossing away their Christmas socks). She liked it, but yeah, it's an unusually breezy issue of what's often a pretty breezy book in the first place. Just sayin'.
Well, there's that. Haven't "reviewed" any comics in a while. Not sure why I picked tonight to do anything of the sort. Clearing the head, perhaps. Looking to spark some comic book talk? I don't know about that. Something to do while taking a break from an exasperating Simpsons page I'm penciling? That could be part of it. Cripes. Goddamned writer put too many goddamned panels on the page, not to mention too many word balloons and too much dialogue.
Guess who wrote it?
Yeah, Robert Kanigher, give that little lady an Eskimo Pie.