Monday, February 15, 2010

Some Recently Read Comics
From the Ashes by Bob Fingerman. This originally came out as a comic book series, but since I almost never buy individual comic books anymore (too hard to keep track of!), this is my first time seeing this. This is a fictional memoir of Fingerman and his wife Michelle living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Fingerman uses it to rail against people he hates (the "God Hates Fags" people, Karl Rove, Bill O'Reilly). He meets nice zombies and mutants (they usually get such a bad shake in horror fiction). Basically in a world where six billion people died, Fingerman couldn't be happier! It's funny that he revels in the death of humanity with a general "people are no damn good" attitude--and yet chooses to live in the human anthill known as New York City. Anyway, this was actually one of the funniest and most entertaining Fingerman books I've ever read. I loved the pencil art. Fingerman's art can seem too controlled and a little stiff. By drawing in pencil, he gives the work a nice casualness. The coloring is really interesting too.
Abandoned Cars by Time Lane. Lane is a great artist who gets too much into the mythology of working class America and "the road." He wears his Bukowski, Raymond Carver and even Bruce Springsteen on his sleeve. But sometimes the stories work--so overall I would recommend this collection. Uniformly great artwork and occasionally terrific stories.
Britten and Brulightly by Hannah Berry. Britten is a private detective in early 20th century London. I won't say who Brulightly is--it'd spoil it. This is a somewhat surreal detective story that got a lot of praise when it came out. I don't get it frankly--the art feels very clumsy compared to its continental cousins (Blacksad, for example) and the story seemed run of the mill for the genre.
Tales of Woodsman Pete by Lilli Carre. Clever stories, but not as good as her more recent work, such as Nine Ways to Disappear, which has both better drawing and cleverer stories.
New Engineering by Yuichi Yokoyama. Absurd, ultra-geometric stories. Kind of an art student's idea of good comics. Interesting but not something that lingers much after you read it. (The publisher and author speak of Sol Lewitt in an interview afterward. What is it about Sol Lewitt that so many cutting edge comics figures like so much? Don't get me wrong--I like Sol Lewitt a lot. But I don't rank him higher than, say, Robert Morris or Michael Heizer or Richard Serra, to name some of his peers. What's with the Lewitt love?)

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