Monday, December 21, 2009


I have also elected my best of the decade, best of the naughts, best of the oohs, best of the ahhs. Trimmed to five, this list is neither shocking nor necessary. Call it an excuse to put up images on a sinking comics blog.

1. Seven Soldiers by Grant Morrison and many fine artists (2005-6).Thirty issues born to the world in an odd order made me feel the full happy weight of the floppy. Above, J. H. Williams III gives me a face I'll never forget from issue zero.

2. 100% by Paul Pope (2002-3).
Pope's story of Gastro -- exotic dancing for the lovers of digestion -- has many pulsating and moving moments like the one above. See-through pocket, new gun, clenching fist, clenching fist.

3. Eightball #23 by Dan Clowes (2004).
Archaic pop American ennui. Tights. Andy the Death-Ray is our hero. He pops a squirrel. He very majestically cannot sleep.

4. Cecil and Jordan in New York by Gabrielle Bell (2008).
I have spent good time with Bell's collection. The scale of all these smart stories still wows me; the cage above lets you witness an illusion of magnitude.

5. The Fixer by Joe Sacco (2003).
The dizzy story of Neven and Joe, storysellers of Sarajevo. Read it for weird intimacy, for clear-as-mud conflict.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Herzogian Shoe Feast

Goddamn it. I was ready to whiten my flag and wash up alone on the comfortable shore of Outcaultlandia. Turn my attention backwards like a good Spiegelman in a time of crisis.


Carol Tyler's You'll Never Know, Book One: A Good and Decent Man descended from the reshelving corral of fate onto the recent arrivals rack of my soul. This book revitalizes the buried-dark-and-deep father's-WWII-history story with ornamentation. Not stripped down, not allegorized, but a storm of genres and accessories on Carol Tyler's part to counter the global warming of father Chuck Tyler's slowly-heating-up life details. You'll Never Know is tempest-tost. Tyler's a MAD clutterer, a Comeek sketchbooker, a Buckinghamian bannerer, an Eisnerian choreographer -- ehhh comparisons blah.

Enjoy the head of the chair poking out of the rush in the third panel.


For you to feel the movement:
Notice that "How's that" is outside the panel proper.
Next: the best of the decade. (I know.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Two Funnies

Two cartoons this evening. The first is an historical scrap from the life of fictional explorer Chance Oxblood by Grant Reynolds from his Comic Diorama: Collected Comics. The second is by best-of-the-bunch Roz Chast from the 30 November 2009 issue of The New Yorker. I've tagged "faces" so pay deep attention to those. Enlarge both for the reading.
Coming soon: an eating-my-shoe post and a rare color image.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Now, End-Product-of-Laughter "Stitches" I Can Get Behind

My favorite sequence from David Small's Stitches (2009).

One of the reasons why I was underwhelmed by this book is that it feels like a series of painted cartoons instead of a comic. The last two panels on the page above are art school exercises: draw a curious and youthful eye (good!) and then a scary eye (good!). They are oddly free-floating illustrations, as if from a sketchbook, and it doesn't seem worthwhile to add them up. Add to the mix many pretty scenic double splash pages and there's almost too much independence.

As for the story, even though it's Small the small child who gets caught between Small the artist's tug-of-war between extreme innocence and extreme cruelty, my arms were hurt.

I am very close to declaring 2009 the Year of Trite Acclaimed Comics. Formal sophistication meets flat sentiment and thought. A thrilling style can't convincingly offset or reignite sitcom writing.

The following spring to mind:
1. George Sprott by Seth.
2. Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli.
3. Greg Rucka's unbearable Detective Comics dialogue.
4. AD: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld.
5. The Nobody by Jeff Lemire.

You can still use words, you know.

My comic of the year? Citizen Rex for its immense difficulty and absurd final issue "message"? Maybe. Gaiman and Allred's "Metamorpho" from Wednesday Comics? Maybe. The ever-reliable Joe Sacco's Footnotes From Gaza, which I haven't yet seen and may not even be out? I'll go with Sacco any day.

Sorry, The Graphic Novel, I'm wanted elsewhere.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


(From Jules Feiffer's Ronald Reagan in Movie America. Enlarge.)

Norm MacDonald roasts Bob Saget: "Bob has a beautiful face, like a flower -- yeah, cauliflower. No offense, but...your a cauliflower." Reagan's Feiffer-made face looks like the Grinch made out of broccoli. So it's plainly obvious why I have quoted Norm MacDonald on Bob Saget.