State of the Encyclopedia: SPX 2012 and Beyond
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SPX NEWS


Hello my dear friends. The above graphic indicates a couple of things, chiefly that myself, Liz Suburbia and Matt Czap are going to LARGE at SPX this weeked. Find us at table F5, close to the entrance. We’ll have lots of great stuff for you, including some brand new comics from Liz, but what I’m most excited about is the debut of PUPPYTEETH 3. This is the best thing I’ve ever put together, with the help of the best comics artists I know. I really hope you’ll come by and take a look for yourself, and we’d all love to say hi.


This SPX is kind of like the debutante ball for me, as I’ll be making my first steps on quivering Bambi legs as small time pub/distro Czap Books (website forthcoming). To inaugurate the occasion (purely by chance), I’ll be selling copies of the fantastic, two-time Ignatz Nominated Ojitos Borrosos by Inés Estrada. This book is a knock out, you need it in your life. I’ll have a handful of those for sure (also can be found at the Koyama Press table [J7-10]), and if things shake out I’ll also have some stuff from John G as well. Cool.


The PUPPYTEETH fun continues, since a whole bunch of the contributors are going to be hanging about the Expo as well. Marked in red on the map you’ll find the tables of Mandy Sampson (G11) and L. Nichols (I8). Both will have brand new stuff of their own that you’ll for _sure_ want to grab, including L.’s new book from Retrofit (H11), Flocks vol. 1. Roaming the grounds, you’re also bound to run into Jessi Zabarsky, Eric Kubli, Brandon B. and friend of PUPPYTEETH Geneva Hodgson! I know that Brandon is going to have some cool stuff with him, so seek him out for sure. Off the map above but still very much at SPX will be PUPPYTEETH 3 cover artist Cathy G. Johnson at W63 with table-mates Olivia Horvath and Eel Choy. And how can we forget everyone’s friend, Darryl Ayo, reppin at H12?


Then those yellow tables there (W1-5), right across from us, that’s where the DC Conspiracy will be camping out, and selling copies of the book I’m in, District Comics. They should also have copies of the local paper Magic Bullet, which both Liz and I have contributed to in the past.


All in all, looking to be a hum-dinger, I tell you what? Could there be even more surprises in store? You’ll just have to see, because I don’t know!





It’s Just a Jump to the Left… PART ONE
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Things got a little out of hand for a while there.


Last transmissions I put out were a really clipped one last September before I headed out to SPX (what a time, what a time). Before that, the last regular style blogging was about what to expect at CAKE, the first round of the new Chicago show. I’m not able to remember many of the details about CAKE, besides being moved to the side near the bathrooms and Box Brown being So Mad about it. I remember push-up contests, discovering some exciting new work and being surrounded by so many wonderful comics people. I love you, comics people. Barry Matthews of Secret Acres had a moustache, I learned a lot about Prince, and I made the decision to formalize my distribution/publishing efforts as Czap Books. I told one or two people about this.



June was also when the local design and music communities come together for the always impressive Weapons of Mass Creation Fest. Of the significant moments I can remember of that day, one was meeting Sean Clark. He’d just been drafted into Two Hand Fools as the bassist to replace the deposed Molly, a situation I was admittedly bummed about. Sean was extremely nice and complimentary though, and fine company to share some Happy Dog with. After lunch, we were hanging around outside the venue and could hear these strange voice alterations come belting from inside. I decided to check it out and was introduced to Hop Along, whose song “Tibetan Pop Stars” dominated a large portion of my year’s listening time and is looking like a fitting candidate to join my list of Favorite Songs of All Time. Now that’s I’ve finally gotten around to listening to the rest of that record, Get Disowned, I am really captivated by this band. It’s a really fascinating album. (I also bought Maryn Jones’ tape Gift, which became my soundtrack for eating dinner in my library, reading comics. Love love this tape.)


Since I was in the neighborhood, I made sure to catch up with John G. I’d been wanting to move out of my strictly temporary Willoughby Hills apartment and relocate as close to downtown as possible since before I’d resigned my lease for the first time not quite a year prior. Although it was looking like I wouldn’t find a place, or even have the time to really look, I hadn’t signed up for a third year at Pine Ridge just yet. So the situation was all lined up for John offering me the vacant place above him. It was a no-brainer, and we headed up the street to meet the landlord who was taking down an exhibition a block away.


There were some hiccups along the way, but within a month I was living in Cleveland proper again, for the first time since 2004. Being a carless college student, trips to the west side had always been extremely limited, so in this new age of freedom, it felt like I was moving to an entirely new city, although of course I’d started to get to know the greatest parts over the past year.


I’d like to keep a diary someday, but in the meantime, the best I have is the private section of my website where I upload various images I need urls for.





NEW STORE
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Announcing our new online store, where you can buy comics from myself, Liz Suburbia, Matt Czap, the PUPPYTEETH anthology and more to come. Woo!




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State of the Encyclopedia – Spring Slam ’12
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Ladies,


Kevin Czap at CAKE


Here’s the scoop numero uno – I’m going to be at CAKE in sunny Chicago this weekend. This exciting first-time event is open to the public and stacked with an all-star roster. Looking forward to seeing you there.


Kevin Czap Need More


Even more reason to be there is because I forced myself to make a brand new, 12 page mini comic which I called “Need More.” It’s about Tumblr (kind of) so it’s sure to be a hit with the kids, especially since it’s got a shiny color cover. The folks at CAKE were super nice and featured the info on their blog. I will also have all 6 months worth of Trigger, which includes a brand new one to debut at the show as well. The deal will be, the brand new one, which looks like this:


Kevin Czap Trigger 6


will be free to everyone, and then back-issue bundles will be a dollar each. So that’s issues 1, 2 and 3 for a buck and/or 4 and 5 (plus #6 as well, of course) for another buck. And then we’ll also have the rest of the peanut gallery, including Birthday Surprise, PUPPYTEETH 2, “Waffle,” all the Liz Suburbia stuff and Matt Czap’s “Mia Protasi.” Lots to choose from!


NUMERO CINCO


Did you know I’ve got a new webcomic? What O’Malley said was true, everything changes when you’re drawing a book. Gotta keep workin’


There’s probably more to talk about but I can’t remember. This is all the important stuff right here.


Oh yeah, PUPPYTEETH 3 is coming soon. As is a webstore and other site updates.


Kevin Czap PUPPYTEETH 3




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Dispatch Dispatch (State of the Encyclopedia)
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Five good reasons


Hey y’all,


Been a non-stop busy year and I am loving it so much. Miss getting on this old blog, though. Haven’t even had much/any time to write for the Comix Cube. Thankfully, I’ve got some good reasons why.



PROJECT: BALLAD


Kevin Czap Michael Peterson Project Ballad


The biggest reason my internet presence has dwindled is I’ve been busting buns getting ready to launch Project: Ballad. A collaboration with writer and critic Michael Peterson, Project: Ballad is a new long-form webcomic that I’ve taken to thinking of as a modern day Chronicles of Narnia with several dashes of The Wizard thrown in for kick. Michael and I have been developing this project for over a year together (and he on his own for much longer), beginning the process not long after I finished Spoilers at the end of 2010.


Kevin Czap Michael Peterson Project Ballad


I’m trying a lot of new things with this one – first serious collaboration, first time really working on a schedule, really putting my color skills to the test. I think it will be a good time. For the first two weeks, we’ll update every weekday, so tell your friends. After the prologue, we’ll settle into three day week kind of thing.


 


SPACE


SPACE table map


Speaking of Spoilers, my old labor of love got some recognition recently, earning a SPACE Prize in the webcomics category. Really honored to receive the award in Columbus this weekend. I don’t know my table number, but it’ll be either 51 or 53, which you can find on this map, borrowed from friend and table neighbor Rafer Roberts (he’s the table marked in red). Keeping me company will be best dudes Jessi Zabarsky and Eric Kubli.


Kevin Czap Michael Peterson Project Ballad


I’ll have promo cards for Project Ballad, printed up by the fine people at Jak Prints, as well as my brand new collection of comics Birthday Surprise, more on that in a moment. Also, on Saturday, I’ve been asked to be on a panel about webcomics. This will be my first panel and I hope I am able to translate my many thoughts on webcomics into something that is useful to attendees. Also excited to hear the other panelists’ perspectives – the history of webcomics is one of a thousand faces, with so many different paths and entry points. Should be fun! I hope that in this day and age, having the talk recorded is a given, but we’ll see.

Here’s the info on the panel, which will be in the Panel Room:

4:00 PM WebcomicsJoin webcomics creators Doug Hufford & Todd Beistel(Yuri Gypsy Hunter), Justin Heins & Ryan Tackett (Double Clicked Comics), Frank Cvetkovic (Punch-Up), Eric Adams( Lackluster World), Kevin Czapiewski (Spoilers) and Sara Lindo (Carl Finds Love) as they share their experiences.


 


Birthday Surprise


Kevin Czap Birthday Surprise


After I finished Spoilers, having been recently visited by the Ghost of Comics Future, I made a pact with myself to change my ways and use every spare moment of my life working on comics. So throughout 2011 I just worked on a bunch of smaller stuff. Now I’ve collected all the bits and pieces and published them in a full color volume called Birthday Surprise! I debuted the book at the Chicago Zine Fest, and if you’re in the area, you can pick up a copy from Quimby’s. Includes some work never before published, including a new short I did called “Blonde Cake.”


Kevin Czap Blonde Cake


I’m working on setting up a new online store so that you can buy a copy, but in the meantime, come see me at a show! You can see my schedule in the righthand sidebar. If you’re not able to make it to SPACE, I hope you’ll come stop by at TCAF, which is looking like it will be every bit the Comix Nirvana it was last year. Can’t wait!


 


Trigger


Kevin Czap Trigger


Since I’ve started to really focus on drawing Project: Ballad, the amount of time I have to do a bunch of minis and shorts has diminished. At the same time, I’ve started to become more involved with the DIY scene here in Cleveland, which is full of great fucking bands like Signals Midwest, Two Hand Fools, Worship This!, All Dinosaurs, Harvey Pekar, Vince Roy, The Fucking Cops, Northwestern, etc. etc. Even though I’m not a musician, I wanted to give something back, so my project for this year is to do a monthly micro-comic which I hand out at shows. I ended up calling this thing Trigger, and it’s been eye-opening in terms of expanding my mindset beyond the strictly-comics scene.


As convention season starts up, I’m going to be taking Trigger on the road with me, selling bundles of the back issues ($1 for 3 minis) and giving away the current one or two for free. Come grab one!


 


Ridgemont/Two Hand Fools


Ridgemont Two Hand Fools split Kevin Czap


Speaking of the Cleveland scene, my buddies in Two Hand Fools (seriously, one of my favorite bands – their newest EP “Believeland” is so good, not to mention their full length House Parts) asked me to do the art for their upcoming split with Boston band Ridgemont. Here’s what I came up with. Seriously, this is like a dream come true. I basically got my start as a designer by making inserts for mix CDs. Couldn’t be more amped. (I also did a tour poster for them)


Ridgemont Two Hand Fools split Kevin Czap


The record should be available soon from Mindless Records.


 


District Comics


District Comics


In September, I’ll have 7 pages (written by Chad Lambert) in this book, District Comics, being published by Fulcrum. The anthology is sort of a comics history of Washington DC, my hometown (sort of), so I’m looking forward to this one.


Kevin Czap District Comics


 


Anything Else?



I was in a music video.


Aside from that, we’re working on the third PUPPYTEETH which should be debuting at SPX. There will be more news on that in the coming months.


So yeah, even though I haven’t been blogging so much, don’t think I’ve been sittin pretty. Check out Project: Ballad, tell us what you think in the forums, come see me at a show near you.


Miss you guys, take care of yourselves.


<3





Chicago Zine Fest 2012
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by Kevin Czap

Chicago Zine Fest 2012


Aloha my dear friends. It’s convention season again, which as far as this year is looking, basically means from now until 2013 I will be going to comics shows. I did miss the excitement in the two months I had off. One of the goals I had made for myself last year was to expand the range of shows I exhibited at, with a focus on the more indie-aimed shows. So in this spirit, the first show of the year is the Chicago Zine Fest, an amazing exhibition celebrating the aspects of this game that mean the most to me – self publishing and Doing It Yourself.



*Flashback* When my older brother started bringing Bay Area pop punk CDs and zines home from high school, it totally changed the trajectory of our lives. The particular zines he exposed me to were all funny, personal works that borrowed from the conventions of fanzines and minicomics. At the time, there wasn’t really any separation between the two in my mind – it seemed clear that any zine worth its salt had comics, or at least some kind of drawing, in them (I know better now, but I think I’ve instilled a visual bias over the years that I might be blind to now and then [pun intended]).


Anyway, I remember a few years later traveling into DC to check out a zine fair. Since those days, zines and zinesters have been The Coolest to me. My idealization of everything one should strive to be. As I gave more and more of my body and soul over to comics, this love of the zinester translated to an undying admiration of self-publishing in comics.


All this is relevant in the context it provides so that you can understand how thrilled I was to stroll up to Chicago a few weekends ago. It was the first time I’ve driven west for a show, and the first time I’ve ever been to Chi town, so the whole experience was pretty invigorating before the show even got started. Of course, the show itself, spread across two days, ended up being one of those Times of Your Life. So much amazing stuff put up by such passionate folks, with some of the best company. Mad kudos to the hardworking show organizers, this will be one that I remember for a long, long time.


Chicago Zine Fest 2012


Unlike other comics shows I’ve been to, the Zine Fest was split in such a way that the majority of the programming was held on Saturday and we exhibited on Sunday only. This had the obvious benefit of not forcing the zinesters to choose between manning their table to make a buck or have their minds blown by the stellar readings and other events. Seriously, from noon til midnight, I was in DIY heaven. Most of the day was devoted to readings (including a Youth Reading featuring a bunch of teens and preteens too precious for words), great for the audience but also a great tactic for exhibitors because afterwards my list of tables to check out had grown several times longer. There was a lot of great writing to hear, the funnier stuff tending to stick in my mind a bit longer. Art Noose, Sarah Morean and Jim Joyce really made lasting impressions (sooo funny, super bummed I couldn’t find Jim the next day), as did Mia Beatrice, one of the younger zinesters who presented a reading from her fantastic “The Ke$ha Complex” (seriously, I think everyone in the room [the back room of the Boring Store] had the same expression on our faces, resembling that guy from the Maxell commercials).


Without diminishing any other pleasure from the day, the real highlight from Saturday was the panel discussion among Christy Road, Mimi Thi Nguyen and Anne Elizabeth Moore concerning Gender, Race and Sexuality. I don’t mean to condemn anyone in comics when I say that one of the nice things about a zine show is that the level of political engagement is higher, more at the forefront. Whereas comics, as an artistic medium, is more neutral ground, there’s a stronger association between zines and progressive ideologies. As someone who shares such beliefs, it’s enriching to be in the company of like-minded individuals. Particularly when they are as fucking intelligent and on point as these three folks were in the talk. Some of the more resonant areas they went over were discussions about how subcultural signifiers can’t be taken for granted as shorthand for one unifying concept – for instance, just because someone is a punk or a zinester or whatever, it doesn’t mean they’re a feminist, an anarchist or anything else. Also, there were the grim reminders that the world of publishing still only caters to a narrow spectrum, and the best ways to have your voice heard is to either self-publish (though this is a relatively small lever) or work with people who really understand and and support you to put the work out, and who stand by it.


Chicago Zine Fest 2012


Sunday, we hit the tables. There was so so much to take in. Since so much of the show was poetry, prose or other printed matter, you feel a bit of a disadvantage since each table requires more investment from you, even while you’re trying to do a really quick whirlwind through. This is another reason the readings the day before were so great – they gave a taste of what was available. As I said above, I’m trained to seek out the visually interesting, so that helped me be a little speedier, but there’s still slight pangs of guilt that I didn’t get to read everything there. Anyway, here’s what I walked away with:


The Haul


Note: I haven’t really had time to read any of these, so what follows will be brief.


Chicago Zine Fest 2012


Ink Fight, Ruby Thorkelson I picked this up because it was big, colorful and looked unique. Inside are a bunch of brushy comics drawings that cover each page.


Full Circle, Paul Walker A person I’m assuming was Paul came by before the zine fest wrapped up and gave this comic to me. Super appreciate it, Paul, thanks!


Simple Routines volume 1, JP Coovert My good buddy Stephen Floyd (who I met when his band Mallwalkers came to play Cleveland a few months ago) was also at Zine Fest, representing his publishing outfit One Percent Press. It was great to catch up with him and discover we both had a deep love for the entire catalogue of Dischord Records (Fucking Black Eyes!!!). Anyway, in an effort to get the upper hand over me and make me feel like a jerk, he gave me, gave me, just about everything from his table. What a nice guy. If you’re in Buffalo, hug him. Anyway, one of his partners in One Percent is JP Coovert, so I got a lot of his stuff, including this collection of his autobio strips. Looking forward to digging into it!


Cold Lovers – Self-titled — This guy spilled coffee on a copy of “Waffle” and so he gave me this tape in return.


La Primavera, Alexis Frederick-Frost Another book from One Percent Press. It’s about bikes, so I might have some weird Freudian issues when I read it. We’ll see.


Feeling Words: A Pocket Zine of Emotions, Teresa Cheng — This little zine is filled with beautiful patterns, so like a magpie, I snatched it up.


State Violence – Self-titled — DC hardcore, rah. Picked this up from Izzy Jarvis‘ table for her distro Brood X.


An Unfamiliar Path, Brian and Roger Boss Got this in a trade.


xXXXx: Straight Edge Erotic Fiction, Art Noose — I know Art Noose as a staple of the Pittsburgh scene, so I knew that I had to hit up her table. Especially after her amazing reading the night before about her quest to find a baby daddy (spoiler: the very pregnant zinester was clearly successful in the end). Anyway, I saw this and I mean, come on. How could I resist?


The East Village Inky #49 Cool looking zine, handwritten, filled with drawings.


???, Christopher Green This is a neat little mini comic.


Chicago Zine Fest 2012


Hoax #5 and 6, ed. by Rachel and Sari — I’ve been following the tumblr for this fucking kickass feminist zine for a couple of months, so I was so excited to see they’d be at the Zine Fest. I got the two most recent issues, bursting with what I’m sure are intellectually challenging and righteous content. I recommend everyone to at least check out their site – this is important stuff (they’re also always seeking contributions in the form of writing, comics, whatever).


The Ke$ha Complex, Mia Beatrice — I mentioned this great zine earlier. Sharp, articulate and funny, this zine examining the effect of pop music on contemporary teens is really amazing. Way impressive and strong incentive to pay attention to this young zinester.


Lady Bits, #1, Sarah Morean — A smart zine focused on girl talk. Features a bunch of essays where Morean dishes on various aspects of her life experience as a woman. Super smart and insightful, Morean is a great writer, and this is a really cool project that I hope continues to expand. And it’s printed on this shimmery, opalescent paper…


A Painting in 31 Marks, 5X7, Nick Butcher, Nadine Nakanishi — Got this from the table of publisher 5X7, who were selling a bunch of these gorgeously designed art books. There were a whole bunch that I really wanted to get – I think I ended up choosing this one because it struck me as an interesting take on comics, documenting the creation of a painting strokes at a time.


Double Yellow Lines, Hope Larson, JP Coovert — Another from One Percent, this mini is a split that features work by Hope Larson and JP Coovert, both having to do with the road in some way. The Hope Larson comic is one I’ve loved for a long time from her website, where the character finds a dying rabbit on the side of the road. Haunting.


The Manifesti of Radical Literature, Anne Elizabeth Moore — A bomb for the mainstream.


Self Portraits: Folio One, Cathy G. Johnson Great little zine featuring self portraits of Johnson in various absurd or otherwise funny situations. The crown of this mini is the set of new drawings that make up the Crying Series, which show the artist burying her face in despair while sunning at a resort, or surrounded by yipping puppies. Love it.


Demongun #1, 6, 7, Bernie McGovern These are really really cool comics – innovative, playful and experimental. Y’all should definitely check these out.


“This Tactile Earth,” Patrick Kyle — Grab Patrick Kyle’s stuff when you can.


Area Chicago #11 A community-focused, community made paper. Very cool.


Chicago Zine Fest 2012


Press Start,and Fight!, JP Coovert — JP Coovert falls in a video game! Looks like fun.


Circles Cycles Circuits, Dunja Jankovic I had no idea who this was by when I found it at Quimby’s, but the visuals were so powerful it was an easy decision to buy it. This kind of collage-heavy comics making really appeals to me right now, and here it’s handled really well. When I found out later this was by Dunja, I was surprised I hadn’t realized earlier. Her work is great, and I’m very happy to have more of it. (Note: this comes with a kitten mask!)


Mad Licks #2, 3, ed. by Sandra Lee Ernsberger and Francesca Thompson — Free zines from the Silver Tongue group at Columbia College, the host of Zine Fest. Silver Tongue members gave the first reading of the event, and I recognize at least one name in the third issue.


A Mad Celebration of Nothing At All, Jeffrey S. Chapman (based on story by J. Erin Sweeney) — Some interesting comics-ing in here.


The Edge, Alfred Planco If I understand the bit of text at the beginning, this zine is a bit of found poetry about marine life. Beautiful imagery.


Word on the Street: DC Sidewalks 2009-2011 Photos of cement drawings around DC. Just one of those things that fills me with a peaceful feeling, remembering my days in the capital.


Motor City Kitty #17, Bri Cleveland what! I already had this issue it turns out, but it’s a good one so no complaints. Bri and I have run into each other around town a few times, but I think this was the first time we ever officially met. Definitely inspiring to have someone in this city who’s been making zines for so long.


The Yage Letters, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg — My buddy let me borrow this book – reading Naked Lunch was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had with art, and I’d recently watched a doc on Burroughs, so my appreciation for his work was high in my mind. I’ve just read a few pages so far but it’s pretty great.


Mickey Comics #1, Walt Disney Jr. (Brendan Wells) &mdash My other purchase from Quimby’s. I really like the simple and weird quality of this comic.






Lovefest: Teenage Mutants
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by Kevin Czap


As I slowly get myself back into the habit of doing this Cube thing, I wanna talk about kids. I really love reading, watching and hearing about the life stories of teenagers. There’s something excruciatingly sentimental (in a good way) about this particular age where human beings are caught up with negotiating their place in this bizarre animal society we’ve constructed around ourselves. I have such a strong place in my heart for the bildungsroman – the truer the better. This all springs to mind because I’ve been in the process of collecting Bill Scienkiewicz’ mid-80s run on The New Mutants. These stories combine the wildness and beauty of The Sink’s drawing, his layouts, and his punky character designs with Chris Claremont’s melodramatic method acting and eagerness to expand the palette of representation in mainstream American comics. All to show us a bunch of kids trying to figure out who they are and what they’re supposed to do.


New Mutants


I can’t quite pinpoint the reason I started hunting these down, but it’s largely to do with my fascination with Sienkiewicz’ work. I tracked down both issues of Big Numbers, got Stray Toasters and yet I don’t have much interest in his Moon Knight stuff. I grew up an X-Men kid, and was always more intrigued by the younger, new characters. At the time that would have been Generation X, but following that trend eventually led me back to the New Mutants (I really didn’t have much interest in X-Force). In many ways, the New Mutants came to embody how, if at all, these X-Men comics should be done – namely, don’t just retread the same shit over and over again for decades. Of course, that’s kind of what ended up happening anyway, but in the first iteration there was something fresh. The reiteration of the original Kirby concepts (super-powered teenagers in school) is handled in a different enough way while still paying tribute to the roots. The story goes that the intended name for the X-Men comic was simply The Mutants, and I heard a rumor at some point that Kirby had wanted to make the costumes black and white, rather than blue and yellow, which is met somewhere in the middle by the kids’ uniforms. (I’ve never been able to substantiate this though. Anybody else heard this?). This all creates the impression for me that Claremont and McLoed (the team’s co-creator) went about the project with the appropriate degree of care and thought. Most importantly, it’s a comic that features original stories with original characters (yes, Xavier and Magneto are hanging around from the old days, but by and large, Claremont is working with his own creations).


New Mutants


Major kudos to Claremont for making the world of mutants so diverse. The team he and Bob McLoed put together was majority female, with backgrounds in Scotland, Brazil, Russia, Greece, Vietnam, the Cheyenne people and the hills of Kentucky. Danielle Moonstar has become one of my favorite comics characters over time, acting as leader of the New Mutants here, even while recovering from severe injuries. This leads me to another aspect that I admire so much about these stories – the characters are fragile, unsure, self-conscious… you know, human. There’s some amount of hormones and eye-candy flying around, which is to be expected since we’re dealing with puberty here, but it’s all internal – Sienkiewicz’ style is raw and weird, more interested in showing the physicality of a body than in any kind of titillation.


New Mutants

New Mutants


The stories themselves are intriguing and psychologically focused, which feels right to me given the age of the protagonists. I know for myself, that time felt like the darkest period of my life. The issues I have at the moment span the Demon Bear fight, the Cloak and Dagger cross-over, the battle for Legion’s mind and then a couple other issues that I haven’t really gotten to read yet, I think they’re about trying to get Karma back. In so many of these we’re dealing with wars being fought in the mind or within one’s own body. Again, perfect territory for teenagers to explore. But really, my favorite parts are when the kids are interacting with each other. Of particular note is the big sleepover issue, which devotes most of its pages to the experience of being a teenage girl in the 80s (Michael Jackson posters!). Or what about that time when Professor X lectures Sam Guthrie about his punk rock outfit? That Lila Cheney shirt is on my list of shirts to make when I get myself a silkscreening kit.


New Mutants


The other aspect that fascinates me about these comics is their role as historical artefacts. I went through a bit of an 80s phase not too long ago, watching all the Brat Pack movies (St. Elmo’s Fire was pretty great and Less Than Zero is almost too insane to believe, in terms of opulence) and digging into David Bowie’s Let’s Dance. This kind of cocaine dusted era was always something I dismissed, feeling pretty repulsed by everything it stood for and the parts being emulated during its comeback. The other side of things, the punk and hardcore, anti-aesthetic side interests me much more. And yet there’s something interesting about the phony plastic side as well. There’s a bit of realness in there somewhere. In terms of the comics, I mean, this was a watershed time period, it’s hard to argue against that. Sienkiewicz seems to embody so much of that energy and power, even though he probably wasn’t the most revolutionary creator in terms of politics at the time. What he brings to New Mutants is a mixture of the jazzy airbrush and the rough-cut safety-pinned seriousness of the time.


New Mutants


I have this idea in my head of the 80s and, by extension, early 90s as almost the last time that real anti-consumerist and radical ideas had any kind of presence in a mainstream way. The New Mutants represent this to me in a small way. Even more so, perhaps, is their 90s retread, Generation X. Whereas Sienkiewicz turned up the weirdo for his run on the teen mutants, the cast of Generation X were purposefully gross and outcast, a reflection of their namesake. Bachalo, like Sienkiewicz, has(had) a style that was particularly suited to depicting the awkward state of adolescence. And yet… this was the era of the shopping mall. These kids are alienated and out of place, but at the same time, there’s less distance between them and consumer culture. Jonothan Starsmore may be dark, brooding and have half of his face blown off, but he’s still a pretty sexy kid, in that Oasis sort of way. The characters in this book are a mix of mallrats, goths, surfers and gangstas, caught in the middle of a cultural shift. There also feels like more of a top-down approach to this book – as if the name wasn’t trying hard enough for you, it’s hard to escape the knowledge that this is a second take on the New Mutants concept, with about half the originality. We even have Sam Guthrie’s younger sister on the team, worrying herself over the same kind of issues Sam did back in the day. As fondly as I feel towards these kids, I have to concede that the whole thing is not as pure as its predecessor (if purity is something we can even mention when talking about corporate super heroes).


New Mutants


We see this trend continue with the next iteration of the New Mutants in the early Aughts. All the teenagers are pretty and visually-acceptable, drawn in a glossy Amerimanga style. This version of the young X-Men (and really, the fact the there’s another version of young X-Men kind of goes against what I liked about them in the first place) is similar to Degrassi High: The Next Generation. So much of the grittiness and doofy awkwardness has been bleached out, replaced by high production values and a surface sheen (not to mention all the grown-up kids from the previous series just happen to still be hanging around). Of course, this is all a reflection of the time it was made in as well. It’s probably clear where my biases and tastes lay. I did appreciate Morrison’s take on the concept in New X-Men, again giving us a range of weird, well-adjusted or grotesque mutants which felt truer to life than any take on the theme since. Unfortunately, like most of the great ideas from his run, these new characters were either discarded or cleaned up after Morrison left (I guess the pale, maladjusted Quentin Quire is a lot prettier these days, drawn by Chris Bachalo, no less).


Generation X


These comics feel distinctly different from almost any other iteration of the X-Men. Even though the New Mutants are ultimately derivative of Kirby’s original work in terms of central concept, Claremont’s execution is worlds apart. This radical change in focus is enough to keep the book fresh, since with each reiteration of the same thing, we see the concept lose power the farther it moves away from its source. The real saving grace of this books, and why I’m even tracking them down, however, is the art. In the issues before and after I can’t stand to read anything but the Sienkiewicz run. Bill Sienkiewicz on New Mutants takes the cake for me, a bunch of fresh and at times unsettling stories that have a group of believable teenagers at their heart.


New Mutants




images by Bill Sienkiewicz, Glynis Oliver, Tom Orzenchowski, L. Lois Buhalis, Chris Bachalo, Mark Buckingham, Richard Starkings and Brian Buccellato.






What It Is – 2011
manwithjewels
by Kevin Czap

While we’re talking about lists, perhaps it’s time to throw my own hat in this ring.


I had a really fabulous year in 2011, thanks in no small part to the amazing comics landscape I found myself increasingly mired in. It can be exhausting trying to keep up, to the point where it’s hard to breathe. That’s when you remind yourself that you don’t need to keep up with anything, this is your damn life and whatever happens in it is all she wrote. As I’ve said a few times before in this column, I’d like to champion the creation of one’s own personal canons, one’s own list of definitive works and so forth. So, in that spirit, here is a list of the works released in the past 12 months that made a significant impression on me.



I read a lot of great material, pretty much all of it I’ve mentioned in some capacity in my con reports or reviews. There were a few, though, that made my hat launch straight up off of my head and spin several times in a counterclockwise direction (don’t even get me started on what my bowtie was doing). In no particular order:


“With Love, from Statler and Waldorf and Jess”


— Jess Wheelock


Jess Wheelock, Statler and Waldorf and Jess


Ok, up front: this first appeared in an anthology that I co-edited and sell. Jess is also a dear friend of mine. She’s also one of my favorite artists, one of the smartest people I know, and I couldn’t be more excited about her forays into comics. This strip is a follow up to one she did for the first issue of PUPPYTEETH which introduces a cartoon Jess to the famed Muppet hecklers Statler and Waldorf. The two geezers get philosophical as they share with Jess their advice on humor and survival. This first one, simply titled “Statler and Waldorf and Jess,” represents the first steps into exploring this concept, combining Jess’ inner musings with her lovingly distorted drawing and screen captures of Muppet silliness.


The second installment, which I’m focusing on here, finds her getting the hang of this formula and when Jess figures something out, she really makes it sing. Again she brings out Statler and Waldorf and Jess to discuss that hairiest of topics — love. We have a number of subtle additions to the set up here that are really pretty amazing. Most apparent is the use of full color, relegated to the panels of Muppet stills. The color and sharpness of the photographs creates a nice counterpoint to the black and white line drawings that the three hecklers remain. The screen captures are more related to the story this time around as well, focusing on bits skewering romance. In fact, the choice of panel photos allows the Muppets portrayed to assume characters in the comic, as it’s implied that the foxy gentleman here represents Statler in his youth.


The heart of the comic lies in the parable on love that Jess shares with us. The way that she tells it — switching narration between Waldorf, an omniscient sort of narrator that we understand to be Jess the writer, and the silent cartoon Jess who communicates with hand written signs — is suited beautifully to telling this kind of story. It’s funny, cute, poignant and wise. As I mentioned above, this is in PUPPYTEETH issue 2, but lest you think I’m trying to get your money in some underhanded manner, I’ll let you know you can read this comic in its entirety for free on Jess’ website.


“Eat or Be Meatball”


— Liz Suburbia


Liz Suburbia, Eat or Be Meatball


You guys are hip to Liz Suburbia by now, right? Those who read my haul report for SPX 2011 might remember me squawking about this comic. I was and continue to be floored by it, so yeah, it’s on this list. Here’s a bit of what I said about it at the time: “‘Eat or Be Meatball’ lays out the premise in a flash, Liz and her husband have been convicted of an unforgivable crime and are sentenced to relive their lives from the start. Before we really know what’s happening, we find ourselves back in the late 1980s with Baby Liz, fellow prisoners along with Adult Liz acting as the disembodied narrator. It’s a lot like the final scene of Being John Malkovich, where John Cusack is trapped forever behind the eyes of a child. Liz, however, has direct agency over her reverted state, but in order to not arouse suspicion, she’s helpless in reconnecting with the love of her life. And so she needs to wait, reliving the painful teenage years of an army brat all over again. Everything here is beautiful, and she really is pushing her talents far beyond we’ve ever seen before from her.”


Reading through it again, wow, it’s such an emotional force (I’m willing to accept accusations that I’m some emo baby or whatever). The cover alone can make you take a step back. Since reading it in September, I’m pretty sure I’ve pushed this one on every comics reader I’ve come in contact with. I think if you email Liz you can find a way to get one of these for yourself, or if you see me at a show sometime, I’m bound to have some copies to peddle. Really exciting stuff.


Open Country #1


— Michael DeForge


Michael DeForge, Open Country


One of those comics that just hits you with the weight of it all. Struck me as being an excellent combination of subject matter, style and form. I think DeForge is mining really deep territory with this one, abandoning the more horrific tropes he’s worked with in the recent past and focusing more on the body. Like with Liz Suburbia’s “Eat or Be Meatball,” Open Country a great combo of first-rate drawing and an engaging premise. I keep thinking of it as speculative fiction that comes from an honest place. The body has long been subject and material for modern artists, it is all too plausible that, were astral projection physically possible, this is exactly how it would look as an art form. But as fascinating as the these larger philisophical/political implications are, DeForge also nails the personal characterizations of the young, insecure protagonists.


Here’s what I’ve said about this in this recent past: “I continue to have a very strong reaction to this series – it’s depiction of young artist types strikes really close to home and I can’t help but feel a deep fondness for them. More importantly though, I’m really intrigued by the ideas DeForge is putting forward about our relation to the body. By giving these characters the task of visually reconstructing their bodies, he gives us insight into whatever existential crises these kids might be going through. By placing it all within the context of art, DeForge puts a political spin on the ball, in my opinion (even if the artists in the comic are as far as we can tell fairly apolitical). Quite excited to follow this one forward, if only to see how the psychic avatar portion resolves itself.”


“That Night in June”


— Emily Carroll


Emily Carroll, That Night in June


I wrote in-depth about this here. Really a stand out work this year, and a shame that it might be lost to the sands of time. It’s perhaps fitting, given the ephemeral nature of the nature. It’s also hard seeing this mass-produced, and printing them all together would be like removing a leg. This is one of the best works that Carroll has done, and that alone secures it a place on anyone’s “Best Of…” list.


I Will Bite You and Other Stories


— Joseph Lambert


Joseph Lambert, I Will Bite You


I’ve shown a lot of love for Joe Lambert‘s work and this book in particular here on the Cube. Reading this was definitely one of the comics highlights of my year, so it’s inclusion is a no brainer. Particularly the short “Too Far,” Lambert’s work collected here flipped some kind of switch in my head, solidifying and adding depth to the ways I think about making comics.


Homestuck


— Andrew Hussie, et al


Andrew Hussie, Homestuck


The appearance of Andrew Hussie‘s ongoing epic here shouldn’t be a surprise, as I’ve been shouting about the significance of Homestuck for some time now. In fact, even though the comic began in April of 2009, I don’t think I started to read it until the very beginning of 2011. Personal significance aside, 2011 was an amazing year for Homestuck – beginning with Jade finally prototyping her sprite to devastating results (this will mean nothing to you if you haven’t read). More generally, we saw a whole lot of ground get covered, God tiers popped up all over the place, several of the more prominent figures concluded major character arcs, games were changed left and right, jaws were dropped, so many people dressed up as their favorite character, the ultimate villain of the series was revealed, etc. etc. By the end of the year, Hussie put a close to the previous phase of what the comic had been and ushered his devoted readers into the endgame.


For those who give over to Homestuck, it is one of the most engaging and riveting narratives being told today, constructed by someone with the mind of a chess master. It’s funny (really funny if you share this particular sense of humor), surprising, moving and the twists are all maddeningly obvious only in hindsight. On top of everything, I believe Hussie continues to stride through uncharted territory with his use of the web as a publishing format. I’ll direct you again to the post I did on Homestuck‘s summer intermission, which baited and overwhelmed our expectations time and time again. It’s also worth noting the astonishing fan community which continues to support this entirely independent effort. One can’t help but admire the insane discipline it takes for Andrew to update this beast several times a day on a near-daily basis. At the same time, it’s hard to envy his being faced with overblown fan outrage regardless of what story decision he makes.


But that’s sort of what it’s like on the internet, the negatives are magnified to the detriment of the positives. It feels at times that the fan culture surrounding this comic tends to overshadow this work itself, obscuring the brilliant aspects from would-be readers who are turned off by the appearances that it’s another one of those “animes.” Don’t front, I know you love Game of Thrones, Gilmore Girls, Parks & Recreation and 30 Rock — there’s no reason you should think you’re better than Homestuck. It’s still a ways off from being finished, and I won’t be able entirely to gauge my thoughts on the whole, but what we’ve seen so far, especially in 2011, is really head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.


“2101″


— Jason Overby


Jason Overby, 2101


I’ve slowly been coming around to Jason Overby through the past year, to the point where now I consider him one of my favorite artists. His groundbreaking comic “2101″ was a huge part of this warming. A true visual poem, the content of “2101″ is accessed through the experience of reading it and can’t be summed up easily. I can try to maintain a detatched tone while describing this comic, but what’s the point? When I think about what Overby’s done here — a visually brutal assemblage-photo comic — I get so excited about the possibilities of the medium. Cobbled together out of ripped up comics, paper towel, tape, acetate, stamp letters, his own body and various other materials, “2101″ breaks away from the traditionally flat plane of comics. Even while the surfaces are marked with a continuing narrative text about a self-described organic machine reflecting on his wife and their offspring (in the past tense), the shape, shadow and texture of the photographed objects forms a visceral meaning. This is comics, it’s words and pictures, taken to place that is largely uninhabited for whatever reason. This is dense, beautiful work that asks more of the reader than cartooned images tend to. To engage with it is to be rewarded with a richer idea of what this whole comics thing is about, I believe. This is work that stays with you, formulates in your brain like a chemical. Comics that doesn’t shy away from embracing its nature as art and the histories such a designation carries with it.




I’d like to also give shout outs to Secret Acres, Koyama Press and Adhouse Books, a kind of holy trinity in boutique publishing who really helped to transform the landscape of comics this past year. Also on the rise is Blank Slate Books in the UK. And really, big ups to Box Brown and Retrofit Comics, am I right? What a fantastic achievement there. Sparkplug and Dylan Williams, where would we all be without you, in some way or another. And of course, the self-publishers, shine on.






BCGF Haul Reviews Part 5 (Final)
manwithjewels
by Kevin Czap


The bottom of the pile! Wow, that’s a lot of comics. Ok, onward.



Ethan Rilly


Pope Hats #1, Ethan Rilly — Pretty interesting reading this after the second issue, the few years in between really making themselves known. Even with the ghost in this one, the story is missing the bizarre charm and absurdity that I liked so much in #2. Thinking about this review makes me feel a little sad, because I know that I can’t give Pope Hats #1 a fair shake. I like it just fine, but because of my reading order, I can’t help but see it as a pilot episode to a much better series. Rilly has a good sense of humor, and this issue has some great lines (“…listen, I’m gonna puke in a Boston accent…”). Ultimately, as a reader I’m doomed by hindsight. This guy has a lot of charm but, as they say, It Gets Better.


Michel Fiffe


Zegas #1, Michel Fiffe — L reviewed this at length, and it was her take that convinced me to pick it up for myself. I really like the way this comic is constructed – the cartooning, the colors, the layouts. In the main story, I find myself much less interested in the sitcom-y work scene – the stuff with the food truck vendor resonates much more. The back up strips are great, especially the weird abstracted “Super vs Landlord” in the back and the drugs-gone-wrong “Plum.” Excited to see how this develops (I think they’re raising funds for the second issue right now). Link


Josh Bayer


Raw Power, Josh Bayer — Retrofit gets real! Well, they’ve always been real, but I’m just excited to get to Josh Bayer‘s King Size wrecking ball of a comic. Since stumbling over Bayer’s work in Secret Prison #4, he’s been a big blip on my radar of exciting shit, and thankfully his output has been consistently strong since then. So here we have Raw Power, a frenetic Dark Knight Returns riff centered around the CIA’s efforts to extinguish punk rock. Bayer opens up by paraphrasing Jello Biafra and Raymond Pettibon outlining an initiative by the Carter administration intended to undermine punk’s influence on youth culture. It then cuts to the incognito “Cat Man,” a masked vigilante who has a righteous hatred of rats, punks and the homeless. All this is tied to the powerful G. Gordon Liddy who is the called in to be the architect of the anti-punk campaign. The title of this comic describes the contents perfectly – Bayer’s art and storytelling are blunt forces that are funny and unsettling in turn.


I’m interested in how Bayer mashes up various sources to his ends, a stew of 80s comics, early west-coast punk and radical politics. Cat Man is an incrimination of Batman’s ultra-conservative bent, easily used as a tool in Liddy’s punk war (however indirectly – the character is inspired by the ficticious Liddy’s manifesto Wish Power). Liddy himself is a fascist given over to the occult forces of Raw Power (I loved the touch where Liddy declares Harvey Milk his arch-nemesis). About three fourths of the way through, the comic segues into an adaptation of an issue from the somewhat obscure New Universe title DP7. It’s fascinating by itself, but the way it adds to the overall comic is really great. Bayer seems less concerned with telling a straight comic book story, and is instead crafting a work of punk art. You get the sense that this is but one issue in a longer series, but on second reflection you realize, while that may be the case, it is complete on its own. This is a personal work that draws much of its strength from Bayer’s particular worldview. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.


Peter Lazarski


Hope Mountain Vol. 3, ed. by Mike Turzanski and Peter Lazarski — “Patterns!” Collection of full tabloid pages of visceral illustration and some comics. Hard to pick out the ones I like without listing the whole thing, practically, but I’ll say it’s got work from the likes of Pat Aulisio, Kat Fajardo, Leah Wishnia and the two editors. Not sure where these are distributed, but if you see one around pick it up for yourself.


Sophie Yanow Julien Castanie


Les 48 Heures de la Bande Dessinée de Montreal 2011, ed. by Vincent Giard — I was so excited to get this, the product of the annual gathering in Montreal. As I’ve said often enough before, I consider Montreal to be a hotbed for exceptionally exciting work and I hope to take part in the 48 Heures at some point in the future. The idea of the event is to gather a bunch of comics types who work together to put together and print this periodical by the end. So what we get is a lot of collaborative pages from the hands of Vincent Giard, Julie Delporte, Blaise Larmee, Connor Willumsen, David Turgeon, Pascal Girard, Sophie Yanow, Singeon, Matt Forsythe, Jimmy Beaulieu and more. A majority of the text is in French, but overall there seems to be a lefty political air to it, which you know, that’s a pretty cool thing. When I flip through the big newsprint pages, I can’t help but feel some of the teeming energy of the event between my fingers. That might be a romantic idealization – I’m sure there were hours of quiet, boring work – but as far as a comic goes, imparting that kind of feeling on a reader is nothing to sneeze at.


Travis Millard


Smoke Signal #11, ed. by Gabe Fowler — I feel like, in general, Smoke Signal isn’t really my thing. There’s stuff in here I like: the Julie Delporte page (which also appears in her “You Will Always Be My Cat”), the John Porcellino page, Tony Millionaire, my first interaction with Travis Millard‘s work, the Tim Hensley “Hitchcock” funnies. Overall, there’s this flat feeling that tells me that this isn’t so much my bag. That’s totally fine though! This whole BCGF experience has been helpful in me learning more about how my tastes operate – seeing what kinds of comics resonate with me more than others. This is of course one of the benefits of a diverse diet, you get a better idea of what you really respond to.


Riley Luce Carolyn Belefski M. Jacob Alvarez


[Philadelphia] City Paper, “The Comics Issue,” Dec 1 – Dec 7, ed. by Art Baxter — It’s cool that Philly’s city paper does a comics issue, but it still feels kind of ghettoized, the comics limited to four pages of the rag. Ideally, this would have been teeming with comics spread through out, with a feature story of the local comics scene (they say there’s more content on the website, but c’mahn). Of the comics here, nothing really makes a huge impression. Nice to see folks like Jo Jo Sherrow and Carolyn Belefski (who isn’t even from Philadelphia!).


And that’s it! Thanks for reading comics with me, y’all.




Images by (in order of appearance) Ethan Rilly, Michel Fiffe, Josh Bayer, Peter Lazarski, Julien Catanié and Sophie Yanow, Travis Millard, Riley Luce, Carolyn Belefski and M. Jacob Alvarez






BCGF Haul Reviews Part 4
manwithjewels
by Kevin Czap



Hey, it’s January, BCGF was a month ago, but I still have comics to review. Here we go, the end is in sight.



Box Brown

“Roussimoff,” Box BrownBrown continues this interesting biopic of Andre the Giant, constructed from a bunch of incidental fragments of the Giant’s life. that explore the day to day of his life while barely brushing out the shape of larger events. The anecdotes from the set of Princess Bride are pretty cute. Box is one of those cartoonists that I’ve started to explore a wide range of their work in a short amount of time, so his development as an artist is more apparent. Particularly the paring down and refinement of the comics – making the most out of economy of line and detail (visually and storywise). The back copy refers to this mini as being a preview of a larger work Brown’s working on, so I’m interested to see what the book will be like.


L Nichols

“Seeking the Spirit,” “Provided by the Management for Your Protection,” and “Skin, Deep: A Surprising Twist,” L. Nichols — Another conflict of interest review. I’ll say that, as a colleague, L has been a great inspiration and motivator for me pushing my own work. We share a lot of ideas about art and an enthusiastic positivity. So when I see her making such good work like this, exploring collage, color and pooling all her wider interests into comics, it takes away any excuse I might give myself not to follow my own path in this direction. Each of these minis are assembled with wide blocks of color, found objects and L’s great figure-as-wire-sculpted equation. Of particular interest to me is “Skin, Deep,” that examines sex as physical and animal, divorced from superficial ideas of beauty or worthiness. It seems to me to celebrate the Queer (adj.), and there’s nothing wrong with that, folks.


Julie Delporte

“You Will Always Be My Cat,” Julie Delporte — Love the collaged elements here, and the expression of timid exploration of sensuality. The line “but if my desire goes away, will we still be friends?” is a great one, capturing the weird space where one is navigating the physical and emotional (not a binary, one and the same thing, to different degrees) aspects of relationships. The depiction of the animal boyfriend reminds me of Inés Estrada’s “Mitocondria”, both in terms of style and concept. There’s something charming about the way the text shifts from French to English to magazine cutout, a charm that’s almost unbearable (in a good way) by her apology for the “clumsy English.” There’s a quiet sincerity to Delporte‘s work that makes me very glad she’s making it.


Lizz Hickey

“Ladies Night,” Lizz Hickey — “Excuse me sir, do you like laugh?”1 Lizz Hickey has a wildly hilarious public persona that gets under the spotlight for this collection of strips on her newlywed bliss. For the Carol fans, there’s a big section in here that intertwines some of Carol’s advice on surviving a heartbreak with Hickey’s momentarily forgetting that she’ll never be Broken Up again. The way she draws husband/cartoonist Keith Jones as bucktoothed and alternately adoring and stand-offish is great. Perhaps even more interesting is the few moments where Hickey dips towards the serious, adding another dimension to the “Lizz” character beyond her fickle love for Keith and her undying love for chips. Beware, this thing is dripping with fucking glitter. But I guess that’s what true love is like, after all. <3


Roman Muradov

“P/d indigest,” Roman MuradovRoman‘s exquisite cartooning on full display, loping line work and harmonious colors. The way it’s written adds this strange effect – kind of aloof, insistently dark – that matches the drawing style more than one might expect. It has this clipped pace that doesn’t wait up for the reader, each piece is more poetry than anything else, making heavy use of visual metaphor. Throughout it all I can’t help but hear the grumbled muttering of Roman’s professed self-loathing behind the slighty odd, jokey lines, though the comics get across more of the humor there than may be deduced from his twitter account. Make no mistake, this is a great primer for Roman’s work, whose prolificacy has already made this “early work.” Absolutely adore the “Post-eviction suite.” Muradov is an exciting talent to pay close attention to in the coming year, for those of you who may not have caught on yet.


Jesse McManus and Austin English

Spider Monkey #1, Jesse McManus and Austin English — Whenever I look at this cover my first thought is it’s some kind of Street Fighter fan comic. Out of all the former Comets Comets crew, McManus‘ work probably hews the closest to traditional cartooning. His particular blend, however, is really aggressive, forcing every element in the drawing well past any comfortable idea of consistency. At times I pick up on similarities to some of Harvey James’ wilder work, although the context here is more surreal. Interesting how the mask art portion is handled, using the black and white to strong effect. I think it was valuable for me to pick up an Austin English story drawn by another artist. Since I’ve only had quick, tangential interactions with his work before, his style tended to dominate my attention. So here, with McManus’ more “invisible” style, I have another angle to take in English’s work. Of course, I’m aware that this being a collaboration means his solo work may be quite different – still, this piece feels useful towards an understanding of the whole. Together with the work I saw at the panel discussion, I’m eager to take a closer look at more.




1. That’s a quote from The Simpsons.</p>





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