August 20, 2017

ICYMI -- Small Press Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 8/14/17 to 8/20/17

Highlighting some great small press comics criticism being published, as well as other random things that have caught my eye over the past week.


* John Seven on CRAWL SPACE by Jesse Jacobs, in which "Jacobs does a great job in walking the line between an emotionally realistic teenage drama and an abstract cautionary fable about the different things people want out of life." If you've never experienced a Jesse Jacobs book, you should correct that oversight as quickly as possible. This seems like a good place to start.

* Helen Chau Bradley reviews GETTING OUT OF HOPE by James Cadelli which she describes as "a romp, at once lighthearted and unexpectedly serious". This looks like an interesting book that was totally off of my radar. I'm also fascinated suddenly by the word "romp" and what all that actually entails. 

* Robert Kirby reviews GREEK DIARY by Glynnis Fawkes, "a work that's more vivid, immersive, and entertaining than any vacation slide show could ever be." Travel comics of this type seem to always unlock something in my brain that causes me to look around my apartment and think to myself, "I should get out more."

* Nola Pfau's dislike of FAILSAFE clearly demonstrates the idea that a negative review sometimes more fully reveals the positive aspects of the medium by pointing out how a particular work fails to deliver them. Pfau's takedown is on point and fully realized. It's also engaging as fuck.

* Lucy Bourton introduces us to the four-panel comics of PEPA PRIETO PUY that wordlessly translate haikus written by her grandfather, a fascinating concept which I would love to see more cartoonists take on if for no other reason than for the expanse it creates in the heads of the reader.

* Isaac Butler on Yeon-sik Hong's UNCOMFORTABLY UNHAPPILY. The tone of Butler's writing is all over the place in this one, but he constantly sticks ideas in here that land on their feet which add remarkable insight into Hong's cartooning. 

* Andy Oliver dives into EVERY HOUR IS SAVED by Chloe Elise Dennis, "a visual record of interviews she conducted with her grandmother." I especially admire the way Oliver deals with the nascent rawness of Dennis' talent, how he looks past its missteps and sees in them their potential. Oliver is a great flag-waver for burgeoning talent, and his critical eye is certainly one to be trusted.

* Rob Clough reviews IN-BETWEEN DAYS by Teva Harrison which he calls "bracing, powerful, and achingly honest." This review made me recall my fondness for Sharon Lintz's Pornhounds. Cancer fucking sucks, y'all.

* Just go read Carta Monir's LARA CROFT WAS MY FAMILY, and you'll understand why I put this link first.

* Alex Dueben talks to SHANNON WHEELER about his new book SH*T MY PRESIDENT SAYS and the idea of illustrating Presidential Tweets. I'm personally on the fence here, as I see a certain value in this (exploding the insanity, for instance), but I also see how this could be mildly dangerous, as if holding 45 up as an object of ridicule in some ways normalizes him and lessens the impact of the implications. Strange times bring their own set of responses, I guess.

* Alex Dueben also interviews SETH about the final chapter of Clyde Fans, "what he's working on next, and some thoughts on the film Seth's Dominion."

* Greg Hunter interviews KATIE SKELLY on the latest episode of Comic Book Decalogue.

* If you're a fan of small press comics, you probably already have seen the list of IGNATZ NOMINATIONS released this week. If not, click on the link as it will lead you to said list and a couple of comments by Heidi Macdonald.

* Kim O'Connor has three words for us: "HORNY CHRIS WARE". Here, O' Connor takes a solid gaze at Ware's representations of women in his comics, and how "he mistakes all human experience as interchangeable in a way that would only ever occur to white men." O' Connor has given us a lot to chew on here in this relatively short piece, and it's enough of a mouthful to make me second guess every time I start conceiving any aesthetic or thematic reaction I have as being "universal" and "speaking to us all".

* MUST READ OF THE MOMENT: Speaking of Kim O'Connor, once again she and Nick Hanover get together to have a DISCOURSE ABOUT DISCOURSE -- this time they focus on comics criticism. I'm certainly intrigued by Hanover's idea that the best critics demonstrate a "constant pursuit of understanding." As well, O'Connor's observation that "The spirit of real criticism requires doubt more than conviction or certainty" reframes much of my thinking in an enormously positive way.

* Andy Warner and Jackie Roche present SOCIALISM: AS AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE.

* Liel Leibovitz dives into the archives of Tablet in order to address the issue of THE ALT-RIGHT AND THE JEWS.

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