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 reviews Jessica Campbell's XTC69, where "Campbell continues her gender examinations but takes it to the world of science fiction, a genre that routinely embraces extremes in its depictions of societies and personal attitudes -- see any dystopian fiction in the last 15 years -- to create some form of fable offering well-meaning lessons in living together."
* Robin Enrico on BOOK OF DAZE by E.A. Berthea, writing "Bethea is revelatory in her ability to use the medium to directly evoke the reader's imagination and emotions."
* Greg Hunter reviews ALL THE ANSWERS by Michael Kupperman, "a brave piece of storytelling -- not only because of Kupperman's willingness to depart from humor cartooning but also because of his willingness to contemplate not being consistently or adequately loved."
* Elena Goukassian on Grant Snider's THE SHAPE OF IDEAS, "a lighthearted visual examination of the labor behind the creative process."
* Ryan C. reviews BLACKBIRD DAYS by Manuele Fior, writing "Fior excels at expressing the mature viewpoint of a sympathetic, but perhaps world-weary, observer, even his first-person narratives having a kind of resigned-to-reality tone to them that certainly doesn't communicate anything so dull and cliched as 'everything's going to be alright,' but does seem to have achieved a kind of tentative peace with the idea that 'everything's going to be what it is.'"
* Alex Hoffman on A CAT ON THE CHAIR by Heo Jiyoung, which "is initially resistant to interpretation, but the core of the comic's expression lies in how Heo Jiyoung uses the color blue and the cat."
* Sam Ombiri reviews Daniel Clowes' EIGHTBALL NO. 20: THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF DAVID BORING which, "feels like it exists in spite of a trend -- and not at the service of a trend."
* Chris Coplan on the latest iteration of the anthology from Fantagraphics, NOW #3, wherein the "sense of curation elevates the overall quality, letting standalone pieces interact with one another in the reader's brain, creating all sorts of interplay left up to the reader's imagination."
* C.P. Hoffman takes up the good fight in a piece on WWAC called COMICS JOURNALISM DESERVES MORE PRECISE AWARDS THAN THE EISNERS. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I have had some thoughts about this recently. I get the sense that Hoffman and fellow critic, Nick Hanover, may have something in the works regarding this, though. Time will tell.
* I really enjoyed this short comic by Mark Wang called I NEED YOU TO LISTEN TO MY DREAM.
* Jake Marmer on DO ANGELS NEED HAIRCUTS by Lou Reed which "brings to life a historic 1971 poetry reading, recorded and recently rediscovered in the late musician's archives."
* Over on The Millions, there's a list of RECOMMENDED FLASH FICTION from The Editors of 100 Word Story.