August 3, 2018

ICYMI -- Small Press Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 7/27/18 to 8/3/18

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


* Ryan Carey is a little confused by THE ENEMY FROM WITHIN by Austin English, but writes "Coming to terms with the idea that everything and everyone has an effect, even just a passive one, on everything and everyone else means negation is a real possibility at all times, maybe even an ongoing process, whether it comes our way via relationships, consumerism, employment, schooling — no form of interaction is safe. Everything you do means someone or something else “gets in” on some level."

* John Seven reviews THE STRANGE by Jérôme Ruillier, writing "In many ways, the immigrant in the story is a blank slate, but aren’t so many immigrants in our current reality? We are able to attach whatever we want to them for our own purposes, but the nuts and bolts of their experience supersede whatever we decide to force on their motivations. That’s what Ruillier depicts so skillfully."

* Alex Hoffman looks at GRIP #1 by Lale Westvind and says, "The comic is an incantation, its intense images keywords to a greater power locked in the ether."

* Chris Mautner has a piece about Michael Fiffe's COPRA on The Smart Set called "Unrestrained Analogs" which brilliantly states that Copra "is a comic that the Suicide Squad, by virtue of existing in the DC Universe can never be because it is a comic fundamentally suspicious of, derisive of, dismissive of the underlying message of superhero comics: that power can be used responsibly, that our world has space for heroes, that violence can solve problems."

* Rob Clough on CATBOY by Benji Nate, a book that "eschews conspicuous consumption and the culture surrounding it, but it also avoids the kind of privileged nihilism and aggression that's marked punk at other points in time."  

* Rob Clough also reviews SHIT IS REAL by Aisha Franz, writing "Kindness is a binding social agent while competitiveness aims to separate and isolate. Capitalistic fetishism makes us want things without understanding why, as the forces of scarcity push us into a zero-sum game. Franz asks the reader to consider that choosing empathy is intuitive and requires no enticement other than the feeling itself, though choosing to get off that treadmill after a lifetime of conditioning is difficult to achieve."

* Henry Chamberlain examines ALPHA: ABIDJAN TO PARIS by Bessora and Barroux.

* Philippe LeBlanc writes about Alexis Beauclair's VANISHING PERSPECTIVES. "There’s something absolutely fascinating about this book. It is a formalist experiment, it forces the reader to get comfortable with the suggestions of space, movement and perspective. Each page is meticulously designed so as to force the reader to understand perspective and it’s effect on reading. How do we identify what constitutes space and movement on a page. Beauclair posits that a series of panels with simple lines are enough to construct a physical space and showcase movements within that space. As we read each comic, those designs become more and more abstract, but the reader understands each page, it never strays too far into abstraction as to be unable to discern what we see."

* Andy Oliver on OWL GOES FOR A WALK by Ed Stockham, saying of it, "Building up to a finale that hints at possible existential metaphor (or may just be a neat visual resolution!) Stockham’s amiable little tale feels both ephemeral and yet somehow teasingly profound as well."

* Paul Gravett makes a case for THE 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS EVERYONE SHOULD READ over on The Guardian. I'm always wary of any piece that has a title that is trying to tell me how to live my life, but ... you know ... whatevs.

Robert Kirby presents excerpts from CASINO SON by Mark Campos.

* More new comics by Tara Booth on Vice -- this trio of strips is titled TOXIC ENERGY and there is also CHASES A BUTTERFLY.

* New comic by Seo Kim called FEEDING TIME.

* Just read Austin English's latest 10 Cent Museum column on TCJ titled FALL INTO DEGRADATION.

* The MNT website has published Ardo Omer's powerful essay from April 2017 called CRITICIZING COMICS WHILE BLACK.

* Philippe LeBlanc is back with his SMALL PRESS AND INDIE COMICS GALORE roundup feature over on The Beat.

* Marjorie Ingall writes about The Fable of the Ducks and the Hens, an anti-Semitic 1959 children’s book written by the founder of the American Nazi Party, George Lincoln Rockwell, in a piece on Tablet called THE NAZI CHILDREN'S BOOK YOU CAN STILL BUY ON AMAZON: A REVIEW. A book like this adds another layer to the title of this particular website. 

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