January 12, 2019

ICYMI -- Small Press Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 1/7/19 to 1/11/19

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


* Alenka Figa looks at Yumi Sakugawa's FASHION FORECASTS, writing "The future Sakugawa envisions and offers through the clothing presented in Fashion Forecasts has gone beyond acceptance of difference and moved into a realm where personal identity and self-esteem are valued as part of the simple act of wearing clothing."

* H.W. Thurston has this mixed review of VANISHING ACT by Roman Muradov, writing "Ultimately, Vanishing Act is undeniably successful as both an object d’art and as something wrestling with some very big ideas in a thorough yet lighthearted way. It’s a testament to the work that there is far more to say about it than could fit in this space. Yet I had trouble getting excited about it. Perhaps because I kept asking myself: why? Why this work now? It adopts the aesthetic of “the avant-garde,” but is it actually doing anything new? It’s not that an artwork needs a reason to exist, or needs to be relevant to the present moment. If the artist wanted to make it, that’s reason enough. But the thing is that postmodernism has been around for a while, and by now is a bit of a true-but-boring insight. It’s nihilistic in a way that runs the risk of getting old. So for a work to dive off the deep end in engaging with it, especially in a way that is almost “retro,” it feels--fair or not--like there needs to be a reason."

* Over on The Beat, Philippe LeBlanc also reviews Muradov's VANISHING ACT, but he doesn't care for it much. LeBlanc writes, "It’s rare that I dislike a book to the point of feeling like it’s an absolute slog to get through. It’s disheartening to see such an incredible display of artistry ultimately being about such a navel-gazing idea, a book about itself, its own importance and the artistic skill of the creator." Personally, I loved this book and even chose it as one of my THE BEST COMICS OF 2018 over on The Comics Journal. To each their own, I guess.

* Andy Oliver on MY FATHER WAS A FISHERMAN by Dáire Lawlor, "a most impressive first long-form sequential art offering." Oliver also reviews CHLORINE GARDENS by Keiler Roberts, writing "Roberts’ clear, uncomplicated visuals always have an expressive clarity and the most telling of visual characterisation, and Chlorine Gardens is another collection of incisive short strips from one of the finest autobio practitioners working in the medium."

* Caleb Orecchio on STRAY CATS by Ted Echterling which is "like a dream (a fever-dream of a young Doctor Moreau) that wakes you up to a feeling of nausea. It lingers in your mind and puts you into a funk for the rest of the day."

* Chris Gavaler reviews A HOUSE IN THE JUNGLE by Nathan Gelgud which "isn't just a story—it's a comics story exploring the comics form that contains it."

* John Seven looks at KINGDOM by Jon McNaught, writing "it’s not so much a criticism of the modern human world as a rectifying of the divide between it and the natural world. There’s an idea that pollution is part of nature because it is human-made and man is part of nature. Agree or disagree with the actual premise, it becomes a philosophical question about the nature of what belongs in the universe, of where humans stand. It is possible to tag one circumstance as good and one as bad, but when you move past the judgments and examine the situations, without passion, you find that the human experience and all its shallow technological clingings are as much a part of the world and an experience within the world as a bird hunting and killing a rodent."

* Ryan Carey on THE NEW WORLD: COMICS FROM MAURETENIA by Chris Reynolds, where "these stories are the closest thing to actual dreams on paper that I’ve ever seen. They play out in the exact same way that dreams do  — there are elements that can’t adequately be described; key events are tantalizingly hinted at but never directly followed up on; time moves entirely differently, more tethered to events that are happening than to an arbitrary and unforgiving clock; everything is oddly familiar but just a bit off. Nothing is as it should be in these comics, but that realization dawns upon you slowly and incrementally."

* Over on WWAC, they pick their FAVORITE SMALL PRESS COMICS OF 2018.

* Over on Sequential State, Alex Hoffman has just finished up his annual COMICS THAT CHALLENGED ME series for this year with a pretty amazing list of comics. Also, while checking out Sequential State, make sure you marvel at the new header for the site created by Xia Gordon.


* SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT: Your Chicken Enemy is hoping to double the content offered weekly on the site, and, to that end, YCE has created a PATREON for you!

* There's a new Seo Kim comic on Vice called IT WASN'T THE CHAIR, IT WAS ME.

* Also on Vice, there's a new Tara Booth comic called DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE.

* Ellen Lindner is the featured cartoonist this week for A CARTOONIST'S DIARY over on TCJ.

* Michael Kupperman has this TALK at Google(?) about his book, All the Answers.

* One of the best sources of comics journalism, The MNT, has ANNOUNCED that it is moving from a newsletter format to publishing new content directly on its website. It's an interesting and understandable move, and I'll be interested to see how this develops and evolves.

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