October 30, 2016

ICYMI -- Small Press Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 10/24/16 to 10/30/16

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


* Alex Hoffman on Will Dinski's TRYING NOT TO NOTICE, "a comic that explores the fundamental brokenness of people and the whitewash surfaces we paint over them."

* Matthew Daley reviews Simon Moreton's PLANS WE MADE, a book "with both a nostalgic warmth and tinge of regret that most readers can relate to."

* Andy Oliver takes a look at Rachael Smith's WIRED UP WRONG where "[t]here's a feeling of Smith not just creating for an audience herre but also seeking to make sense of the challenges she faces for herself..."

* Rob Clough reviews RUINS by Peter Kuper, "a story where love doesn't triumph over everything, as the happy ending here is that both characters find self-actualization apart from each other."

* Also, last week, Rob Clough wrote this excellent review of Noah Van Sciver's BLAMMO #9

* John Seven reviews two books from Minneapolis-based publisher UNCIVILIZED BOOKS, Caitlin Skaalrud's Houses of the Holy and Joann Sfar's Pascin.

* Paul Tumey really, really likes MY FAVORITE THING IS MONSTERS by Emil Ferris, and does an excellent job of telling us why that is.

* Megan Purdy says that Margaret Atwood's ANGEL CATBIRD is "weird".


* Sean T. Collins audaciously lists THE 33 GREATEST GRAPHIC NOVELS OF ALL TIME and then SARAH HORROCKS does it too! 

* And then Robin McConnell interviews SEAN T. COLLINS about all the (many) things getting done by Sean T. Collins

* Philippe LeBlanc interviews ANYA DAVIDSON about her new release from Fantagraphics, Band For Life.


* "[T]he truest thing about a person, that person's real story, is just as often the thing withheld -- the silent thing -- as the thing offered."  So reads a passage from Vinson Cunningham's look at Brandon Stanton's new book HUMANS OF NEW YORK: STORIES.


* Steve Cutts video for Moby's song ARE YOU LOST IN THE WORLD LIKE ME?


October 16, 2016

ICYMI -- Small Press Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 10/10/16 to 10/16/16

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


* "The act of processing grief, and the person you become afterwards, is a fertile ground for creative work." Alex Hoffman reviews SAFE DISTANCE by James K. Hindle and One Percent Press. 

* Tucker Stone continues to update his SPX 2016: THE HITS offering mini-reviews of books he picked up at the show. He's now added books by Roman Muradov and Charles Forsman and Melissa Mendes. 

* Phillippe LeBlanc takes a look at SHORTBOX #2, the international "comic box" currated by Zainab Akhtar with support from Clark Burscough, which "is quickly establishing itself as an incredible distribution force in alternative comics."

* Scott Cederlund reviews Tom Gauld's MOONCOP, which he summarizes perfectly by saying, "Ultimately, that's what the book is about, the quietness of life." 

* Megan Purdy on Kate Beaton's STEP ASIDE, POPS which "feels like an isolated chapter of a much longer tale, rather than a complete work in and of itself."

* Reading Gaiman, Nowlan, and Vozzo's "THE CASTLE" in The Kindly Ones had a profound effect on the young Alex Mansfield. Here, he revisits it to evaluate "what precisely worked so damn well."

* And if you read nothing else, please read Ray Sonne's powerful and personal and beautifully written piece on THE ENIGMA by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo.


* Tim Hodler interviews TOM SPURGEON about his involvement in CXC, his new book on Fantagraphics (We Told You So), and his site, The Comics Reporter. Towards the end, Spurgeon says, "My main goal in my professional life, and I would suggest all of our main goals might include this because the 'comics for everyone' fight has concluded on some fronts and still advances on others, is to make things better for those involved; yes, the readers, but primarily the makers of this material. It sickens me with all of the money made overall that we're still in a situation where so many creators have to harm their lives in order to make art in a medium we love." 

* Joseph Marczynski interviews SARAH GLIDDEN about Rolling Blackouts and using comics for storytelling.

* Chase Magnett interviews BOX BROWN about his new book, Tetris

"In a time where mainstream comic publishers are making excuses for why marginalized voices on, and off, the page don't sell, you have this project smashing every single one of them.Ardo Omer on THE IMPORTANCE OF CHECK PLEASE!, YEAR TWO'S KICKSTARTER

* Lars Martinson's TONOHARU: PART THREE is available now!  

* Simon Moreton's MINOR LEAGUES #2 is available for pre-order!

* Janelle Asselin is stepping away from both ROSY PRESS and, seemingly, being a "Comics Personality and Commentator".

October 9, 2016

ICYMI -- Small Press Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 10/3/16 to 10/9/16

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


* Brady Dale on Sarah Glidden's ROLLING BLACKOUTS and the concept of "comics journalism".

* Alenka Figa reviews Sam Bosma's FANTASY SPORTS #1, which "beautifully blends a fantasy quest with a sports story in an absurd way that feels fresh and fun."

* John Seven takes a look at S! #25 from kus!

* Tucker Stone keeps adding choice bits to his SPX 2016: THE HITS -- a bunch of mini "reviews" of things he picked up at the show.


* Xavier Guilbert interviews SIMON MORETON about his recent work and "Team Weird"

* Dan Hill talks to KATIE SKELLY and SARAH HORROCKS about process and whatnot.

* Over on The Nib, Tom Kaczynski and Clara Jetsmark have published GREAT AGAIN, which explores how Trump's candidacy is a perfect storm of political nostalgia and nationalism.


* Sarah Horrocks is reviewing a HORROR MOVIE A DAY for October.

October 8, 2016

STILL Writing Reviews of Books from this Year's SPX

While Ray Sonne and Joe Schmidt write about some great books, I take the time to consider the artistry and implications of ESCAPE ROUTE by Daniel Zender

"Zender’s thick black and white art is reminiscent of old Brad Neely cartoons: static, yet awash in potential energy. Each panel verges on unfolding, yet its kineticism seems restrained; the act of placing them next to each other somehow makes the entire page vibrate. There’s an undeniable intent here.  You can’t help but trust that Zender is in command of what he is laying down in this book. He has provided you the details to an ever expanding complexity of storytelling, and he trusts you to let your brain do its magic. It’s hard not to love an artist who loves you back."

October 5, 2016

Review: OUR MOTHER by Luke Howard

My pal, Ray Sonne, and I take a look at 
OUR MOTHER by Luke Howard (published by Retrofit/Big Planet) 
for Comics Bulletin.

"And this seems to ultimately be the thematic center of this book. A person can only contextualize their childhood experiences when they become an adult. The process of looking back creates a new understanding; we count on our future selves to make meaning of our present — a present that is in the past but informs who we are today."

October 2, 2016

ICYMI -- Small Press Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 9/26/16 to 10/2/16

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


* Alex Hoffman on Gina Wynbrandt's SOMEONE PLEASE HAVE SEX WITH ME which "by being so absurd and also so forthright about the expression of her desire, confront the internalized misogyny of Western society that finds female desire or lust ugly/unattractive."

* Katie Skelly also reviews SOMEONE PLEASE HAVE SEX WITH ME and says, "While this book is deeply funny, the undercurrent of rage of someone who 'shouldn't even be around' as an undesirable is there, and I can't wait to see how it manifests next."

* Please do go read Claire Napier's beautiful review of Luke Healy's HOW TO SURVIVE IN THE NORTH.

* John Seven reviews Daryl Seitchik's EXITS which "takes a fairly obvious, well-worn bit of symbolism and manages to make the readers' familiarity with it into one of the work's strengths."

* Over on Mental Floss, Rich Barrett picks THE 14 MOST INTERESTING COMICS OF SEPTEMBER. Given the vagary of the implications of the term "interesting", I must agree that there are some "interesting" choices on this list.


* The new releases from kus! have landed. This slate of minis features four books by Michael DeForge, Ville Kallio, Daria Tessler, and Anna Sailamaa -- and they all look spectacular.

* RJ Casey interviews WARREN CRAGHEAD about his daily Donald Trump drawing project. 

* Andy Oliver interviews TILLIE WALDEN about her new webcomic, On A Sunbeam

* If you would rather listen than read, Sean Ford also interviews TILLIE WALDEN for Inkstuds. The echo on Walden's voice here is kind of amazing.

* Alex Dueben interviews ALEXIS DEACON about his new book from Nobrow Press, Geis.

* Ray Sonne is still talking about how great SPX was/is.

* Rob Clough also has a great overview/analysis of this year's SPX.

* Over on Loser City, Morgan Davis calls the new documentary, DANNY SAYS, about music biz legend Danny Fields, "cleverly executed and uniquely styled".

* Kayleigh Hughes writes about the year she edited erotic romance novels in her piece for Catapult, MY LIFE IN THE ROMANCE NOVEL INDUSTRY.


October 1, 2016

Writing Reviews of Small Press Expo Books

For the past two weeks over on Comics Bulletin, I've been slowly making my way through the armful of books I picked up at this year's Small Press Expo.

THE BLACK HOOD edited by Josh Bayer and Mike Freiheit

WHAT HAPPENED by Simon Moreton and published by Kilgore Books

I FEEL WEIRD #2 by Haleigh Buck

MY DEAD MOTHER by Clara Jetsmark and published by Uncivilized Books