Highlighting some great small press comics criticism being published, as well as other random things that have caught our eye over the past week.
* Rob Kirby reviews MOTEL UNIVERSE by Joakim Drescher, saying "all of this is so wildly imagined and rendered with such good humor that it creates a comfortable distance for the reader. We never have to take any of the allegorical elements terribly seriously if we don’t want to, but we’re invited to thoroughly enjoy it when the heroes manage to seize control and mete out some richly deserved revenge upon some of the villains."
* Alex Hoffman on WAVES by Ingrid Chabbert and Carole Maurel which "is just as much the story of a complicated pregnancy and the death of a child as it is the recovery of a broken home. There’s a linkage in this book between losing what you could have had and losing what you currently have that remains lurking in my mind as I think about the story."
* Alex Hoffman also reviews GINSENG ROOTS #1 by Craig Thompson, writing "Overall I think Ginseng Roots shows a lot of promise as a story; the intersection of global markets and personal experience is a fascinating exercise, and going back to his childhood stories is an area he has already shown facility in. Ginseng Roots doesn’t seem to have the melodramatic flair of Thompson’s earlier writing, probably for the better. And truly, Thompson’s beautiful art is a welcome embrace, a reminder of what he can do, given the opportunity. But I still don’t know that I can trust Thompson to tell this story without significant issues."
* And, finally, Hoffman's review of BTTM FDRS by Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore sets the high bar for a critical response to this book.
* Steve Foxe has this short review of THE AMERICAN DREAM?: A JOURNEY ON ROUTE 66 by Shing YinKhor which " is Khor’s attempt, now that she calls Los Angeles home, to confront both sides of America by traveling the entire expanse of that iconic road, beginning in Santa Monica and ending in Chicago. And what begins as a road trip (with small dog in tow) ends up as something more like a pilgrimage in search of an American landscape that seems forever shifting, forever out of place."
* Alea Perez on LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (one of the most beautiful works of cartooning we've seen in a long time), calling it "a story of self-discovery and friendship, and the perils of losing yourself to and in another person while chasing a dream of what could be but isn’t likely to be."
* Dominic Umile looks at BICYCLE DAY by Brian Blomerth, writing "Working in the grandiose, psychedelic style that he has for years, Blomerth’s “Bicycle Day” imports Hofmann’s riveting yarn from the annals of medical history to comics with busy panels and rampant anthropomorphism."
* Chris Gavaler on PRESS ENTER TO CONTINUE by Ana Galvañ, "a welcome expansion of the familiar but still-rich genre of hi-tech futures on the fritz."
* Rob Clough reviews SLIGHTLY PLURAL by Marnie Galloway, which "covers the full gamut of Galloway's skills as a draftsman, cartoonist, and storyteller, as there are poetic comics, gag comics, straightforward autobiographical comics, densely illustrated stories, and minimalist pieces. She keeps each story short for maximum impact as she builds up to an overarching narrative regarding pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood."
* Caitlin Rosberg on THIS WAS OUR PACT by Ryan Andrews which "establishes itself as a nearly universal experience: children pushing past the limits of what they’re supposed to do, daring each other to go farther from home in order to gain some vague knowledge they don’t really need."
* Arpad Okay kinda gushes over COYOTE DOGGIRL by Lisa Hanawalt, calling it "a series of encyclopedia bookplates on badlands mescaline. Capturing the spirit of the frontier for academic purposes. Head of canine, body of woman, tail, tall, barefoot, armed, frosting pink. Folk art, but where the girl rides on her back, facing the wrong way, flying two birds to the world at large, searching for home."
* Andy Oliver looks at SEVEN STORIES #3, the new issue of O Panda Gordo's anthology series and writes, "If alternative comics are your area of interest then this collection is an essential acquisition."
* Dan Schindel on BTTM FDRS by Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore which "blends discussions around race relations, cultural appropriation, and urban injustice with a creepy plot centered around a mysterious force which metaphorically feeds on those very phenomena."
* Brian Selznick reviews CLYDE FANS by Seth, writing "There’s no room for nostalgia in Seth’s vision. The past is as sharp and painful as the present. In fact, the past is the present, conjured in words and pictures, existing in the spaces between what’s said and unsaid, what’s seen and unseen. It’s in these spaces where Seth knows alchemical reactions occur."
* Andy Oliver on DESOLATION WILDERNESS by Claire Scully, writing "There’s a beauty to the natural world in these pages that speaks of our tangential relationship to its majesty. Desolation Wilderness asks questions of how the echoes of remembrance shape our perceptions and in so doing creates a truly unique sequential narrative experience."
* Andrea Shockling has Part Five of her BARIATRIC DIARY up this week as part of her Subjective Line Weight series.
* Chris Kuzma is doing this week's A CARTOONIST'S DIARY over on TCJ.
* Hilary Brown interviews EZRA CLAYTAN DANIELS and BEN PASSMORE "about process, ideas, inspiration and tacos."
* Ken Parille takes a deep dive on TCJ in a piece called STEVE DITKO AND THE COMIC-BOOK PEOPLE.
* Wait.... don't tell us that there's a market for mid-year "Best Of..." lists? Gawd, this is troubling. It seems so.... so... unnecessary. Whatever. Leave it to the AV Club to give us THE BEST COMICS OF 2019 SO FAR
* The list of SPECIAL GUESTS for this year's upcoming Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD is seriously impressive, and we have a feeling it's only going to get better.
* Kawai Shen has a piece on The Walrus called CHINA, PROSPERITY, AND STEREOTYPES THAT WON'T DIE whose subtitle is "Today’s prejudice is just an updated version of the same old racism"
* Steven Hyden interviews DAVID BERMAN about where he's been, why he's been there, and his new album, "Purple Mountains"
* "CHANSONS D'AMOUR" -- a video of the new song by Mike Patton and Jean-Claude Vannier from their upcoming release, Corpse Flower.
* TWO POEMS by Tyler Sowa.
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