Sunday, September 25, 2016

ICYMI -- Small Press Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 9/19/16 to 9/25/16

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

COMICS CRITICISM

* Shea Hennum reviews Luke Howard's new release from Retrofit, OUR MOTHER, which "features the incompleteness and pervasive unknowability that makes a rendering of mental illness sensible without being insulting." 

* Megan Purdy writes about SOMEONE PLEASE HAVE SEX WITH ME by Gina Wynbrandt, "a working through and a deliberate exposure of her own vulnerabilities"

* Rob Clough on HOUSES OF THE HOLY by Caitlin Skaalrud, "an emotional narrative wrapped in symbols, fragments, and genuinely harrowing sequences."

* Greg Hunter reviews Tom Gauld's MOONCOP whose "rewards increase with a person's level of engagement." 

* John Seven on Leela Corman's WE ALL WISH FOR DEADLY FORCE

WHATNOT

* This sneak peek at ON A SUNBEAM, a new self-published, sci-fi style webcomic from the incredible Tillie Walden

* Tom Spurgeon interviews JESSICA CAMPBELL 

* Tobias Carroll interviews BEN KATCHOR

* Peggy Roalf has this very short interview with BENJAMIN MARRA

* Brian Hibbs weighs in on the whole DIRECT MARKET CONVERSATION 

* J. A. Micheline's thoughtful IT'S ABOUT ETHICS IN MARGANILIZED CRITICISM

* E. Thomas Finan's AN ESSENTIAL HUMAN RESPECT: READING WALT WHITMAN DURING TROUBLING TIMES

Friday, September 23, 2016

Writing Thoughts on SPX


So the Comics Bulletin Team sent a crack group of critics (and me) to this year's Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD.

Ray Sonne, Alison Baker, Christian Hoffer, J.A. Micheline, Joe Schmidt, and I all contributed to a little write up about our experience. Therein I make the assertion that 
COMICS CAN BE SPECTACULAR.

I ended up with a lot of new books

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Cleaning Off My Plate Only To Refill It Ten Times More

Funny how things work out.

On the day before SPX started, 
my final review column on the books I gathered at 
SF Zine Fest ran on Comics Bulletin.


It featured short reviews of 

Low Light by Tristan Wright
A History of Increasing Humiliation by Geoff Vasile
Our Best Shot: Disclosures of Unlawful Compassion in the United States
When We Were Kids by Andy Warner
Rebel Rebel: An Illustrated Tribute to David Bowie by Patrick Sean Gibson

Now that I cleared my plate of my SF Zine Fest books, I've got a dinner tray full of SPX books to write about.

It never ends.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

ICYMI -- Small Press Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 9/5/16 to 9/11/16

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

COMICS CRITICISM

* "It's hardly the most perceptive of observations to make but one of the most powerful aspects of autobiographical comics is their ability to immerse us in a pool of shared experience; to speak to us with a profound and resonant intimacy about those recognisable rites of passage that we must all live through and to remind us that we are not alone in dealing with them." -- so begins Andy Oliver's review of Sarah Lippett's STAN AND NAN, "a graphic novel that speaks to us about the bonds of family and the importance of the lives that shape our own.

* Andy Oliver also reviews VERIPATHY by Andy Poyiadgi, "a compact comic replete with far more incisive observations on the human condition than its short page could ever suggest."

* Rob Clough reviews THE NINCOMPOOP #1 by Christoph Mueller, in which while "most of these sorts of stories tend to focus strictly on the id, being transgressive and shocking and the conflation of that kind of expression with good storytelling, Mueller avoids those masturbatory and self-indulgent tropes by acknowledging them and then taking a sharp right turn away from them."  

* Jason Sacks reviews Lars Martinson's TONOHARU, whose third volume has finally come out through Top Shelf.

* Tom Spurgeon reviews COMETBUS #57, a series of interviews with New York-based cartoonists and their "struggle to find meaning and purpose and housing and time to spare."

* And finally, if you haven't yet read Claire Napier's piece, GLITTERBOMB AND HELTER SKELTER: STUDYING IMAGE FROM WITHOUT AND WITHIN, do that now. You'll thank me. I promise.

WHATNOT

* Annie Mok interviews TILLIE WALDEN about the re-release of her book The End of Summer and her relationship with her readers.

* The title of Christian Hoffer's piece on the Direct Market, WHO'S TO BLAME WHEN A GOOD COMIC GETS CANCELLED?, is far more incendiary than his measured and thoughtful writing. 

* Sacha Mardou's great essay on the comics of JULIE DOUCET and menstruation.

* "What compels female writers to include rape even when it doesn't apply to their stories?" So asks Ray Sonne in her piece, THE INESCAPABILITY OF RAPE NARRATIVES


Saturday, September 10, 2016

SF Zine Fest -- Finding Old Friends

My initial review column about the books I picked up at SF Zine Fest last Sunday ran on Comics Bulletin yesterday.


It features books by:
Johnny Herber

Spencer Hicks

Mark Badger

Jason Martin and Simon Moreton

Roman Muradov and Sophia Foster-Dimino

Sunday, September 4, 2016

ICYMI -- Small Press Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 8/29/16 to 9/4/16

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

COMICS CRITICISM

* Robert Kirby on Jon Allen's OHIO IS FOR SALE which is a "funny animal" comic for mature readers who's "cast seems to function at a sort of baseline ennui. Rather than suffering extreme highs and lows, they muddle through their lives disaffectedly, viewing themselves as helpless cogs in the Wheel of Life." 

* Shawn Starr on Michael DeForge's REGARDING QUICKSAND, which "while it exists on the surface as an experiment between the two planes that comics exist on, words and images, a fairly well-trodden idea, it brings those ideas around again to a discussion of a character's understanding of the seen and unseen." 

* Andy Oliver reviews Josh Hicks' GLORIOUS WRESTLING ALLIANCE and calls it "fond fun"

* John Seven reviews Benjamin Frisch's THE FUN FAMILY which seems to have taken him by surprise, in a good way.

WHATNOT

* Alex Dueben interviews TED MCKEEVER about his life in comics and his recent decision to walk away from them. 

* Over on Loser City, Dan Hill talks to SANDRA LANZ and LAURA GRAVES 

* Also on Loser City, the COMICS TWITTER BINGO CARD

* Heidi MacDonald weighs in on the whole THE COMICS INDUSTRY IS IN ITS DEATH THROES twitter war, which contains my favorite line, "Comics are almost certainly in a golden era right now ... if you don't care about Marvel and DC" -- something I've been saying over and over and over and over again.

* DINK, the Denver Independent Comic and Art Expo, has announced that for the second iteration of the show, they are moving to the recently restored McNichols Civic Center Building in Downtown Denver. The show is scheduled for April 8th and 9th.

* If you are looking for a refreshing bit of comics-related writing, you should read Ray Sonne's enthusiastic report of her experience at FLAME CON


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Reviews: PNEUMA, HAPPY TRAILS, and COSMIC DUST

For this week's Tiny Pages Made of Ashes over on Comics Bulletin, 
I cleaned out part of my "to-read" pile 
by writing some quick blurbs of three books 
that have been sent to me recently.


These include:

PNEUMA by Daniel Locke (published by Tinto Press)


HAPPY TRAILS by Scott Roberts


COSMIC DUST by Ross Murray