Reading Stack January 17 2019

Life’s been really busy for me lately, so I haven’t been able to do as many interviews as I would like. I still read comics though, and have been posting small reviews on Twitter and Instagram. Here’s a look at what I have been reading.

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It still seems weird to me that we have so many new reprints of Hugo Pratt comics. The euro comics line from idw continues to impress with releases that 10 years ago, were just a pipe dream. 

This book The Man From The Great North, collects all of Pratt’s Jesuit Joe comics. They are weird canucksploitation stories taking place in the early 20th century in some mythical canadian setting only imagined by a European creator. 

The book is mostly finished colour comics with some filler pages made from early drafts by Pratt and material created for a film. 

I liked it as an odd ephemeral collection capturing latterday Pratt. Seeing how he distills his work, relying more on colour than his distinct ink work. 

I think there will be more in this series of reprints, as the Corto Maltese books are almost done.

I’ve been reading a lot of batman comics over the holidays. This is books 4,5,6 of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s batman run.

I don’t know if I completely understand this book. The main story is a weird conflation of what if the riddler was really into the khmer rogue and took over the city of Gotham and treated it like his own Cambodia. And instead of calling it Year Zero, let’s call it Zero Year. Oof. I think some small changes would make it feel a little less too on the nose. Like did any of the editors look at this and go, maybe let’s use a different name? It’s really too bad, because I think some parts work really well. The Riddler is basically that guy who you always see posting comments trying to prove he’s smarter than everyone else. It’s like the incel batman villian. And I think that’s a great take.

The last volume is a collection of different stories that seem to take place in that early batman prebatman storyline. I think. I’m not sure. I think I am going to keep treating these as the ridiculous comics they are and not get too caught up in the details. Good popcorn comics with some misguided concept choices

It’s issue 2 of Marc Bell’s epic series Worn Tuff Elbow. The last issue came out in the early 2000s, a staple of great alt comics. I love Marc’s comics and his amazingly weird world view. There’s nothing like a Marc Bell comic, filled with idiosyncratic non sequiturs, dense with ideas and interactions.

His work has a really nice poetry to it. It’s good work to get lost in. I really enjoy Marc’s work and think he is one of the greats, for creating some really forward looking comics for the past 20 plus years. I think you can this new book directly from Marc.

So I finally finished going through the Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo batman run. I have a bunch of thoughts. Some stuff worked really well, some didn’t.

The main story of this third set is called endgame, the title makes frequent shout outs through out the series after. It’s basically a good old fashioned batman and joker beat eachother up until they can’t. I think this is where they shine. The darker the story, the better. I think if they treated batman like a straight up horror comic, it would work so well. Just be dark and enjoy it. Let it exist on its own.

A good half of the collections are filler stories until getting to the conclusion. Most of it really confuses me. Maybe I am getting old and too used to a different batman. The final major story has a young hunky Jim Gordon take on being batman as some official corporate program. Again, the good parts are the straight horror.

Finally started reading this last night. The first volume of the last man by Bastion Vives and company. I read it before going to bed and then I couldn’t sleep. I don’t know if it’s from the action pack fun in the comic, or the box of donuts I ate earlier.

I liked this book and will likely go through the rest of the series over the holidays. Great drawing and keeps moving.

Read Blackwood, written by Evan Dorkin and art by team of Veronica and Andy Fish. I love that Evan Dorkin is writing comics for other folks to draw. I think his mind works a lot quicker than he has time to draw. The story is a straight up high school horror comic, probably channeling a bunch of different sources that Evan loves. He has a deep affection for comics in themselves, and I love seeing how he processes that.

The art team works really well, catching that attention to detail but not getting too caught up on letting the story speak for itself.

I finally got caught up with some Michael DeForge. I think Brat from Koyama is likely his longest straight story other than the forthcoming Leaving Richards valley. My eye sight has been pretty bad for the past couple of years, so I have kind of avoided a good chunk of comics that are hard for me to read. I got new glasses a couple of months ago and it makes a huge difference and it’s nice to be reading more and not getting headaches. 

This book has everything I could want from a deforge comic. Magic the gathering, a Patrick Kyle style sequence, troublesome teens and lots of introspection amd hubris!

This is a very lovely little book. Volume 1 of Gengoroh Tagame’s My Brother’s Husband. It’s an extremely sweet book that looks shows Tagame digging deep personally and using the space to process and a book that others can also benefit from.

I don’t read a lot of manga, so I forget the great way that manga allows you to breathe and go through thoughts with the characters. Tagame takes his time. He seems to want the reader to feel the personal introspection and internalize that. 

He’s a very clear cartoonist telling anx extremely easy to read comic. Will probably read volume 2 tonight.

As promised, I read book 2 of My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame. It continued to be delightful. I think it moves forward quite a lot with this book. Working through some of the internal conflict introduced when the protagonist meets his twin brothers widow.

There’s no super easy resolution, instead he overcomes his own judgements when confronted with the judgements of others.

There is a neat idea of finding family and fulfillment when you let yourself be open. Sharing experiences and be together and letting things be organic. Family isn’t necessarily blood, but those that care for you and want to be with you. 

I like that you can see where he is having fun drawing what he finds sexy without making it sexual. Tagame is an extremely solid artist that can draw what he wants in the way he wants. 

Although it feels like there is a natural conclusion, I would be interested to see the story continue in a way like life does and relationships fluctuate and grow.

I quite liked this comic by Emi Gennis. It’s short, to the point and doesn’t hold back. Published by Kilgore books as a part of their most recent Kickstarter lot. It’s always worth checking into what they are putting out. Solid comics. Baseline Blvd is quiet meditative book that gets under your skin, challenges what is acceptable and manipulation. I need to read more of Emi’s comics.

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