Author Archive

Minis Monday: ill! & C. Frakes’ Guilty Pleasures / Jon Chad’s Guilty Pleasures

Posted by on December 27th, 2010 at 1:00 PM
In a very tangible if completely happenstance way, ill! and Guilty Pleasures offer a bracing, recapitulating coda — at least for me — at year’s end, a manifested sense that youth and talent and engagement and the medium and the unquenchable sustaineth, baby. Accordingly, we’ll take that cup of kindness yet..

Thor: Tales of Asgard

Posted by on December 21st, 2010 at 12:01 AM
This volume gathers up almost 50 episodes of a back-up series begun in 1963 in the last issues of Journey into Mystery and continued into the first issues of Thor. To my eyes back then, they were some of the most awesome and best-looking comics coming from Marvel. To my eyes now, the initial installments stand among selected arcs as the absolute peak of the partnership of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Minis Monday: Nymphonomena

Posted by on December 20th, 2010 at 1:00 PM
Nymphonomena boasts as pronounced a sense of conceptual unity and creative camaraderie as any anthology I can readily recall. Preliminary credit probably should first go to a seemingly close-knit quartet of artists championing a sense of play while developing a really sweet idea. That idea begins with an inventive fabrication, a galvanizing, exotic fiction that delivers a message of love, compassion and acceptance to its audience.

Minis Monday: Tragic Relief #9-10

Posted by on December 13th, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Last time out we looked at The Trials of Sir Christopher, the book that came of Colleen Frakes' participation in last year's National Novel Writing Month. As a Frakes fan, I was particularly interested in how this special challenge dovetailed with and deviated from the larger body of her work. Most prominent among the similarities were the nature of the content and her modus operandi, which is to say her taking narrative traditions, subjects and established forms and delivering them with a wicked curve, an artistically personalized arc that carried them to unanticipated outcomes. This much is once more in evidence with issues 9 and 10 of her ongoing if heretofore irregularly released title, Tragic Relief.

Low Moon

Posted by on December 10th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
It's not that "Low Moon" is perfect comics, incapable of being improved upon. (I'd argue — but not here — that it isn't even the best story in its own anthology.) But one thing that it does get absolutely perfectly, and which limits the amount of additions or tinkering you'd want to see, is the sublime blend of the heady ingredients that Jason harmonizes so effortlessly.

Minis Monday: The Trials of Sir Christopher

Posted by on December 6th, 2010 at 1:00 PM
The last time I wrote about prolific Colleen Frakes I considered referring to her as "The Hardest Working Woman in Minicomics." That was a joke and a silly one, born of the parochialism of localized distribution for self-published comics and the regional nature of the resultant renown (such as it is). Still, there are spans when I think I could legitimately rename this column "Minis Frakesday."

Newave!; The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s

Posted by on December 3rd, 2010 at 12:01 AM
The chief surprise with Newave! is the vitality and merit it sustains throughout its length and not so much in its content, although there is a lot of content … well over 70 complete minis from the day. This is altogether riveting stuff, a host of guerilla comics from so many different hands offering an astonishing variety of visual experiences.

Snakes and Ladders

Posted by on November 26th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
Anyone suffering withdrawal symptoms caused by Alan Moore's retreat from comics (or alternately, anyone suffering from his selective participation lately) might well be able to ease their pangs by picking up recorded versions of his stage performances. Case at hand, Snakes and Ladders.

Minis Monday: Two by David Yoder

Posted by on November 22nd, 2010 at 1:00 PM
Two very different books form my first impression of David Yoder's comics.

Minis Monday: Nicaragua

Posted by on November 15th, 2010 at 1:00 PM

I like my travelogues like I like my sedentary narratives: with a sense of purpose. Less compelling for me are the accounts of journeys seeking to court the unfamiliar (as if that isn't always with us) or to educate oneself (as if that could be avoided anywhere). In my comics I like accounts that regard a change of locales as more than the opportunity to draw new things. Give me, for instance, Peter Kuper in Oaxaca or Joe Sacco anywhere.

Or Marek Bennett in Nicaragua. Bennett was my kinda traveler during a comics exchange program between his hometown of Henniker, N.H., and San Ramon, Nicaragua, a village in the coffee-growing region along the country's northern mountains.

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