Author Archive

Graphic Youth: Trickster

Posted by on November 12th, 2010 at 1:00 PM
Trickster is a materially ambitious comics anthology of Native American short stories involving the titular archetype. Its reach is admirably expansive in geographic terms, from here in Maine down to the South ("How the Alligator Got His Brown, Scaly Skin") across the plains to the Southwest ("Horned Toad Lady and Coyote") and on to Hawaii. It pairs 21 Native narrators/authors with a like number of artists, some themselves American Indians, to produce 21 stories depicting the many guises of the clever protagonist and his handiwork. Contributions range from six to 14 pages with an average decidedly skewed toward the larger figure.

Minis Monday: Mo’ Joe

Posted by on November 8th, 2010 at 1:00 PM
I don't know about you, but last week's glimpse at the micro-mini Gag really whetted my appetite for more Joe Lambert. Accordingly, here are three of his books picked up last May at Maine's Comics Arts Festival in Portland.

Micro Minis Monday

Posted by on November 1st, 2010 at 1:00 PM
Rich reviews two really mini minicomics: Maris Wicks' Human Body Theater and Joe Lambert's Gag.

Minis Monday: Unpopular Species

Posted by on October 25th, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Oddly enough, the Dalai Llama gets an assist as consumer advocate for my picking up this title. He once, in passing but effectively, spoke of the sanctity of all life, no matter how lowly, pestilential or step-on-able. He specifically chose to extol the humble if abundant creatures closest at hand: the ant with its unwavering devotion to selfless labor, the spider with its ability to create webs of surpassing beauty, etc.

So when I read this in the indicia of Unpopular Species: "And remember, just think of that big, hairy spider as a kitten with more legs," I felt I had stumbled upon a kindred spirit to His Holiness on the indy spinner rack.

Wednesday Comics (Slight Return)

Posted by on October 20th, 2010 at 1:00 PM
Editor's Note: A few days after Rich Kreiner wrote this review, he had second thoughts, which were unfortunately run on the website Oct. 8, before his first thoughts. Please forget that you read that post, read this post, then go back in time to read his follow-up post. Sorry and thanks.

Minis Monday: Two by Desmond Reed

Posted by on October 18th, 2010 at 1:00 PM
These two minis by Desmond Reed are unpretentious, immediately engaging, unaffectedly sharp, transparently fun and purposefully cartoony in the best senses of the word. They would make, however absurd this otherwise sounds, great comics to have a beer with.

Graphic Youth: The Storm in the Barn

Posted by on October 15th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
The Storm in the Barn is a solo work from children's book illustrator Matt Phelan. It's an atmospheric story of a young boy's trials, both unsurprising and very surprising, in the dust-choked Kansas of 1937. As a young reader's graphic novel, it conveys an appropriately gratifying and uplifting message for its primary audience.

Minis Monday: Little Wolves

Posted by on October 11th, 2010 at 1:00 PM
With Little Wolves, James Hindle makes a concerted commitment to rarified realism, one that rises above escapist fare marbled by tragedy, levity, relief or other narrative niceties.

Wednesday Comics

Posted by on October 8th, 2010 at 12:01 AM

A while ago I took a look at Wednesday Comics, the 12-week project designed to put DC characters in serialized stories meant to resemble, through their 14" x 20" pages, the continuing adventure strips of old Sunday funnies sections. The title's second iteration, a hardcover compilation, assembled all chapters of all 15 stories, many done by industry stalwarts.

Back then I pronounced the collection an artist's showcase and tried to support that by focusing on a trio of best uses of the novel form and the single, surprising worst. I thought it could stand as my final word on the subject.

And then I started to dream.

Minis Monday: Unreachable Beasts #1

Posted by on October 4th, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Unreachable Beasts is a cleverly realized, charmingly crafted, unapologetically off-kilter and continually surprising comic.

But the odd descriptor I can't get out of my mind is that of it being "classical." Yes, there's a notion of "timelessness" to it. There's fantasy and space travel to the fore and a Russian folk tale at the aft, all rendered in a clear, readily accessible style. But more to the point is that there's a well-formed fitness, an aptness, in composition and execution. First is its sense of proportion, the match of ambition and breadth to scale and structure in its parts and as a whole. Second is a unity of artistic purpose, a pronounced, if intuitively nuanced, coherence in its regard of world and existence. Finally there is a concerted, refined expressiveness to these stories; there's a subtlety, even understatement, in presentation even as narration and intention remain clear. It pleases as a quick read and withstands atomizing scrutiny, all the while keeping its allure and mysteries intact.

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