Review posts

Medical Psychodrama: Fear Of Failure

Posted by on November 15th, 2010 at 5:43 AM

Rob reviews the first issue of Thom Ferrier’s insider comic on medicine, Fear of Failure.

Thom Ferrier is the nom de plume of a Welsh physician who is also a cartoonist.  His Fear of Failure series (serialized online as

Shame and Comfort: How To Understand Israel In Sixty Days Or Less

Posted by on November 15th, 2010 at 12:01 AM

All images ©2010 Sarah Glidden and DC Comics

Sarah Glidden's How To Understand Israel In Sixty Days Or Less is an interesting companion piece to Joe Sacco's Footnotes In Gaza. Both authors are obsessed with telling the truth about the miserable Israel-Palestine conflict and doing so by unearthing the smallest details that can provide clues as to what's really happened/is happening. Sacco did it by focusing in on one particular historical event, both as an illustration of how this event is still relevant today, but also to show how the vagaries of memory and cultural narrative creation can distort truth into something more convenient. Both authors wanted to go directly to the source and talk to the people living there in order to give a voice to others, but more importantly, to gain a view of the area unfiltered by anyone's perceptions but their own. In Glidden's case, as a 26-year-old American who is Jewish, this came in a format that she immediately viewed with suspicion: a "birthright" tour.

Two Minis From Gabrielle Nowicki

Posted by on November 13th, 2010 at 5:03 AM

Rob reviews two minis from first-time cartoonist Gabrielle Nowicki, Worng and The Curse Of The Parsimonious Great Aunt.

Gabrielle Nowicki is a fine artist who has just begun experimenting with cartooning.  Her first two efforts, The Curse Of The Parsimonious

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.

Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour

Posted by on November 12th, 2010 at 11:25 AM

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.
–Opening line of William Gibson’s Neuromancer

The Scott Pilgrim series is the first comic for cyborgs.  Or maybe not the first, but the first really

Five Observations About Sam Henderson’s Newest Minis

Posted by on November 10th, 2010 at 5:16 AM
Rob jots down five observations about Sam Henderson's newest minicomics collections of his single-panel gag work.

Impact City review by Jason Thompson

Posted by on November 10th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
Impact City, a manga by French mangaka Nekozumi, promises a better read because it's specifically designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Unlike the jillions of scanlated analog manga available online or on apps like MangaDL and MangaRock, each panel fits into the iPhone landscape view (there is no portrait view support) so you won't need to scroll and zoom to read the manga on a tiny screen: "No more zooming!" the app description boasts. "The TDC™ (True Digital Comic) Technology developed by Mangako gives the opportunity for digital creators and story tellers, to build a project that fits into the device it is meant to be read on." If that were all, though, it wouldn't be very different from the iPhone comics from companies like Tokyopop and NTT Solmare, which fit manga into one iPhone-screen-sized panel at a time, the equivalent of panning-and-scanning old movies from widescreen to 3:4 ratio. In Tokyopop and NTT Solmare's digital comics, the reader taps the screen to go from panel to panel. The real distinction of Impact City is that, instead of flipping the pages by hand, the comic plays automatically, like a slideshow. You can drag a slider to go forward or back among the panels, but there's no preview image to show which panel you're aiming for, and once the art appears on the screen, there's no way to stop the story from 'playing'; all you can do is adjust the playback speed, from "Very slow" to "Fast." Dialogue balloons appear and disappear on the screen, and a few camera movements and limited animations are mixed with the 2D, black-and-white slideshow.

The Horror! The Horror!

Posted by on November 9th, 2010 at 5:39 PM

Kent reviews the latest coffee table slab from Abrams ComicArts.

Jim Trombetta, The Horror! The Horror! Comic Books the Government Didn’t Want You to Read! New York: Abrams ComicArts, 2010. 306 pp, full color, $29.95. ISBN: 978-0-8109-5595-0. Includes a DVD

Pinfalls: Life of Vice #3

Posted by on November 8th, 2010 at 5:08 AM

Rob reviews the third and final issue of Robin Enrico’s minicomics series, Life of Vice.

The first two issues of Robin Enrico’s Life Of Vice centered on its title character (sex columnist/bass player Becky Vice) as a provocateur, performer and

Posted by on November 7th, 2010 at 6:36 AM
Grant Morrison, Architecture, and Mythology: Batman: Gothic (Legends of the Dark Knight #6-10)

Here and at GutterGeek, I continue to look back at Grant Morrison's DC Comics superhero work. This time we're re-reading Batman: Gothic: Sometimes it’s easy to get so wrapped up in subtext, allusions, and external meaning that I forget to recognize when a story is just good. At its core, that’s what Batman: Gothic is. It’s a really well-told story. Whereas Arkham Asylum was an effective psychological examination without much plot to speak of, Gothic is a plot-driven mystery with a healthy dose of action, adventure, and crime drama thrown in....

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