Nick Gazin's Comic Book Witch hunt #7
This month's batch of comics mostly sucked dick. I don't say that lightly or happily. I don't like having to review or read bad comics. Stop making bad comics.The system for review is the same as it was last month, I will be ranking all the comics and zines and books I get, then burning the one I hated the most. Let the judgement commence. [thunderous gavel peal]
Meathaus: Go For the Gold 3
Edited by Chris McD
This is the best thing I got to review this month and I should know since I'm in it. "Ha ha.", you might think. "What an asshole," you might also think. But I am not what made this book great.
Meathaus started as an anthology and comic company that was run by a bunch of artists, illustrators, and comickers who lived in New York and hung out with each other. None of them live in New York or hang out with each other anymore, but they still put out this collection of sketchbook pages by the best artists from the old Meathaus garde and a few new jerks. I can''t believe I got asked to be in this thing. The contributors include such stars as Arik Roper, Ben Marra, Esao Andrews, Farel Dalrymple, Harvey James, Ines Estrada, Katie Rice, Mu Pan, Nathan Fox, Peter Chung (the guy that created Aeon Flux), Tom Herpich, Victor Cayro, Tomer Hanuka, James Jean, Brandon Graham, Al Columbia, and Chris McD. There were other people in the book who were good but whom I am not as starstruck by. Then there were a couple who phoned in some dogshit. If you care about drawing as a way of understanding things that exist in space and within our brains, then get this book. It will make you want to draw.
Chris McD's drawings will remind you that he knows how to draw every which way.
Al Columbia handed in ink-washy images of crumbling society and forbidding/forboding locales.
Brandon Graham's drawings are some slick manga-ish stuff that's all about cute butts.
Victor Cayro handed in a logo he made for himself, a caricature of Sammy Harkham as a Jewish stereotype, some more racial stereotypes, and things he drew in middleschool which look like a crazy person drew them.
Tom Herpich blows my mind every time, no exceptions.
Ron Wimberly drew pretty girls pretty well.
Peter Chung submitted what looks to be very tight story boards and concept art.
Spumco's Katie Rice drew cute girls eating food in funny ways, hillbillies, and caricatures.
Jesse Moynihan did drawings that I liked so much that it tripled my appreciaton of him.
Ines Estrada submitted her usual stuff along with a drawing of she and her boyfriend and I nude, while they cut me up.
Farel Dalrymple knows what he's doing.
Arik Roper could be corny, but instead he's amazing.
I've got no opinion on my drawings in the book.
You can buy it from Meathaus for fifteen bucks and Chris McD will do a free doodle in it for you if you want. For another $21 you can get all the old issues of the anthology.
Pim and Francie
Al Columbia did three issues of a spooky and pretty comic called the Biologic Show for Fantagraphics back in the early 90s and also did a record cover for the Action Suits, which was a band made up of people who were involved with Fantagraphics. Then I didn't see new work from him for a long time and people I talked to about him didn't have any idea who I was talking about. It seems like a lot of people who were great at comics in the early 90s like Al, Rick Altergott, or Jim Woodring made some great comics, saw that the world wasn't that interested, and moved on. It's nice of Al to give the world another shot at appreciating the beautiful things he can do.
Columbia draws in the style of the early Disney cartoons with a line quality that is rich and comforting and uses black like it was going out of style. Pim and Francie are two innocents who explore a world of depression, death and evil. They repeatedly are killed, attacked and then are fine again. The pages are cropped in ways that cut off parts of the dialogue, some of the pages have been torn apart and taped back together. Most of the art is half finished and confusing.
With Pim & Francie Al Columbia creates a comic with a narrative that's impossible to follow in a beautiful, dreamlike way (I mean that it's impossible to follow it and that it's drawn in a dreamlike way, not that you can't follow it in a beautiful, dreamlike way, you dope. It's impossible for you to not be able follow it in a beautiful, dreamlike way).
This is a fold-over newsprint zine of awesome drawings by Ben Jacques, Mike Perry, Alex Purdy, Luke Ramsay, Ron Rege Jr., Andy Rementor, and Jim Stolen. They all would fit well within the pages of Kramer's Ergot and with the experimental stuff that is big and good these days. Actually I'm not sure how big it is. But oh me is it good.
Dear Andy Kaufman I Hate Your Guts!
When Andy Kaufman challenged all the women of America to wrestle him and made fun of them for being weak and stupid they responded by unleashing a giant wave of mail which crashed upon the shores of NBC. All kinds of women wanted to wrestle Andy. Women who hated him, women who loved him, and women whose feelings seem to be a tangy mixture of the two. Andy saved and organized all of the letters and photos he received and now his widow, Lynn Margulies, has released them as the exact sort of book you would want to own.
Lobo Highway to Hell #1 of 2
Scott Ian & Sam Kieth
Scott Ian from Anthrax is writing a Lobo mini-series and Sam Kieth, who did the Maxx, is drawing it. I am so jazzed up about this. It's no secret that Anthrax are nerds. They had songs about Judge Dredd and Twin Peaks. Most metal bands are nerds actually. Iron Maiden had a few songs about the Prisoner, Annihilator had a song called "Weapon X," and Entombed released an entire record called Wolverine Blues. Danzig likes Wolverine so much that he looks and talks exactly like him.
Lobo looks like a corpse-painted metalhead and he kills people all the time and can't die and he murdered everyone on his planet. It's generally understood that he's DC's ripoff/send-up of Wolverine, but heavy metalized and much eviller. When he's surprised he'll exclaim,"Feetal's Gizzard!" He also says "frag" and "bastich" instead of "kill" and "bastard."
In the first issue someone kills Lobo's pet dolphins and leaves a note claiming to be the devil. Lobo journeys to Hell, despite being banned, in order to kill Satan or something and then he finds him and it leaves us with a cliffhanger. The writing's not terrible but I miss Keith Giffen writing Lobo and Simon Bisley drawing it. This is certainly better than most of the Lobo comics floating around. I'd place it in the top 15 Lobo comics. Get the first mini-series and Lobo's Back and the choose-your-own-adventure Lobo graphic novel.
Electric Ant Issue 2:Exquisite Corpses
Edited by Ryan Sands
This book is good but it's no GFTG3. It has a pretty good crew of artists in it. Calvin Wong, Hellen Jo, Ted May, Michael Deforge, Lisa Hanawalt, Kazimir Strzepek, and Harvey James are in there. I'm in there too at some point. Electric Ant is a perfect-bound zine with articles and photos in it but I only care about the drawings and the comics. If there were more drawings and comics it might have beat Lobo. Sidenote to Zine makers: Stop runnig low contrast photos in your black-and-white zine; they turn into a greyish sludge and look boring.
There's a comic in here called "Planet X Rises" in which each cartoonist wrote and drew a page before handing it off to the next one. My contribution was to a series by various artists drawing their favorite scenes of violence from popculture. Harvey James drew the riot scene from early in Akira. I drew the scene from Road Warrior where Wez's blonde boyfriend catches the metal boomerang in his forehead. Ted May drew Iron Maiden fighting the guy in the Eddie suit onstage. Then Hellen Jo, Calvin Wong and some other dudes collaborated on a drawing of Tom Hanks looking at his adult dong in Big while the skyscraper transfomer toy dances around in the background on fire.
Game Informer November 2009
the Game Informer Staff
I threw this in here mostly to serve as a dividing line between the good and bad comics. Everything after this review is worse than a magazine about videogames. This is actually a pretty good issue. I got it when I bought a wireless router for my 360 at Gamestop. It's got some good reader art that was all crudely but earnestly drawn by hand. I always liked reader art columns in magazines and like that Game Informer carries on that tradition. When magazines started to die, the reader art columns were the first things to go. Also, the staffs and the budgets. I remember when Wizard Magazine was at its peak and had both an envelope art column and a monthly reader art contest. If I had a time machine the first thing I would do is start drawing Evil Ernie, Vampirella, and Spawn over and over again and then send a big box of drawings to Wizard immediately. Nothing I ever accomplish now will ever mean as much to me as the things I will never get to do. I kinda went into a fog there.
Alec "The Years Have Pants" ( A Life-sized Omnibus)
I just flipped through this book trying to remember what it's about again. Alec is about a young guy who works in a factory and people are constantly telling him he's too smart to work in a factory. Then he goes out and drinks which leads to boring stories that he thinks are interesting. Most of the characters blend together I'm on the 91st page and I still can't tell most of the characters apart or get what's to like about them. I also can't tell if there's a story in this 638-page comic or if it's going to continue being a series of boring drinking stories.
Campbell's drawings are always pretty good. I've read Bacchus, that Batman comic he did where Batman fights a pagan secret society, and From Hell. I just haven't hung onto any of his work because I find it really, really, really boring. I also think Harvey Pekar is dull as shit and couldn't get through Lord of the Rings, which I really wanted to like. Just so you know what you're dealing with here.
Conceptual Realism In The Service of the Hypothetical
It's not a retrospective and there isn't a consistent theme amongst the work represented in this book. It's kind of a "checkin' in to see what Robert Williams has been doing lately" release. The answer is that he's been doing some paintings that are softer and less shiny looking than his previous ones, some ink drawings with soft color underneath, some large statues that are bigger than him, and paintings that resemble souvenir postcards but in nightmarish ways.
I'm not so crazy about the way he's painting now. I like when his charcters and objects all look hard and lacquered and I like his ink drawings when they're similar to his Zap Comix and Cootchy Cootie stories. The sculptures are cool but they look like they're waiting to be painted. The travel postcards show scenes of American desert with land formations that don't exist, like a landslide that resembles a skull and a rock formation that looks like the mouth of Hell. Sadly there were only four of those.
Like A Dog
Zak Sally draws like a dog. Ugly lines, bad proportions, everything looks mooshy and amateurish. I'm pretty sure I've seen comics by this guy that I liked, but this isn't one of them.
I can't get past how bad the art is. It hurts to look at it. Maybe you can look at it but I can't. The guy seems to have trouble with noses and other anatomy so he relies on common tricks that people who can't draw use. It's like staring at an ugly sun.
Finally, this month I am burning:
Johnny Cash: I See A Darkness
Here's the video of me burnin' it while Justin jumps over it on his skateboard.
I'm not sure why Abrams sent this to me after we blogged about how awful it looked before it even came out. This book is a hunk of garbage that someone clearly put a lot of work into. The book's too ugly and stupid for me to effectively do my job. I had to take the rest of the day off to recover from this book.
This comic starts off with Johnny Cash driving to Reno and shooting a guy just to watch him die. There's a lot of that in this book. Every chapter starts with a multi-page comic sequence that illustrates the lyrics to a well-known Cash song. That is the level of corniness that this book is on.
The art is a sort of generic style that's not uncommon in amateur comics. It's going for Paul Pope inkiness, but Kleist just doesn''t have enough control over the brush to make beautiful lines. His brushwork is angular in a way that suggests a lack of ability instead of a bitchin' appreciation of German expressionism.
As we said before, the title of the book comes from a Bonnie Prince Billy song that Cash covered on one of those Rick Rubin records. I was never sure how I felt about the partnership of Rubin and Cash. Punks latched onto that photo of him flipping off the camera and got really hooked on this idea of Johnny Cash as some sort of ultimate hick badass (I realized today that much of what I hate can be summed up by the phrase "badass"), but I don't know if Johnny Cash was as dark a person as people like to see him. He loved his wife and he seemed to get a lot out of religion. Honestly, if you know anything about him, I don't see how you could see darkness in Johnny Cash. Tweens aren't going to buy a book called "I See A Human Decency" though.
Fringes: Stories from the Edge: Cowboy Capitalists
For maverick entrepreneur Ian Cox, Africa is the last frontier of free enterprise.
Has a South American Spring Come to Brazil?
The protests there don't show any sign of slowing down.
Molly Crabapple Sent Us Sketches from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s Pretrial Hearings at Gitmo
Drawings from the secretive and odd military commission trial of the alleged mastermind of 9/11.
Costa Rican Drug Addicts Are Killing Turtles and Conservationists for Crack
Jairo Mora Sandoval was found beaten to death with sand stuffed in his mouth.
Talking to Besiktas' Bulldozer Joyriding Fans About Their Role In the Turkish Uprising
Çarşı have united people from all different backgrounds to fight against Erdogan's government.