In this column, I address such topics as comics, illustration, fine art, zines, and things of interest to people who like nerd stuff.
I have two large milestones that are looming over me right now. One is that I am nearing my 100th comics column for VICE. The other is that I turn 30 at the end of the month. I need to get rid of all the piles of books in my apartment, and I intend to review all the ones that have been piling up and ruining my life by the end of my 100th column. Will I be able to do it, or will depression about aging get in the way? We'll find out together!
This past week's comic was Brolar - Dude of the Atom by Frans Boukas. He's a hot new talent that James Harvey told me about. He's like the third coming of Geof Darrow. I wish you could see the comic twice as big as we ran it. It just gets better the bigger it is.
Sloane Leong made these shirts and is selling them at SDCC. Check out her blog and look out for a comic from her on the VICE site.
Gary Panter did this neat drawing of Miles Davis.
Here's Clint Eastwood and Frank Frazetta showing off original poster art. Frank was a good-looking guy.
Simon Hansellman made another Truth Zone comic with me in it. I don't really know much about Dane Cook, so I'm not sure why he calls me the Dane Cook of comic criticism. I'm sure it's not complimentary, though.
Another piece of original Dark Knight Returns art is going up for auction. The last one they put up fetched half a million. The one for auction now [above] might be my favorite thing Frank Miller ever did.
James Harvey posted this page from his dream journal, which I thought was pretty impressive.
While looking at old issues of All Star Comics I came across this other dream-themed comic cover.
Then Gabe Fowler from Desert Island posted this image on Facebook. All of these images about dreams came my way within a matter of minutes. I always like comics about dreams.
Lisa Hanawalt made this dancing cat lady gif. I love her stuff. This is fun, right?
Adventure Time Encyclopedia
What's better than Adventure Time right now? Nothing. It's like Beatlemania. Everybody loves this show. This book is a pretty great little encyclopedia of all the people and places in the show, and it's written by the voice actor who plays Marcelline's dad in character AS MARCELLINE'S DAD.
While the book mostly regurgitates information you know if you're familiar with the show, it does so as beautifully as possible. Marcelline's dad seems to hate most of the characters, which gets a little tiresome, but there are little notations scribbled in by Finn, Jake, and Marcelline to help add some lightness to it. There are also illustrations by Renee French and Tony Millionaire, who are both great. There's also an Ice King fanzine, portions of the Enchiridion, and a BMO instruction manual designed into it. I would have enjoyed more original content and less show facts, personally.
This book is very similar to the early Simpsons books Bart's Guide to Life and the Simpsons Scrapbook. Those books present a lot of new content, though, instead of just reminding you of things that you've already seen. I'd give this book a solid B.
The Legend of Zelda Hyrule Historia
This is a giant hardcover book split into thirds. The first third tells the story of the Zelda games in chronological order, the next third is all concept art, and the final third is an excerpt from the Japanese Zelda manga.
I love Zelda and I like this book. I wish there were more images of Zelda promotional art, posters, merchandise, and stuff like that. It'd be nice if this got more into Zelda's creation story.
The Art of Walt Disney
I spent a lot of time in high school staring at this book. My school had this in their library, and I spent a lot of time hiding there and reading every book that was even mildly visually interesting. I stole their copy of the Doonesbury comics that Garry Trudeau did while he was still at Yale. Someone had drawn dicks and obscene words onto the pages.
This book was first published in the 70s. It's a big friendly textbook about everything Disney. Every few years it's expanded and reprinted. It's pretty much a must if you like cartoons and own books. Lots of pretty pictures of Disney stuff. You just open it up and and sink into the sheer happiness of Disneyness. I love this thing.
This hardcover comic tells the story of Julio's life in a short graphic novel that was originally serialized in the second Love and Rockets series. I found it very dull then. Eric Reynolds, who is a smart, nice man, told me that I should check out the collected edition to truly appreciate it. I still think it's dull. Leslie Stein, reputable cartoonist, also likes this book a lot. I tried to get her to discuss it in this column but she got stage fright or something.
I love practically everything Gilbert Hernandez has published, but I don't love this. I think it's because I don't ever feel like I am with the characters on their journies. I read this comic as a passive, uninvested observer. Julo's life is full of bizarre tragedy, gay love, and mudslides. The comic begins with his birth and ends with his death. There's some ambitious stuff but I do not care.
I didn't like writing this review because the idea that Beto might see it and think "Well, fuck you too," isn't something I relish.
Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Card Series
These Topps books are great, but each one seems to have less of a hook. The first two were about contraband trading cards, the second was sort of a history of Topps in a way. This is a book relevant to Star Trek fans but not to anyone else. I assumed that the book would be collecting the original Star Trek cards, the black and white "Leaf Series."
The trading card series that this book collects was produced in 1976, years after the show had gone off the air. Some of the cards are pretty, some are bizarre, and for some reason Sulu isn't in a single one. It's a nice book but it's not great. I'd like to see some collections of more of the Topps sets that were driven by funny drawings and had a rebellious bent to them like Wacky Packages and junk.
Thanks for reading my column! See you soon!
Previously - Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-In #92