Hey You Comic Bookies,
I am Nick Gazin, and this is my column in which I tell you what to buy in the way of comics, zines, art books, and anything I deem aesthetically notable.
Here are reviews of ten things.
#1. Soft Float
By Valentine Gallardo (Space Face Books)
You know what the major good thing in comics is these days? Female Belgian cartoonists. There are some good male Belgian cartoonists, but women Belgians are making the best stuff lately. If you look at this site, you might notice that I'm publishing a lot of Belgian cartoonists. I think they just have Tintin in their DNA where they "get" the language of comics on a high level. They all also seem to have James Ensor in their DNA because they all make comics that feel like odd and fun dreams. Is life dreamier in Belgium? I've been there, and it is.
The title perfectly describes the feeling of the comics. You seem to softly float through the worlds that Valentine draws. There are active parties and complex get-togethers. Human girls interact with animal people. It's all like a collection of cherished dreams put to paper.
Valentine Gallardo is one of my favorite cartoonists. You can read about half the comics in this book on VICE.
Buy Soft Float.
#2. The Worst of Eerie Publications
By Mike Howlett (IDW/Yoe Books)
The comics collected in this book are horror comics from the 1960s and 70s that are ridiculous, exploitative, misogynistic, pornographically violent and hilarious—you know, the good stuff.
The covers from these comics are the stuff that angry, horny juvenile delinquent dreams and nightmares are made of. A vampire pours beetles onto a restrained woman for some reason. A witch has a giant device that squashes up human bodies for an unknown purpose.
The comics contained within are sloppy and ridiculous stories that make even less sense than the ones in Tales From the Crypt. Here's one where a couple get teeny heads.
My favorite is this one about a sentient cactus that hurls an ax into the back of his owner.
Buy The Worst of Eerie Publications.
#3. Ding Dong Circus and Other Stories, 1967—1974
By Sasaki Maki (Breakdown Press)
The testimonial on the back of the book is by writer Haruki Murakami, who had Sasaki Maki illustrate the cover to his first book, Hear the Wind Sing. I really don't need to say much more than that. This book is Haruki Murakami-endorsed, so at the very least go take a look at it.
Sasaki Maki made surrealistic arty manga that feels very 60s. It looks a little like Peter Max drawings or early Crumb stuff, before he got into cross-hatching. If you're interested in trippy, hippie shit and like weird manga, this is the book you were seeking. It's also beautifully designed, and the work is presented in a friendly and pretty way.
Buy Ding Dong Circus.
#4. Tintin: The Art of Hergé
By Herge Museum and Michel Daubert (Abrams Comicarts)
In Belgium there stands a museum dedicated to the art of Tintin's creator, Hergé. For those who can't afford to go to Belgium to visit this museum, there's always this book, which presents many of the neat things that appear in the museum, but in book form. The front and back cover are thick cardboard, and the edges of the paper are red. It evokes the rocket that took Tintin and pals to the moon. This is a beautiful addition to your Tintin library.
Buy Tintin: The Art of Hergé.
#5. Scuzzi #2
By John Pham
John Pham made another little risograph magazine of pages he stole from old computer and video game magazines. The risographed colors appear to glow and bleed like a VHS tape of a fondly remembered Christmas morning when you were given a video game console that got you through long stretches of an otherwise miserable and boring childhood.
Bug John Pham to buy Scuzzi #2.
#6. Pachecomics #1
By Inés Estrada
I love these comics by Inés Estrada. We ran pretty much all of them on VICE. The comic is about a bunch of animal stoner roommates, which has sort of become an oversaturated concept in comics these days. There's Boys Club by Matt Furie; all of Ben Jones's stuff; Megg, Mogg and Owl; Lauren Monger's stuff; and this. I like all of those comics, and I like this one too.
By John F. Malta
John F. Malta makes comics for VICE sometimes, and he made this comic too. Three friends discuss the best comedy movies ever made, before robbing the donut shop of Mt. Moldy. After being chased by a giant spider, they escape to another dimension through a portal in a garbage can. There they get up to even more mischief. One of them goes on a date, and the other two kill a guy and steal his car. You really just have to read it—it's a weird comic.
#8. Truth Zone "The Complete Bootleg"
By Simon Hanselmann (Comics Workbook)
I gave $50 to Frank Santoro's Kickstarter for his comic book flophouse for a book and instead he sent me a cardboard box full of comics printed on loose papers in a folder inside a numbered box. I wanted a book, not a box. I already find it annoying to try to read comics on Tumblr because you have to zoom in and pan around. Now I have to open a box, unwrap some paper, open a folder, and then carefully look through papers.
I'm starting my own comic book compound. It's called Nick Gazin's Comic Book Heaven's Gate. I need $50,000 to buy bunkbeds, gruel, and matching Nikes for all my cult members. If you donate to my Kickstarter, I'll tell you you're getting an iPad and send you a sack of rocks from Simon Hanselmann's backyard. Paypal your donations to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "rock sack comic cult donation."
Read Truth Zone online.
#9. Drawing Is Magic
By John Hendrix (STC Craft/A Melanie Flaick Book/Abrams)
This is a book that is meant to be given to kids to encourage them to start using sketchbooks and comes with a bunch of little ideas and assignments to prompt them into using their imaginations. It is a great little book, and I tried it out myself.
The only flaws I found are that it says that using pencil is not allowed, which is terrible. An artist's ability to draw with pencil is the true test and also the best way to learn how to draw. To discourage using pencils is lunacy. It also feels like some of the assignments weren't thought through all the way. The book asks you to list 100 things you like to draw, and I only could come up with 60.
Buy Drawing Is Magic.
#10. Anders and the Comet
By Gregory Mackay (Allen and Unwin)
Greg Mackay does comics for VICE every now and again, and he also made this book. It's about cute animal children having adventures during their summer vacation. There isn't some major quest they're on. One event sort of leads to the next without any major plot escalation in a way that will remind you of what it was like to be a child and suddenly have three months of nothing to do but play in the woods.
That's it for this week, see you next Wednesday. Follow me on Instagram.