The big comics news is as follows.
1) Jerry Robinson, the man who almost definitely invented the Joker and Robin, has passed on. So did Joe Simon who co-created Captain America.
2) Here's an old TV show in which Rob Liefeld and Ty Templeton taught people how comics are made:
3) People are all amped up about the new Batman trailer:
4) Jon Vermilyea and I are no longer enemies. We talked it over and I apologized for anything I'd done wrong and then we shook hands while both Jeff Newelt and Koren Shadmi took photos. Hooray for making peace!
I'm still locked in a Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest state of mind so this week I'm reviewing my con haul. It's the habit of a lot of people I know to lay out everything they got on the floor and stand over it and take a photo but I don't think I can get high up enough to get all the stuff I got in frame. Thanks to everyone who gave me their books or said they liked this column. I kind of thought I was a pariah. Maybe I am and all my detractors are just grumbling in corners or something.
Also, Dan Nadel wanted me to point out that he and Bill Kartopolous helped organize the event. It was pretty much the perfect event for people who like comics, drawings, illustration, prints, crafts and the most beautiful, interesting girls you ever imagined in one space at the same time.
Here are reviews of everything I got at the Brooklyn Graohics and Comics Fest. Ordered in a general best to least best order although everything I was handed or picked up was pretty great.
Floating World Comics
This is a little art catalog of images by Kilian Eng that feel like their stills from an animated film project that Moebius never actually made. Every page is a mind blower and Kilian Eng is definitely an artist to watch out for. This guy has the goods in spades. Just look:
Black Mass #6
After multiple issues of build-up, the Great Punk-Off storyline climaxed and reached its explosive conclusion. For those unfamiliar with Patrick Kyle's work: What's wrong with you? Go buy everything you can that he makes. He's one of the best new guys. His stuff is clearly influenced by Ben Jones, Mat Brinkman, and Brian Chippendale but his work stands on its own merits. The characters all speak in a goofitized version of English and the confines of reality are very soft.
Gangsta Rap Posse #2
I've wanted this comic to exist for at least a couple of years now. It finally does and I have it and I'm so happy. If you didn't read Gangsta Rap Posse #1, this comic is about a rap group that is modeled on what a young dumb kid might imagine NWA's day-to-day lives are like. They shoot it out with the cops, treat women like shit, and hardly ever actually do any writing or recording.
The comic begins with a SWAT team mistakenly attacking the house across the street from where the GRP are staying and they use a missile launcher to kill a ton of cops who retaliate by riddling GRP's bitches with bullets. The GRP almost get arrested but their Jewish stereotype manager saves them. They then attack a white power rally where they kill everyone except for two Nazi ladies, who they run trains on and then immediately sell into sexual slavery.
Meanwhile the Mayor is collaborating on a plan to kill the GRP with an old funk musician who resents the GRP for sampling his music and not paying him royalties. The mayor's problem with the GRP stems from them having gangbanged his wife and then sold a tape of it called "G.R.P. Gangbangs Mrs. Mayor." The Mayor then cries as he laments that,"Now my wife won't even touch me. I can't satisfy her. All she wants are those big black cocks…". Anyway, the comic ends with the GRP making the George Clinton stand-in sign over the rights to his music for free before they kill him. Then they ambush the Mayor in his home where he is beating off to the tape of them fucking his wife. Then they kill him. I love this comic so much.
I got into a pretty huge argument about it over at the Comics Journal site. You can read that debate by clicking this link here.
The review that was posted there hardly discussed the comic and was mostly about racism/racial stuff. People were saying there was no way that this comic's main theme was race since it featured black guys shooting Klansmen and neo-Nazis. While the characters do make allusions to the fascination with black dick sizes I'd say it comments on race about as much as the nazis in Indiana Jones are somehow a commont on the Holocaust. One of the guys on TCJ also claimed that gangsta rap was intended for a white audience, which is fucking ridiculous. This comic rules and you will probably love it unless you secretly don't like black people.
Kid Mafia #1
This is a very substantial 32-page mini comic by Michael Deforge, a super productive modern comics master. It's unbelievable how many ideas this guy has and how quickly he can just pump out a million great-looking comics with outlandish story ideas that are somehow made relatable by the familiar ways that the characters will interact. This one is about the titulous "Kid Mafia," run by a high school dropout skater named Frank DeMeo. For most of the comic we see Frank and various underlings of his doing normal hopeless teenage actives like loitering outside a store, egging a house, skating a pool with limited success, and playing video games. As they're doing these typical teen loser activities they're also discussing their crime organizations plans. If you didn't read English you would just assume they were talking about girls and drugs or something. Then at the end they kill a guy and scatter his body parts, which is kinda nuts. Like all of DeForge's work it's both bizarre and mundane at the same time and makes a lot of sense. Everything he does is worth a looking at and an owning.
This square little funny book is a hilarious story of the author teaching a weekly comics class to eleven-year-old kids. The kids all hate him and learn nothing, although they do make the guy trying to teach them very insecure, bringing out the worst in him. I can't imagine what it's like to try to teach young children how to make comics. I guest lectured some classes. Just keeping the students looking at you is impossible, and I was talking to classrooms of adults. So the kids make fun of Matt until he gets fired and they're all happy. This comic is so good. Really good comedic timing and development of relationships that kind of remind me of the audience of kids in the early Mad Howdy Doody parody.
There are a lot of awful Tumblr pages being turned into awful books. I don't think this was a Tumblr but it's like a really great one printed in blue ink and put together by comicful Jew Sammy Harkham. It's basically just one great image from a monster magazine after the next. It's pretty perfect.
Night Business #3
Night Business is about two lone vigilantes who protect strippers and other sex workers from being raped and murdered. There's a masked mystery murderer stalking the night and some other shit. The last issue featured the main character getting his fingernails pulled out and other over the top forms of torture. It was so awesome. In this issue we discover that the masked stabber is both a high-ranking corporate figure and also part of a cult. There's an awesome sex scene too.
What's most important about this issue is that Ben Marra's making things look a little less shiny and getting more into a rough/ratty style that's a lot like Pettibon or Panter. It looks just great. Mm-MM!
Chameleon No 1
This book starts off with a strong Jonny Negron story about some weirdness. There's a one-pager I don't understand. There's a comic by Lala about wolf women. There's a disgusting comic by Jason Fischer about a Mr. Potato Head Man who has disgusting sex with himself. There's a pretty/powerful drawing by Angie Wang. At the end there's a comic that's like Usagi Yojimbo if Jim Woodring drew it. It's all printed in purple ink so that's neat.
Open Country Issue One
In this great mini comic Michael Deforge presents a world in which artists are people who can project holograms from their brain and going to see an art show involves a person sitting in a corner of a room while a huge three-dimensional form is projected from their minds. A married couple go to see one of these shows and decide they want to become good at this art form. They take enhancement drugs to do so, and the comic ends on a note of impending menace. Like my nightmares, much of the comic appears dimly lit. Like a lot of the best people making comics, it feels heavily influenced by David Cronenberg.
This mini comic has some sort of glittery substance applied to the cover and is a bunch of comics that Lizz has done about herself and also about her main female character, Caroll. We at VICE love everything Lizz does and is. She finally actually put her name on one of her comics although it's just her URL, Lizzhickey.com, in teeny letters at the very bottom of the back cover.
There's all kinds of rad stuff like a comic about things not to do when you break up with someone, the comics about her marriage to Ketih Jones that we ran on this site and some about when she cut off her trademark bun and got her bowl cut. Oh Lizz. Why didn't I ask you to marry me when I had the chance? FUCK! FUCCCCCCCCK!
I'd heard about Sparky's comics about Christian teenagers but had never seen them until seeing this book. We're all so used to the Peanuts living in a world without adults that seeing Schulz draw tall people is worth the price of admission alone. The main character is some lanky and pious teenage boy who's never given a name. He volunteers a lot at church but also has typical cartoon teenage problems of the early 60s.In the back are a bunch of illustrations that Schulz did of more familiar looking Peanutsy kids that were drawn for a book about teaching Sunday School or something. This is really only for hardcore Peanuts fans but there are a lot of you/us/them out there. The printing quality of the book is pretty lousy though. The pages are so thin that you can see the images from the next page on the back of the one you're looking at. Also am I the only person who reads the title of this book and immediately thinks of Hitler Youth?
Quickie Vol. 3
By Various Artists
This is a 12-page drawing zine limited to a hand numbered 40 copies and it features some pretty and dirty drawings by Roxie Vizcarra, Melody Often, Aimee Fleck, Rebecca Mock, and Michael Clayton. It's a teeny little mini-zine but every drawing is skillful and it is a totally neat little object.
Alien Invasion Vol. 1: A Guide
Lala Albert's new mini comic is mostly drawings of nude alien women, like she likes to draw. There is accompanying text to explain what is going on with them and to describe their technology and physiology. In the back there are some women who are demons instead of aliens but they are still pretty similar, just a lot furrier and eviler. In the back there are some rad little drawings in a similar vein by Ines Estrada and Carly Schmitt. Good little mini. The cover is blue paper with a cutout color sticker put on it.
Complex Number 2
The first issue of Complex concerned a nebbish who wants to spend time in some sort of sex mall called Fuckplex but he can't so he sets out on a hero's journey. The second issue touches on that story a little but mostly focuss on Kuzma's Ducktectives, a couple of duck children who try to solve crimes that have led to the sister's possession by a demon that is on its own mission. There's also lots of weird horror and humor. There's also a backup story by Alex Schubert.
Honest About Being Bad Comics
The title's no lie, the comics inside this thing are terrible. I like most of them anyway. I also like the title page.
Lamar went and made a funny little mini that's just drawings of girls farting. Way to go, Lamar. But no seriously, WAY TO GO.
The Holy Ghost's Guide To The Stars!
This was handed to me by the only person at the BGACF dressed in a costume. She was wearing all white and her nose was painted yellow and she told me that she was the Holy Ghost. And then she gave me this, a funny and informative little zine that explains the meaning behind different star shapes. On the back it says that it is "dedicated to everyone that believes in me." There is no contact information or credited artist/author. All in all, pretty great zine.
Pizza Party: Four Stickers
These are four awesome stickers that Rob Corradetti drew of weird and nasty slices.
This is a big drawing zine with a hand silkscreened Jon Vermillyea cover. I like the cover. There's a True Chubbo comic inside by Ray and Tomomi Sohn that I like also. I don't really care about the rest though.
I Remember November
It's hard to say if this is a comic or a series of drawings with captions. Either way I basically like it. Nice drawings. It also came with a bunch of little postcards on watercolor paper.
Previously - #41