Hello Comic Booklings,
I am Nick Gazin, and I review the comics. I am the decider! I know what is good and bad, and I can tell you! Now the truth can be told! Here are reviews of ten things. I provide links for to buy the things, but as always, please patronize your local comic and book stores first.
#1. Weird Love: You Know You Want It
Edited by Clizia Gussoni and Craig Yoe (IDW/Yoe Books)
This is a great collection of unintentionally hilarious and bizarre romance comic stories from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. It's titled Weird Love. Isn't all love kind of weird, though? In Devo's song "Love Without Anger," it goes:
Why can't you have your cake and eat it too / Why believe in things that make it tough on you / Why scream and cry when you know it's through / Why fall in love when there's better things to do
This book is the best old-comics compilation Yoe Books has made yet. It's a nice size, and the design choices aren't too obnoxious, but they keep insisting on putting the page numbers inside a big colorful circle. Why do that? Why add unnecessary elements that distract from someone else's work?
The comics in here are incredible. There's "I Fell for a Commie," where a woman falls in love with a guy even though he's a communist. Don't worry, though. In the end, it turns out he's really an undercover FBI agent.
There's "Love of a Lunatic," about an unhinged woman who falls in love with a sane man.
There's "Taming of the Brute," where a lady believes she's whipped this jerk into submission. When they get married, he reveals it was just a ploy, and she's relieved he's still a real man as he spanks her for her insolence. Did I mention that these were originally for little kids?
There's "Mini Must Go," about how women are distracting dudes at work with their short skirts, riding on the mini-skirt craze.
There's "There's No Romance in Rock and Roll," which is about how terrible rock music is as well as the people who like it.
These teens seem awfully well-behaved considering this comic is about how awful rock 'n' roll music is.
There's "Love, Honor, and Swing, Baby," about hippies getting married.
The one that made the most sense to me was "Weep, Clown, Weep!" about a woman who can't understand why her boyfriend would degrade himself by being a clown. I think anyone in the arts knows that feeling.
Buy Weird Love.
#2. No Dogs on Beach
By Brad Elterman (Bywater Bros. Editions and Smoke Room)
Brad Elterman is one of maybe five good rock photographers. This little book collects photos of pretty and famous musicians in California from the 70s to now. Sparks, the Ramones, Tyler the Creator, and Debbie Harry, along with Steve Jones's dick in a speedo as he rises out of a swimming pool. All the musicians who are cool to photograph are in this cool book being cool and photographed.
Buy No Dogs on Beach.
#3. Common Side Effects
By Ed Templeton (Deadbeat Club)
Ed Templeton is the skateboard man who photographed his way into the world's heart. He makes a lot of photo zines, and this is definitely one of them. It's got lots of pix of beach scenes, including a cop catching a seal in a net.
Buy Common Side Effects.
#4. Hawd Tales #1
By Devin Flynn (Revival House Press)
This is a total rip-off/homage of Real Deal Comics, and you know what? I am fine with that.
Buy Hawd Tales.
#5. Lon Chaney Talks
By Pat Dorian
This is a fun little cartoony biographical comic about Lon Chaney, the man of a thousand faces. The art style is sort of like Seth's, and the story goes back and forth between actual testimonials and made-up stories. Fun stuff.
Buy Lon Chaney Talks.
#6. Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck "Return to Plain Awful" and Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck "The Son of the Sun"
By Don Rosa (Fantagraphics)
These books are hard for me to look at, like op art. They feel like a cheap imitation of Carl Barks. Carl Barks was a comic-book genius with a perfect line and economical mark-making. Don Rosa is imitating Barks as closely as he can, but it still feels off. It seems like drawing cartoon Disney ducks isn't his natural inclination. When he gets the chance, he draws all these extra lines and tries to add more detail than is consistent with Carl Barks. One side of him is struggling to imitate Barks, while another side of him is struggling to break free of the confines of working in another artist's style.
Buy Uncle Scrooge.
By Gabriel Corbera (Space Face Books)
There are some OK pages and textures occasionally, but ultimately, this is all style and no substance. Big nothing.
#8. Mould Map 4: Eurozone Special
Why is it cool to draw bad on purpose? A lot of people claim to like this now. In five years, it will be forgotten and another new bad thing will be the bad thing everyone tries to pretend to love.
Buy Mould Map.
Edited by Nate "Igor" Smith
This is a little zine collecting photos of artists that Nate "Igor" Smith took, along with pieces of art by the artists he photographed. My sister and I are in here, and we are the only good artists. Riffing on the "draw this turtle" ad has been done to death and is not an interesting idea. Don't buy this.
#10. Omaha Beach on D-Day
By Robert Capa, Jean-David Morvan, and Severine Trefouel (First Second)
The first half of this book is about the storming of Normandy from the point of view of Robert Capa, a photographer who documented it. The second half of the book are his photos of D-Day and some essays about him. This book feels like it's trying to do too many things at once. Just because something could be a comic doesn't mean that it should be. The subject is interesting, the photos are good, the drawings are good, and the writing's OK.
I also think the computer-inserted dialogue balloons look cheap and outlandish on the organic-looking drawings.
Buy Omaha Beach on D-Day.
Follow Nick Gazin on Instagram and check back next week for more reviews.