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Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-in #72

Hello comic book lovers, is it me you're looking for? I've got a whole spread of neat crap for you to look at today. Also, I'd like to tell you how I feel about a few comics by Michael DeForge, Guy Delisle, Jacques Tardi, and others.

by Nick Gazin
Sep 21 2012, 1:00pm

Hello Comic Book Lovers,

Is it me you're looking for?

Here's a cool old Batman watch.

Here's a pretty drawing that is probably meant to be titillating but the lack of a vagina makes it more bizarre than sexy.

Here's a pretty illustration from the 70s. I think the guy getting punched out looks like Andy Samberg.

Look at these Akira tattoos.

Look at this cool old image from Heavy Metal.

Look at this thing. "Archizoom Associati 'Rose d’Arabia' dream bed 1967."

OK. Time for some comic reviews.

Lose #4
Michael Deforge

This book is a collection of comics, so I'm just going to throw out some bulleted synopses of each.

- The first page shows a young couple making out while watching a porno starring Dilbert and Nancy. The details of the porn seem hard to grasp.

- The next page involves a couple drawn in a different style breaking up naively and speaking in the way that dumb teenagers do. It's not spelled out whether or not they're the same people from the first page, but it seems like they might be.

- The next defined story is called "Someone I Know" and it involves the male character we saw before now in college and going on a date that ends at an S&M club. He blacks out and awakens to find himself transforming into something that has bondage style clothing for skin. He's all patent leather and spikes and zippers.

- The next comic tells a funny fictional history of the nonexistent Canadian Royal Family and their mutation into weird beings that never remove their clothes.

- The next comic is called "Sixties" and is about a girl in a small Canadian town where everyone has the same face. At some point in the 60s the entire town got the face of someone named Stacy, which is referred to in the comic as "Stacyface." Even the town's animals—right down to the worms—have it.

- The final page of comics is a series of short strips about a character named Abbey Loafer, which are all funny/violent.

There really is no one else like Michael DeForge in comics right now or, for that matter, ever before. You can compare the excitement you feel from his work to what you've felt for others. You can compare the amount of energy he pours into each comic to other cartoonists too. You can't, however, compare what he does to others except in a very general way. He is the only Michael Deforge there's ever been and everything he makes is a mindblower.

Buy it here

New York Mon Amour
Jacques Tardi

Tardi is one of the great French cartoonists, and Fantagraphics has been reprinting his work in English for the last few years now. Many of the comics they're publishing have never been translated into English before so it is a big, big deal that they are providing this service to all American lovers of comics. Thank you, Fantagraphics.

This hardcover volume collects four stories set in New York City. The first story, "Cockroach Killer," mixes elements of Naked Lunch and Kafka and tells the tale of an exterminator who discovers a conspiracy. It's a fun story if you like paranoid metaphysical noir. The next three comics are shorter. One of them, called "It's So Hard," tells the story of a fictional man who assassinated John Lennon because he looked exactly like him but with a hunchback. The comics in this book were all produced between 1979 and 1983, and it's clear that the death of John Lennon was still weighing on everybody's mind. A reference to John Lennon's murder is also made in "Cockroach Killer."

The next comic is called "Manhattan." It's not only my favorite comic in this book but it's one of the highlights of Tardi's career. The eight-page comic shows us a Manhattan that is a far cry from the one Woody Allen depicts. Each panel is crammed full of signage, logos, and people, all of them in focus at once. The Manhattan in this comic is ugly, crowded, lonely, and hopeless. The tone feels very similar to Taxi Driver. The art's great and it captures what New York in the early 80s was.

Guy Delisle
Drawn & Quarterly

Guy Delisle is an animator from Canada who is sent to out-of-the-way places and documents his experiences in graphic novels. His previous book, Pyong Yang, documented his time living and working in North Korea. It was released years before VICE's covertly filmed documentary about North Korea, but showed that he had to go through a lot of the same procedures and rituals that Shane Smith did. Jerusalem documents every interesting interaction and experience that Guy had while in Jerusalem, in the order that they happened, and as a result it drags on a bit. I don't hold that against the book though. Guy Delisle makes some of the most important and educational comics out there, and reading his comics is the next best thing to visiting a place firsthand.

Tom Gauld
Drawn & Quarterly

Tom Gauld retold the story of David and Goliath from Goliath's point of view. It's fun and pleasant, but didn't have to be a hardcover volume. It's good but not $20 good.

Hang Glider & Mud Mask
Brian McMullen and Jason Jagel

McSweeney's just published a handful of children's books illustrated by popular modern cartoonists. This is kind of a neat book. It's bound in a unique accordion-like way where each person drew one half of the book about a single character and then they grasp hands in the center of the book. The drawings are top-notch and really pretty, but I feel like kids will not care about this as much as their parents or adult relatives will. I like the concept, but I remember that as a child the children's books I liked the most had intensely detailed drawings of environments that you could imagine yourself in. Trouble for Trumpets, Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum, and most Dr. Seuss books featured fantastic backgrounds that you could stare at as a child. I just feel like kids will get this from their cool uncles and not care very much. However, if you are a cool uncle you might like this book very much!

Because Sometimes You Just Gotta Draw a Cover with Your Left Hand
Stephen Pastis
Andrew McMeel

I remember being young and buying the new Calvin and Hobbes, Foxtrot, and Farside collections that were published in this format. Now this is what is being published in the square daily strip collections. What a fucking bummer. Why do they keep mailing these to me? And why do they only mail Pearls Before Swine collections? They're not sending me Mutts collections. I like Mutts. Send me Mutts books.

Here's the Moebius image of the week. See you next time!

Previously - Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-In #71