Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-In #56

Until I can get things under control, I'm returning to my old style of reviewing the books that were hanging out on top of my toilet.

Dear Everyone,

Here's the Moebius image of the week. It's not an image at all! It's a commercial for a Japanese drink called Pocari Sweet starring Cindy Crawford and based on concept sketches by Moebius. Also I got all of this from The Airtight Garage, the Moebius fan Tumblr page.

Also, Graphitti Designs still has volumes four through nine of their signed and numbered series of hardcover Moebius books. They range in price from 40 to 50 bucks but are usually going for a lot more on Ebay. It's amazing that they still have copies in stock seeing as they were printed 20 years ago. I recommend getting Volume 7 the most. If you have volumes 1, 2, or 3 and would like to sell or trade for them please get in touch with me. I want 'em.

My house is so full of piles of books that I am embarrassed to have company over. At first there was just the pile next to my bed, then there was the bathroom pile, then there was the kitchen pile, and then a second bed pile, and then an additional kitchen pile. It's bad. They just keep showing up in the mail. I'm going to return to my old shitty review style until I clear out my ridiculous piles which are always getting knocked over and making me look like I lost my mind. From best to worst, here are the books that were hanging out on top of my toilet.

Setting the Standard: Comics By Alex Toth 1952 -1954
Edited By Greg Sadowski

A book with 400 pages of Alex Toth comics is a dream come true. Toth is one of the early greats of comics. Many of the golden age and early silver age comic artists made drawings that were charmingly crude, but there were a few supergeniuses among them. Alex Toth's art is obviously a cut above a lot of his peers. His understanding of how to use areas of black is unequaled. Cartoonists like Frank Miller and Charles Burns, who really like to use as much black as possible, owe a lot to Toth as a guy who really broke new ground in blacking it up. If you want to learn something about shading and composition you go get this book and just black out.

Little Lulu's Pall Tubby: The Atomic Violin And Other Stories
John Stanley
Dark Horse

Tubby, you chubby little pumpkin. What are you doing on that scale with all your deserts?! Take your shoes off, too. I love Tubby. He's a rad little plumper who has a few different types of adventures which he repeats over and over. Sometimes he goes to violin class but he's such a terrible violinist that he uses his violin as a ping pong paddle or a toy boat. The rest are usually about him causing trouble for his parents. My absolute favorite comics are when his cousin Chubby comes to visit. Chubby is identical to Tubby except that he's about a foot shorter. Man it's cute.

Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives
Edited by Blake Bell

Ditko's good but he's not great. He's contributed to great things and is very talented but he's not a super talent. Alex Toth, now there's a supertalent. Toth can do anything. I look at Toth's work and think, "How did he do that?!" When I look at Ditko's drawings I think, "All his faces look the same and this isn't skillful compared to the greats of this era of comics." I personally think the guy who followed Ditko's run on Spiderman brought a lot more to the series.

That said, I still like looking at Ditko's stuff and think his work is valid. He's not a great drawer but he is clearly full of intense feelings and a lot of rage. Although his actual rendering skills aren't as strong as someone like Toth his ideas, feelings, and visual concepts are strong. This book collects various sci-fi and horror comics he drew that are all pretty fun to look at and have neat visual ideas littered throughout.

If you're interested in Steve Ditko I would stick with the first volume in this series. It's just grinning demons torturing people and visits to Hell and apocalyptic Hell. Everything that's followed has been good but comparatively chaste.

Diane Noomin

Diane Noomin edited the girl comics anthology Twisted Sisters in the 70s and made comics about her campy alter-ego, Didi Glitz. It deals with feeling unattractive and dressing kinda like a drag queen and being dissatisfied with relationships. The Didi Glitz comics were produced at a time when doing art about the hidden perversions of the 50s was big. Pee Wee Herman, Blue Velvet, John Waters, a lot of stuff Devo did—it all fits in with this book.

Too Much Coffee Man
Dark Horse Comics

I let my roommate review this one since he read it and was really into it. Here's his attempt at explaining why.

"Disclaimer: I happened to be going through a too-much coffee phase
when I started reading Too Much Coffee Man, so this review might be a little biased.

I was consistently entertained by the Too Much Coffee Man compilation,
and on several occasions, I laughed out loud. Some of the antics,
dialogues, and ideas in the book bounced around in my mind long after
I'd finish reading."

Check out my roommate's band at this website.

The Great American Cereal Book
Marty Girlin & Topher Ellis

It's a book about cereal. It was made to be bought by people as gifts for friends of theirs who like cereal. Like the Garbage Pail Kids book which Abrams also released, it resembles the packaging of the thing it is about. One thing I've been realizing lately is how successful the advertising of the 80s and early 90s was on me because I'm still programmed to be visually excited by it. There are cereal boxes for most of the graphics that I was excited by as a kid: TMNT, 1989 Batman movie merchandise aesthetic, Ghostbusters, and Tiny Toons all still make me want to buy stuff. Is there anything more beautiful than the cereal aisle of a grocery store? Best fucking display of art ever.

Citizen Rex
Mario & Gilbert Hernandez
Dark Horse

I love everything Gilbert Hernandez does except for this. The third Hernandez brother, Mario, was involved with this one and I just find his comic book efforts totally disappointing. It's too hard to follow.

Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy: Advice From Rock's Ultimate Survivor
Ozzy Osbourne
Grand Central Publishing

Medical advice from Ozzy Osbourne?! Now I've read everything. I didn't read all of this book though. It's a compilation of a column he had in which people send in questions concerning medical problems and Ozzy responds. Sometimes he tells funny stories about almost dying, actually dying, or going insane on drugs, but a lot of the time he's just like,"You're crazy." You get what this book's about pretty quickly.

See you next week!

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Previously - Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-In #55