Comics and More (was Re: Best of 2001)

Nat Case ncase at hedbergmaps.com
Tue Jan 15 19:35:36 EST 2002


>On Mon, 14 Jan 2002, Melissa Proffitt wrote:
>I hear there's a great shop in Minneapolis
>as well.

Jenwa noted Dreamhaven, which I agree is a great store. So is Big 
Brain Comics in downtown Minneapolis: lots of indies, and an owner 
who obviously really cares about the form.

>  - Bone (Jeff Smith) and its prequel, Rose (Charles Vess): Bone
>    is more fun than Rose.  Bone's serious, and funny, and all in
>    all a wonderful story that takes place in a magical land.
>    Another great find for DWJ fans.  Particularly the stupid,
>    stupid rat creatures and their obsession with quiche.

I just got done reading through the whole set (it's up to issue 45, 
and I think 46 is out right around now). The characters are 
simultaneously emotionally believable and enormously entertaining, 
and while the mystical background has the numbing quality much of 
that sort of thing does, it is always broken up with surprising and 
often funny characterization. Jeff Smith has a wonderful sense of 
comic timing, but he uses it in the framework of a adventure that 
starts off picaresque and gradually emerges as a heroic arc. There's 
a little over two years left until he finishes the story.

I should note that ROSE is also written by Smith, but illustrated by 
Vess. I agree Bone is more fun, but Vess is such a pleasure to look 
at...

I really love Gaiman's independent graphic novels with Dave McKean: 
Mr Punch, Violent Cases, Signal to Noise. He manages to convincingly 
and spookily mix the imagined and "real" worlds. The first two are 
drawn in the framework of a memoir, and have some relationship to 
Gaiman's childhood.

Has anyone else followed Chris Ware's "Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest 
Boy in the World?" I found it a difficult but really provoking book, 
and I love what he does playung around with the sequential quality of 
comics, with a complex, snakes-and-ladders quality to many of his 
pages.

Finally, though I don't know that I'd recommend it as such, I've been 
following Dave Sim's Cerebus for years. He's played so many mindgames 
in his 20 years of publication (he swears the series is over as of 
monthly issue 300), that it's impossible where his viewpoint actually 
sits. But the pages are filled with the vitriol of gender wars; the 
main character is a misogynistic, hermaphroditic, heavy-drinking, 
ultra-cynical aardvark. It's an acquired taste.

Nat
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