Category Archives: Comics

Review: ‘Truth is Fragmentary: Travelogues & Diaries’ by Gabrielle Bell

Truth-Fragmentary-Gabrielle-Bell-comics

“Truth is Fragmentary” is the name of Gabrielle Bell’s latest comics memoir collection and it says it all. Think about it. Truth is indeed fragmentary. You can point out honest, event blunt, bits of truth all you want. People will process it however they choose. Some will deny what you said. Some will misunderstand. Some will have never even come close to getting it. Maybe a few will completely see it your way. It’s a carnival we live in. Thankfully, we have astute and witty observers like Gabrielle Bell. If you’re new to her work, or if you happen to enjoy sly humor, then this is the book for you.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Journalism, Gabrielle Bell, Travel, Travelogue, Uncivilized Books

Review: ‘Trepanation: Elective Surgery You Need Like A Hole in the Head’

Emi-Gennis-Trepanation

Trepanation, the controversial elective surgery, is not for everyone, to say the least. However, “Trepanation: Elective Surgery You Need Like A Hole in the Head,” the minicomic by Emi Gennis, is for everyone to enjoy. This latest work, which originally appeared on The Nib, is now available in print.

So what on earth is trepanation? It is the creation of a hole in the skull believed to relieve pressure and return you to the blissful state you were supposedly in as an infant. You will find this to be both hilarious and informative, and how often does that happen? Not often enough. Emi Gennis continues to work with some of the most downright strange content that any cartoonist has dared to tackle.

Visit Emi Gennis, learn about her work, and check out where you can get her comics right here.

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Filed under Comics, Emi Gennis, Minicomics

Review: HENNI by Miss Lasko-Gross

Z2-Comics-Henni-Miss-Lasko-Gross

With characters and settings removed from everyday reality, Miss Lasko-Gross has set out with “Henni,” published by Z2 Comics, to tell a fable about faith in a most stripped down manner. Henni, our main character, like all the rest of the characters, is some sort of feline creature. She lives in something like a grim version of a Dr. Seuss world. The rules of society are cut and dry: obey and don’t ask questions. And, by all means, especially if you’re a female, follow orders. Your eye is directed to a graphic novel with a distinctive focus in a pared down surreal landscape.

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Filed under Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Miss Lasko-Gross, Z2 Comics

Review: HARBINGER: FAITH #0

Harbinger: Faith #0 Variant Cover B by Lucy Knisley

Harbinger: Faith #0 Variant Cover B by Lucy Knisley

Faith Herbert is a “heavy woman,” as she puts it, but she’s totally fine with that. She loves her body and herself. In today’s society, she’s bucking the systematic glorification of supermodels–but she’s not losing any sleep over it. She’s even bucking the superhero requirements of uber-athletic builds. And, of course, she’s Valiant Entertainment’s answer to the all too typical overtly sexual depiction of women in comics.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, Valiant Entertainment

Jeremy Eaton Holiday Art Show in Seattle, Saturday, December 13, Noon to 6pm

Holiday-Art-Show-Jeremy-Eaton-Studios

For our Seattle readers, be sure to stop by and check out the boldly ironic paintings of one of Seattle’s favorite sons, Jeremy Eaton. He regularly graces the pages of our favorite alternative weekly, The Stranger. Jeremy Eaton is a published cartoonist, illustrator and painter living in Seattle. For his paintings he utilizes discarded plywood he finds in the shipyards of the city, applying acrylic paint in bold splashes of color and overlapping strokes of black in order to replicate the pulp printing of the comic books and magazines of his youth, often sublimating this with wider cultural themes and commentary. Be sure to visit Jeremy right here.

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Filed under Art, Comics, Illustration, Jeremy Eaton, Painting, Seattle, The Stranger

Review: THE VALIANT #1 (of 4)

The-Valiant-Paolo-Rivera

Gilad has great powers, really great powers, as The Eternal Warrior. But his arch-foe is just as powerful. Hey, he might even be Satan or pretty high up there. He’s The Immortal Enemy. And these two have been duking it out for coming on, what, ten thousand years? That’s pretty long! Well, Gilad is a proud fella and pride never goes out of style.

But Gilad is struggling to adjust to the 21st century. He just might be due for an oil change and a new sidekick. Enter a new breed of Geomancer, this is a young blonde who might have let her alias get the better of her. That will happen when you start to believe your work in public relations is actually real work. This time, the eternal battle is going to require something more. This time, they’re going to need The Valiant!

If you’re new to the Valiant universe, this is a perfect time to dive into an epic story from New York Times best-selling writers Jeff Lemire (Green Arrow, Animal Man) & Matt Kindt (RAI, Mind MGMT) and Eisner Award-winning artist Paolo Rivera (Daredevil). All systems go. Everything here is smooth and appealing. You’ve got your epic battle and a nice mix of humor, intrigue, and adventure. Sounds like a sweet deal.

“The Valiant #1″ is available as of December 10. For more details, visit our friends at Valiant Entertainment right here.

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Filed under Comics, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Paolo Rivera, Valiant Entertainment

Comic Arts Los Angeles (CALA) Debuts a Comic Arts Festival

Comic Arts Los Angeles at Think Tank Gallery

Comic Arts Los Angeles at Think Tank Gallery

Comic Arts Los Angeles (CALA), a new comic arts festival in Los Angeles, took place this last Saturday, December 6, in a walk-up art gallery, Think Tank Gallery. This is the first major comic arts festival of its kind in the second largest city in the United States, taking its place alongside such notable comic arts festivals as MoCCA Comic Arts Festival in New York City, Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, and Short Run in Seattle, Washington.

Located in a part of the city tucked near Gallery Row and the Arts District, the actual site is amid a dazzling display of predominantly Mexican businesses, both storefront and street vendors. One banner atop the entrance and staff for the event lead you in. And so you climb the stairs and you are instantly transported to a world of indie comics. As Jen Wang, one of the founders of CALA, said in a panel discussion at the event, “When it comes to breaking into comics, you just make them and you’ve broken in.” In that spirit, you come to this event which is a mix of creators relatively new to breaking into comics along with many seasoned indie veterans attached to various publishers.

CALA-Think-Tank-Gallery

When it come to breaking into comics, while it may seem simple enough, there are a myriad of approaches, motivations, and sensibilities. I can tell you from my vantage point, as someone who has broken in, that there is and there is not a typical cartoonist profile. Referring back to this panel from the show, the last panel of the day in fact, Wang led a discussion on how to sustain a life in comics. Among the comments made, Ron Regé Jr. spoke to the fact that he never ever expected to make a dime off of his comics. And that pretty much says it all in one fell swoop because there are always cartoonists ready to make money from their work right along with others who don’t focus on demographics and the like.

Comic Arts Los Angeles

Comic Arts Los Angeles

A comic arts festival like CALA focuses on the more unusual and offbeat type of comics that are more prone to taking risks with the market. You will see table after table of minicomics and professionally bound books on a multitude of subjects and themes. There are no superhero comics, per se. In this context, a superhero theme is possible but most likely in a ironic tone. The overriding theme is personal and artistic. Of course, major publishers of comic books are hip to what the alternative comics crowd are up to and will collaborate with them from time to time. For some years now, major publishers have been publishing the best that emerges from self-published cartoonists. So, in a sense, the indie cartoonists are akin to stand-up comedians who may get picked up by a network. However, it’s complicated. Some cartoonists try to capitalize on trends, others follow their own muse. Ultimately, it’s quality work that wins out and transcends all these issues.

Ellen T. Crenshaw and "Colonial Comics: New England, 1620 – 1750"

Ellen T. Crenshaw and “Colonial Comics: New England, 1620 – 1750″

I was speaking with cartoonist Ellen T. Crenshaw who is a fitting example of a professional cartoonist/illustrator with an independent sensibility. Take a look at her work and you see an engaging style. She was pleased to see a great turn-out for CALA. In her experience with the Boston comics scene, it can be very rough for the first year of a comic arts festival. But CALA came out strong right out of the gate. Taking a closer look at Crenshaw’s work, it’s a successful combination of a clean and polished approach married to offbeat content. I picked up a hilarious and sweet minicomic of hers, “The Woodsman and the Bear,” that follows a bear who has fallen in love with a lumberjack. That will give you some indication of her vision. For something more challenging, there’s “Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750,” published by Fulcrum Publishing, that provides stories about Colonial America that you won’t find in the history books.

Farel Dalrymple and "The Wrenchies"

Farel Dalrymple and “The Wrenchies”

You could sense the energy in the crowds. I spoke with a number of friends in the comics community and everyone was all smiles. It’s just a matter of diving in and checking out various tables. Each creator is there in support of their most recent work along with their other titles. For instance, there was Farel Dalrymple in support of his graphic novel, “The Wrenchies,” published by First Second Books.

MariNaomi and "Dragon's Breath"

MariNaomi and “Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories”

MariNaomi was there in support of “Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories,” published jointly by 2D Cloud and Uncivilized Books.

Yumi Sakugawa

Yumi Sakugawa and “Bird Girl and Fox Girl”

Another favorite is certainly Yumi Sakugawa and she was there in support of “Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe,” published by Adams Media and “Bird Girl and Fox Girl,” published by Sparkplug Books.

Rounding out my coverage of CALA, I spoke with Jen Wang, one of the organizers and the illustrator of one of my favorite recent graphic novels, “In Real Life,” published by First Second Books. She was definitely excited about how well CALA was doing.

And, just to top it all off, I spoke with cartoonist and renowned comics historian Scott McCloud and got his take on the event. He was quite pleased to say the least.

Think Tank Gallery proved to be a great venue for CALA. With about 70 creators, the space afforded enough room to mix and mingle. Around the corner, there were panel discussions throughout the event. In the end, the reader, the potential buyer of said comix, indie comics, alternative comics, had much to choose from in a delightful setting. We all look forward to this being the start of a new comics tradition in LA.

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Filed under Alternative Comics, CALA, Comic Arts Festivals, Comic Arts Los Angeles, Comics, Independent Comics, Indie, Jen Wang, Los Angeles, Minicomics, Scott McCloud, Short Run

Comic Arts LA (CALA) at Think Tank Gallery in Los Angeles, Saturday, December 6, 2014

CALA-Think-Tank-Gallery

If you’re in Los Angeles and love comics, there’s only one place to be this Saturday, December 6, and that’s Comic Arts LA (CALA) at Think Tank Gallery, 939 Maple Avenue, from 10am to 6pm. Free to the public! This is one of those big moments as a significant comic arts festival launches in LA. Comics Grinder has the travel bug and will be there! Will you be there?

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Filed under Alternative Comics, animation, CALA, Comic Arts Festivals, Comics, Comix, Independent Comics, Jen Wang, Los Angeles, Minicomics

Gifts 2014: ‘WHAT IF?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions’ by Randall Munroe

What-If-Randall-Munroe

Geek out this holiday season with Randall Munroe’s “WHAT IF?” This #1 New York Times Bestseller will undoubtedly make the perfect gift for the science lover, the comics lover, and the geek in your life.

Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe’s iconic webcomic. Now, its sister blog has been transformed into a book, “WHAT IF?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions.”

“WHAT IF” is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and is available here, here, and here.

You can read a roundup of praise below:

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Filed under Comics, Gifts, Gifts 2014, Randall Munroe, Webcomics, xkcd

Review: UNDER THE FLESH #2: Ravaged Road

Under-The-Flesh-02-Ravaged-Road

Before we start in, I want to point out that there’s a Kickstarter campaign running in support of this comic. “Under The Flesh,” published by Escape Comics, caught my eye due to its high quirk factor: an intelligent grindhouse zombie horror superhero comic! Let’s take a closer look and see if it resonates with you.

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Filed under Captain America, Comics, Comics Reviews, Escape Comics, Horror, Kickstarter, The Walking Dead, Zombies