Welcome back to the latest Comics That Challenged Me in 2015
piece. I generally don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t see a lot of
value to them, generally speaking. But with the recent controversies with the
Angouleme Grand Prix, I was thinking about talented women cartoonists, and
decided to make a resolution.
My resolution this year is to read more books by Rumiko
Takahashi. I’m hoping to read the whole Maison Ikkoku and as much Ranma as I can get my hands on, and then after that we’ll see.
Let’s get on with the list.
#3-4 by Sammy Harkham (self-published) tumblr: @sammyharkham
Harkham is writing good comics. Crickets #3-4 and the main story in them, “Blood
of the Virgin” is a story about Seymour, a screenwriter and editor of movies
who gets a big shot to write and film a movie he’s been shopping around. The story
is a complex look at art making, personal inadequacy, and neglect. I’m
fascinated by the density of Harkham’s comics, and how that density changes as
the comic progresses. Harkham transitions between various panel grid sizes,
from 3×3 to 4×5, and while that doesn’t seem impressive when written, it
creates a claustrophobia and tension to the work. I’m excited to see where
Crickets #5 finishes off the story.
Terrell’s Summer Carnival is this wispy thing, an apparition that summons hot
summer air and beers around a swimming pool. Crowded pages emphasize the beauty
of Terrell’s fine line, and remind me of the crowded college parties where
pushing through a crowd to see someone was the most important thing. The chaos
and confusion of Summer Carnival is joyful. This was a delightful introduction
to Terrell’s comics.
3 by Daryl Seitchik (self-published) tumblr: @darylseitchik
love Daryl Seitchik’s Missy comics. I picked up Missy 3 at TCAF and it was the
first book I read, right there in the hotel room. Seitchik captures the awkwardness
of growing up, of finding friends and losing them, and how humanity means being
in darkness and the light. The disjointedness of Missy 3, hopping from time to
time, allows Seitchik to capture the loneliness we feel that ebbs and grows throughout
Gallardo’s book of smoky, delicate comics from Space Face was this year’s
biggest surprise for me. Gallardo’s work is smart and incisive, using deep
blacks and reds to tell stories about suffering and being true to yourself.
All of the comics in this book have something of a fantasy twist to them, a
mythical realism that sets them apart from similar work. Another exciting
introduction, and one of my favorite books from Space Face this year.
Erik Nebel’s tumblr comics are fascinating. The
blobby mutations of Nebel’s work are abstracted down to the
barest essentials and then given the color of salt water taffy and much of its
stretch and pull. Nebel’s cartoons are a communion with base emotion, the id of
comics given form. This 2014 collection from Yeti Press is a book to read and
read and read.
Only one more set, and we’re done. Part 6 goes live on Monday.
Have a great weekend.