Monday, January 27, 2020

Recently Read: November, Vol. 1: The Girl on the Roof

Matt Fraction and French illustrator Elsa Charretier have begun an intriguing and bleak noir story in November Vol. 1: The Girl on the Roof. Three narratives interconnect, centering on the unhappy loner Dee, hired (by a literal heavy stranger) to daily decipher a newspaper-published puzzle and then engage in a small act of spy craft on a roof.

She doesn't know what it all means and neither do we. Further chapters widen to include goings-on in the city police station and some acts of what appear to be terrorism. The tone of the work is unrelentingly grim.

The dissection and reconstruction of time and places require the reader's strict attention, but because the book is so thin, the attention is not all rewarded. At only 76 pages in, it's not really the novella described on the back cover, but merely the first third of a graphic novel. (Novellas tend to be self-contained and have endings, whereas sections of novels are chapters.) It's best read, and perhaps best packaged, as one whole work.

The artwork by Charretier, in the aesthetic tradition of Alex Toth, Darwin Cooke and David Mazzuchelli. is beautiful to engage with, though. The look and feel of the work is also greatly enhanced by Kurt Ankeny's various and appropriate lettering styles and Matt Hollingsworth's atmospheric brown, blue and gray palettes.

It's too early to adequately appraise November, but I'm very much looking forward to the next chapters.
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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Comics I've Read Recently, January 25, 2020

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Friday, January 24, 2020

1973 Ad for Harrison Tape Guide Magazine

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

1975 News Stand Comics Rack

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

On the Set of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Steve Rude Inks Jack Kirby

Drawn by Kirby in 1974 for The Losers, appearing in Our Fighting Forces. Inked in 2013 by Steve Rude.
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Saturday, January 18, 2020

1973 Ad for Writings and Drawings by Bob Dylan

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Friday, January 17, 2020

A David Lynch Drawing of Twin Peaks

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Why Read Good Comics When You Can Read Better Comics?

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

An Unpublished Basil Wolverton Cover for DC's Plop!

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Magazines I've Read Recently, January 13, 2020

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Joe Kubert Art

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Saturday, January 11, 2020

My Fifth Little Dot Story In Progress

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B.B. King Advertises for Gibson Strings, 1973

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Peztilence 3, January 16th, 7- 9 PM @ the CCAD Canzani Center

Peztilence is a bi-monthly not-your-father's reading series, with talk show elements and pizzazz. Details here:
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Recently Read: Naruto, Volume 9

The second of at least three volumes covering the elimination matches of the Journeyman Ninja Selection Exams, Naruto Vol. 9 features several intense and clever battles between the few surviving students. While featuring less characterization and insights into Naruto's complex world and history than usual, "Neji vs. Hinata" is a masterclass in cartooning, with superb pacing, detailed textures, explosive lettering and top-notch choreography and composition.
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Thursday, January 9, 2020

A Logo I Finished for the Upcoming Pulp Fiction Convention

Details here:
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A 1973 Ad for Stax Label Records

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

A 1973 Bill Withers Advertisement

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Recently Read: American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang's 2006 multi-award winning graphic novel uses a three-pronged approach to telling his autobiographical journey as a first-generation child of immigrants. In addition to a more straightforward narrative of his struggles as a social outsider, American Born Chinese weaves in a parable story of The Monkey King (from the 16th century Chinese novel, Journey to the West), and a TV sitcom plot involving Danny, a white American boy, being visited and embarrassed by his stereotypical and obnoxious Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee.

Yang incorporates different art styles for each narrative and (spoiler alert) merges the three stories into one in the book's denouement, in which Yang's surrogate, Jin Wang, makes peace, of sorts, with the aspects of his identity he chooses to adhere to. Some criticisms of the novel argue that Wang chooses a subservient role for himself in society; this isn't made clear, though, and Yang may have deliberately intended for the conclusion to be somewhat open ended.

American Born Chinese is immanently readable, accomplished in its storytelling techniques, and led the way for greater acceptance of graphic novels in libraries and other institutions in the aughts.
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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

James Brown's Advice for the New Year

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Ladies First Exhibit Reception & Program @ The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Join us on Friday, January 10th for a celebration of our new exhibit, "Ladies First: A Century of Women's Innovations in Comics and Cartoon Art," a look at how women have defined the field of comics and cartoon art for generations.

5:30-6:00pm Tour the exhibit with curators Rachel Miller and Caitlin McGurk

6:00-7:00pm Live comics readings from local women cartoonists Emi Gennis, Khaila Carr, Lauren McCallister and Gabby Metzler, followed by a special focus on Image Comics MOONSTRUCK team Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle, Caitlin Quirk, and Laurenn McCubbin in the Will Eisner Seminar Room

7:00-7:30pm Book sale and signing
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Monday, January 6, 2020

Mike Ploog Art for the 1975 Marvel Calendar

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Sunday, January 5, 2020

Comics I've Read Recently, January 5th, 2020

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