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Has it been a week already? My how time flies.
Welcome again to our new weekly feature here at Robot 6, What Are You Reading, where we ask our fellow Robot contributors and one very special guest star what comics (or prose books, we’re not persnicketty) are currently lying by their bedside table.
Today our special guest is the mighty cartoonist, scholar and educator Ivan Brunetti. Best known for his daring, all-best-off autobiographical series Schizo, Brunetti’s recent work involved compiling and editing the wonderful two-volume Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons and True Stories. He also has a new one-page strip in the critically acclaimed anthology, Kramer’s Ergot 7.
So, without further ado, here’s what we’re reading this week. Be sure to drop a line in the comments section and let us know what you’re currently perusing as well.
Lisa Fortuner: Just finished Invaders Classic and I’m irritated it cuts off in the middle of a storyline and I have to wait on the second volume. But that’s just because I’m enjoying the story so much I want to read the continuation. I’m particularly fond of the Original Human Torch here. I was expecting them to really play up the angst-droid archetype, but at least at the beginning of this series Thomas keeps it subtle and only has him get melancholy about it in a couple of places. The rest of the time he jokes about it, and it’s very nice to see an artificial lifeform sort of character that isn’t constantly whining about wanting to be a real boy.
Michael May: I’m reading the first volume of Age of Bronze. I was on Image’s comp list for a while and got enough single issues that I knew I eventually wanted to go back and start at the beginning. Now’s the time and man oh man. I’ll do a full review later, but the short version is
that this is EXACTLY how I want to consume The Iliad. The research that went into this thing shows in every single amazing panel without ever looking like Shanower’s just showing off his research.
John Parkin: I’m re-reading Bottomless Belly Button. It was one of the books I wanted to re-read before we did our picks for 2008, but I didn’t get to it (it’s also the biggest, so I saved it for last in order to get through a few others first, like Skyscrapers of the Midwest, The Joker and Acme Novelty Library). I just finished part 2.
In terms of monthlies, the last comic I read was Love and Capes #9, Thom Zahler’s wonderful superhero romance series. This issue picks up after the events of last issue, where the Crusader was replaced by a shapeshifter during an off-planet mission. As it involves shapeshifters, there’s a bit of a homage to Rom, Space Knight, that I thought was a nice touch.
Oh, and although it isn’t really setting next to the bedside table, I’m really enjoying Kevin Colden’s new Zuda strip, I Rule the Night.
Tom Bondurant: I’m still working on Showcase Presents Enemy Ace, but this week I found time to re-read Final Crisis 1-5, plus the Submit, Resist, and Superman Beyond specials, all in a big chunk for the first time. Although I couldn’t quite fit Resist into the overall timeline, I thought everything held together pretty well. It’s not exactly the collage of unrelated incidents I had remembered. I got a better sense of the story’s flow, and could appreciate Morrison developing the various subplots. Looking forward to this week’s issue #6.
Tim O’Shea: Thanks to a Facebook post from Kurt Busiek, I found out about Andi Watson’s Webcomic short story, Great Uncle George’s Will. While a quick read at 15 pages, the tale covers a great deal of ground, quite efficiently.
Here’s the official description: “When Henrietta is summoned to her Great Uncle George’s house, the last thing she expects is a magical adventure rife with treachery, fine fare, and contract law. But that’s what she’s going to get!”
Two aspects of the story really got my attention: Henrietta (or Hen as she’s called for most of the tale) lives in a boarding house in the woods called “The Laburnum”. I don’t know if Watson did this on purpose, but the house looks like a variation on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York. Secondly. Hen has four bracelets “imbued with magical properties” to keep her safe, including one that transforms into a unicycle and another that protects her from paper cuts.
Kevin Melrose: Between an ever-growing to-do list and a late comics shipment — “What do you mean, I never sent payment?” — I’m in the middle of a reading drought at the moment. A comics-reading drought, in any case. (I’ve been squeezing in time for John Ajvide Lindqvist’s vampire novel Let the Right One In.) However, the other night I discovered amid a pile of books on my nightstand the second volume of Rei Hiroe’s Black Lagoon, which is great, violent fun. It contains all the right ingredients for my current mood: pirate-mercenaries, sunken treasure, the Russian mob, neo-Nazis, sea battles, gun-running nuns, homicidal orphans …
Chris Mautner: I’ve stalled a little bit in my reading this week, a fact I blame entirely on Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimore of the Mist, a game that currently has me so obsessed that I find myself trying to get a few quick turns in while waiting at red lights.
One new book I did start to crack open is A Comic Studies Reader, a new collection of essays, edited by Jeet Heer and Kent Worcester. it’s sort of a “best of” criticism book, featuring essays by folks like R.C. Harvey, Bart Beaty, M. Thomas Inge, John Lent and many more.
Ivan Brunetti: The Book of Dreams by Federico Fellini. A facsimile of Fellini’s dream journal, with lots of his drawings. Beautiful and inspiring.
The Chicagoan by Neil Harris. A compilation of a neglected and pretty much forgotten jazz-age magazine. The Chicagoan looks just as good if not better than the typical Life or Judge (or one the countless other 1920s humor magazines), and its best covers are on par with the New Yorker’s from that same period.
Speaking of which, The New Yorker. Nice to see a Will Oldham profile in the last one.
An Illustrated Life, edited by Danny Gregory. A sampling of about 50 artists’ sketchbooks, with a short essay from each artist. I’m trying to get inspired to start drawing again, and this book has been a great help.
Kramers Ergot No. 7. I’m honored to have been included in this incredible anthology, which I think will be “one for the ages.”
Everybody’s Pixillated: A Book of Doodles, edited by Russell M. Arundel. Doodles throughout history, with an analysis of each.
Pond Life by John Broadley. Beautiful, handmade book of comics. A really fresh and untainted approach to comics.
Re-reading (as I get ready to teach again):
Mind Tools by Rudy Rucker. Really good book for the layman on mathematical concepts that has helped clarify my thinking on design.
Interaction of Color by Josef Albers. Straightforward and deep.
And I have a massive pile of books that I have barely started going through; too many to list here, because I type excruciatingly slowly.