And thus begins what I can guess without even googling are a thousand racy fanfics. But it’s also the premise, more or less, of cartoonist Dave Kiersh’s thoughtful, funny minicomic Amazons, which he’s now posted online in its entirety on his new site Teenage Archive. The strip imagines what life would be like if these pulchritudinous paragons of fierce femininity were to attend high school, navigating the uncharted waters of jocks, nerds, preps, angry teachers, uncaring administrators, and unyielding dress codes.
Kiersh’s About Me blurb on Teenage Archive reads “Afterschool specials and the American dream,” and that pretty much nails what his comics are like: Whimsical yet melancholy explorations of teenage lust, boredom, romance, and desire to escape — and adult desire to return. Amazons is more of a goof than his usual stuff, but underneath the silliness is something true about the way dudes idealize beautiful women and the sense of unattainable freedom and fulfillment these fantasy figures represent. Read it in tandem with Kate Beaton, Carly Monardo, and Meredith Gran’s “Strong Female Characters” for a very different but I think complementary take on the power such images have.
I’ve been a fan of Dave Kiersh‘s wistfully randy teen-nostalgia comics for nearly as long as I’ve been reading alternative comics at all. So naturally I was pretty delighted to discover Buds, Kiersh’s latest 32-page opus of crushes, cars, cheap beer, and denim-clad regret, available to read for free at MagCloud. Reading it will take you back to a time of after-school specials, teen idols, boom boxes and scrunchies. Oh yeah, you can buy the hard copy for a mere eight bucks. What are you waiting for, fellow former teenage dirtbags?
(via David Paggi)
Ever stumble across a comics treasure trove when you least expected it?
The other day I was looking around for the websites of artists associated with the late, lamented Buenaventura Press when I clicked a random link USSCatastrophe, the site of cartoonist Kevin Huizenga. Suddenly I found myself looking at a hidden repository of out-of-print comics by an astonishing range of cartoonists from throughout the history of the medium. An entire book of dog cartoons by Barnaby artist Crockett Johnson … early minicomics by two of my favorite altcomix artists, Dave Kiersh and John Hankiewicz … crazy-gorgeous strips and cartoons by C.C. Beck, Abner Dean, and Garret Price … links to, samples from, and miniature reviews of dozens more titles … sure, some of the links are broken — it’s been years since the stuff was updated, it seems — but what’s there is more than enough to keep me blissed out on hidden gems for hours on end.
Have you ever wandered into a similar motherlode of comics goodness online? Superheroes or scanned minicomics, a killer collection of original art or a webcomic you never knew existed, a site full of classic strips or a gallery of stunning covers — whatever it is, post your links in the comments. Face it, tiger — you’ve just helped thousands of readers kill an afternoon!
Wow, this is a delightful way to spend some time this afternoon. John Porcellino, whose quietly beautiful, self-published series King-Cat is the most influential minicomic of all time, has created a blog for his DIY distribution outfit Spit and a Half. And not only is he selling hard-to-find comics, zines, photography books, and manga by Alan Moore (!), Gabrielle Bell, Minty Lewis, Zak Sally, Dave Kiersh, Lilli Carré and many more, he’s also personally writing up insightful little descriptions of each of them. Whether he’s calling Moore’s underground magazine Dodgem Logic “a weird, bright, in-your-face blast of idiosyncrasy,” dubbing Kiersh “a Great American Artist — his art addresses a uniquely American flavor of loneliness and desire, with his recurring themes of suburban, teenage anxiety, lust, ‘romance,’ and desolation,” or explaining how Kazuichi Hanawa’s Doing Time was his “gateway” manga, his thoughts on comics are as worthy as his comics themselves. Check it out!
(via Annie Koyama)