“Best Of”s are always a problem for me; I get plagued by the knowledge that I know that I’m going to forget something really important – The list of important things that I’ve forgotten in my life is both embarrassingly long and just plain embarrassing, trust me – as well as the fact that I’ve just not managed to read all the good stuff released this year. How can I claim that something is one of the Best 10 Whatevers of the year if there’s another something I suspect may be even better, if only I could finally get around to making time for it?
And yet… ’tis the season, isn’t it? With 2011 just days from crawling out the backdoor, ashamed at its behavior and hoping that no-one will think too ill of it in future, this is the point where everyone looks back and picks their favorite things of the past twelve months. “Favorites” is a far more accurate term; less definitive, true, and less likely to get hits because of that, but it’s more true to say “I liked these the most” than “These are objectively the greatest,” isn’t it? And so, in no particular order and with the warning that I will inevitably have forgotten something important and wonderful, five of my favorite books of 2011: Continue Reading »
If ever there’s been a time where I’ve been tempted to have a column literally consist of “[Name of Comic]. You guys. [Name of Comic Repeated for Emphasis],” then it’d be today, because Ganges #4. You guys. Ganges #4. Continue Reading »
An important point is that Igort’s original vision [for the Ignatz comics line] was all about finding a way to help cartoonists get paid more. I can get behind that. I’d love to see more of that.
—Ganges author Kevin Huizenga on Italian cartoonist and publisher Igort’s motivation for launching the Ignatz line of high-end alternative comics. Now more or less defunct, the Ignatz line was co-published by Igort’s Coconino Press and a variety of international publishers, including Fantagraphics here in the United States. Boasting a line-up that included Huizenga, Gilbert Hernandez, David B., Zak Sally, Igort, Gipi, Gabriella Giandelli and more, the Ignatz line embraced an unusual format: oversized 32-page staple-bound comics with dust jackets. The idea was that the simultaneous release of individual comics in multiple languages made possible through Coconino’s co-publishing agreement would go a long way toward financially supporting the creators involved. The problem, as Huizenga explains in his interview with Robot 6′s Chris Mautner over at CBR, is that with all those creators and all those publishers in all those countries, there were too many variables for the project to function effectively for any prolonged period of time. Still, I’m with Huizenga: It’s nice to see an effort of that artistic pedigree be formulated not just for the fun of publishing good comics, but a sincere desire to see the makers of those good comics get paid well.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
It’s a slow week, this week; if I had $15, I’d use it to catch up on some recent enjoyments like Action Comics #3 (DC, $3.99) and OMAC #3 (DC, $2.99), two of my favorite titles from the New 52 relaunch–OMAC in particular has been a really weird and wonderful joy–as well as the final issue of Marvel’s great and sadly underrated Mystic revival (#4, $2.99). I’d also see if the parody-tastic Shame Itself #1 (Marvel, $3.99) lives up to its potential, because “Wyatt Cenac + Colleen Coover” sounds pretty promising to these ears.
Ganges #2 (2008) page 3. Kevin Huizenga.
Comics’ panel-by-panel mode of presentation is incredibly effective at sucking people in. The simple fact that we say we “read” comics when we describe following strings of pictures attests to how strong a tool for immersion sequencing is. And it’s especially strong when we step back for a moment and think about just how weird, how alien cartoons look. A single panel of a comic, especially one drawn with the blend of simplification and exaggeration that forms the look of newspaper strips and many alternative comics, is as much a conceptual statement about form as a depictive drawing. Where the real depiction comes into play is with the sequencing, which turns cartoons from abstractions into living vehicles for movement and action.
Kevin Huizenga is one of the cartoonists whose work addresses comics’ conflict between the abstract and the literal most frequently and interestingly. Huizenga’s attempts at using comics to mimic the visual effect of video games are especially notable: rather than creating the simulacrum of reality that the vast majority of comics do, what is brought forth instead is a simulacrum of a simulacrum, a copy of a copy, something already abstract abstracted further, its ties to reality stressed and stretched about as close to the breaking point as they can go.
My, but this has some oomph, doesn’t it? That clean block lettering (Helvetica? font geeks, help me out here), all that black…I know I’m excited. The latest installment in Huizenga’s oversized solo anthology series is due in August from Fantagraphics.