Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Indies Preview Review for May Part 2 of 3

Continued from Yesterday...

Fantagraphics Books
Celluloid HC by (W/A/C) Dave McKean
A woman arrives at an apartment, but her partner can’t get away from work. She is disappointed and settles in for a night alone, but finds a film projector with a reel of film loaded. The film is scratched and blurry, but she can make out a couple making love. When the film burns out, a door is revealed which leads to a misty town square... and a series of fantastical sexual encounters. But the plot doesn’t really matter. Celluloid is a rare instance (especially among Anglo-Saxons) of a top-flight cartoonist working within erotic — even pornographic, to embrace the word — parameters, with the intent of creating a genuine work of art. As the artist says: “There are so many comics about violence. I’m not entertained or amused by violence, and I’d rather not have it in my life. Sex, on the other hand, is something the vast majority of us enjoy, yet it rarely seems to be the subject of comics. Pornography is usually bland, repetitive and ugly, and, at most, ‘does the job’. I always wanted to make a book that is pornographic, but is also, I hope, beautiful, and mysterious, and engages the mind.” Dave McKean's first original graphic novel since his landmark book Cages brings to bear the astonishing range of illustrative and storytelling skills that have served him so well on his collaborations with Neil Gaiman and elsewhere. Celluloid is a rare 'erotic' graphic novel that is also a genuine work of art. 232 pgs. $35.00
Lee: Wow, that is a lot of text for a single book. But, it is shiney new stuff from Dave McKean so it’s ok. After reading it though, it reminds me of Alan Moore’s opus, Lost Girls. I don’t know if this will gain that kind of notoriety but it’s worth looking at.
Gwen: Absolute pass for me. Mostly from the phrase "But the plot doesn’t really matter."

Yeah GN by (W) Peter Bagge (A) Gilbert Hernandez
Move over, Josie & the Pussycats! At last, a girl-centered comic book that actually appeals to girls (and even their parents)! Originally published as a nine-issue comic book series from 1999-2000 by DC's Wildstorm imprint, this all-ages gem (approved by the Comics Code Authority, no less!) is collected here for the very first time. 208 pgs. $19.99
Lee: I have girls and I am always on the look out for new material that will appeal to them. Even though Bagge is known for his work on Hate, he grew up reading Archies and the like. He’s the perfect writer, and Hernandez’s skill with the brush is unparalleled. This is an easy buy.
Gwen: I'd be more interested by this but the solicitation doesn't really say anything about the plot. I'll just have to take Lee's word on the creative team as I'm not familiar with their work.

Gil Jordan: Murder by High Tide HC by (W/A/C) M. Tillieux
Another classic from the Golden Age of Franco-Belgian comics, finally brought to American readers. Imagine Hergé (Tintin) put in service of a series of wise-cracking, fast-paced detective stories - punctuated with scenes of spectacular vehicular mayhem - and you'll see why 50 years later Gil Jordan is still considered a masterpiece in Europe. 96 pgs. $18.99. Read about Tillieux here.
Lee: It’s common knowledge that I love me’s some Euro art. I’ve never read this, but I have read Tin-tin so anything from that time, place is an easy sell for me. This should be an excellent book for everyone.
Gwen: This does look to be very good. I'm a sucker for detective stories though.

Queen of the Black Black GN by (W/A/C) Megan Kelso
Before her comics were serialized in the New York Times Sunday Magazine ('Watergate Sue,' 2007) or released by Fantagraphics Books (Artichoke Tales), Kelso was crafting and self-publishing her own works. Queen Of The Black Black collects the best of these early works, creating an engrossing chronicle of an ambitious young cartoonist carefully developing her own unique style and approach. 160 pgs. $19.99 Visit Megan here.
Lee: Kelso is a highly respected, very successful cartoonist and this is a chance to see her early works. For me, it is not to be missed because, if it’s anything like her later works, it’s fantastic.
Gwen: I'm not familiar with Kelso but the website makes me interested in this book.

Kids Can Press
No Girls Allowed: Tales of Daring Women GN by (W) Susan Hughes (A) Willow Dawson
A female pharaoh? A woman general in the Kahn's army? A female Viking raider? No way, you say? Look again. Appearances can be deceiving! From ancient Egypt through the Middle Ages to the 19th century, this historically accurate graphic treatment is perfect to transport readers back to bygone eras when daring women dressed as men for love, freedom, and adventure. 80 pgs. $8.95 Visit Willow Dawson here and read an interview about this book with her here.
Lee: This appears to be another excellent book targeted directly at girls and I love it. I love historical comics and a chance to read about a topic not often discussed, women’s role in history, is too good to pass up.
Gwen: Excellent idea! I definitely want this book.

Lucidity Press
Anthology Project Vol. 02 HC by (W/A) Various
The Anthology Project Volume Two expands upon the concepts established in the first volume of The Anthology Project to include an international group of artists collectively exploring a central theme. Twenty-one diverse storytellers with backgrounds in comics, illustration, video games, and animation unify to create a truly memorable reading experience. 280 pgs. $29.95. An excellent review of Vol 1 can be found here and previews for this book can be found here.
Lee: Loved, loved, loved the Vol 1 of this series. Anthology is a wonderful little book with great art and a whole slew of different stories. This is one of those rare anthologies that had far more good than bad and I can’t recommend it enough.
Gwen: I always like the idea of getting to sample a wide variety of creators with one book. It reminds me of the short story compilations publisher put together for different genres. It's a chance to see a lot of work you may not have otherwise picked up.

Kinky and Cosy HC by (W/A) Nix
Shocking! Disgusting! Meet the most dangerous twin girls in the universe! Their record of wrong doings, on purpose or not, will raise your hair on end. A darkly subversive collection of cynical comics gags that is sweeping Europe. Nothing is sacred for these two lil' monsters! South Park meets Monty Python. Heavily promoted online with serialization on NBM's front page and viral videos. 96 pgs. $14.99 Some samples here and the official NBM more previews here.
Lee: This is a collection of strips the tread that fine line between humor and incitement. Much like Sinfest, this is edgy, and funny, and not for your kids or your mother. Very funny.
Gwen: The previews are intriguing but not a genre I'm into.

Pop Sandbox
Next Day GN by (W) Paul Peterson, Jason Gilmore (A) John Porcellino
The Next Day is a ground-breaking graphic novel, constructed from interviews with survivors of near-fatal suicide attempts. In this poetic and profound philosophical exploration, illustrated by acclaimed small-press legend John Porcellino ('A master at miniature poignance,' Entertainment Weekly), four diverse participants each answer the same key questions about life, the decision to end it, and what comes after. $16.95. Visit Porcellino at his site here, and buy some of his mini-comics!
Lee: Wow, does this look incredibly depressing. That might not be nice to say, but it’s true. Beyond that, this looks awesome! Not awesome in the whee fun sense of awesome, but awesome in discussing a subject that many of us have probably encountered, and not understood, at one time or another. Porcellino has a very simple style which will probably off set some of the grimmer aspects of the story.
Gwen: While this may indeed be depressing so is House of Sand and Fog and The Bell Jar - and yet still well worth experiencing.

The conclusion Friday...


  1. Come on now... how do you not know who Peter Bagge & Gilbert Hernandez are? Seriously?

    You didn't recognize the creators of Hate and Love & Rockets????? Two of the greatest indie comics ever?

  2. I think someone needs to make sure Gwen's awake. The first two she was iffy on because of plot issues, but come an anthology, with no idea who the creators are, let alone the various plots, she's willing to a chance.