Monday, October 15, 2012

diary of a guttersnipe 10/15/2012: I don't know what this is about, but god damn am i handsome

by Shawn Starr

"Fuck you, you're on my time ticket"


Flayed Corpse (Oily)
by Josh Simmons

It would be simple enough for Josh Simmons to draw a series of gory images over twelve pages and call it a day, its something he excels at, but Simmons (as always) adds additional layers to his work, and this is something that distinguishes him from other horror artists. Simmons can be as disturbing and horrific as everyone else (more so in fact), but by including the seeds of something more lofty, Simmons forces his stories into the readers sub-conscious which makes them linger long after the final page has been turned.

The standout element of 'Flayed Corpse' is Simmons use of dialogue to tell two stories at once, layering them around a single event, an autopsy, creating both a grotesque, if not by the numbers, examination of a mutilated corpse and a commentary on philosophy and science, and their relationship to humanity.

This layered narrative begins on the first page as a mysterious voice address the other coroners "Industrial accident, I would say", commenting on the injuries the man had suffered, but also expressing a decidedly Marxist critique, which is further drilled home by another shadowy figure remarking that the marks more so resemble those caused by an angry mob wielding machetes. The two go back and forth over the next four pages, conceding some points while bringing up new ones (racism, self reliance, etc) until a third figure interjects saying that they are both right and wrong, the man was tortured, burned, ground up, beaten, and hung, but it was both of their actions that lead towards these injuries.

This third voice, has a definitive tone to it, in both discussions (the political and spiritual) being ceded the final word. By setting this story in a scientific facility Simmons seems to be stacking the deck in favor of this third voice, but his answers are no less cruel than those produced by the other figures, if not more so, due to their calculated and sterile tone. His final statement, combing the two theists ideas (like previously) of the after life "Neither of you are exactly right, or wrong" with one rooted in quantum physics, "He died terrified, in agony And it echoed out and was absorbed into a universe already sick with pain". This "educated" answer becomes a far more troubling and disturbing fate than either of the other options on their own, even the tortures mentioned by the Marxist/Capitalist were less horrible than their existence in tandem.

What Simmons never does though is push the readers sympathy towards any of these "options", by only showing the coroners in silhouette, Simmons doesn't allow the reader to identify with them in any way. Instead Simmons humanizes the corpse, who looks to be pleading for an end to it all on every page. Opening on the corpses face, Simmons depicts him in deep pain, his only visible eye seems to almost be crying, all this while the coroners argue overhead, this is followed up with an clenched hand that looks to be shouting for help to a group that never wanted to help him in the first place, only discuss his suffering in the abstract. Even in a moment of empathy, when one figure says "At least we know his suffering is over" the statement is only used to launch into the next argument, not mourn what had happened.

You can purchase 'Flayed Corpse', by Josh Simmons, at the Oily Comics website here.

Cop Comics #1 
by Michael DeForge, Patrick Kyle, Mickey Zacchilli

Three of alt-comic's current crop of top cartoonists riffing on the macho cop archetype of the 80's and 90's ends up being one excellent 18 page comic.
The End of the Fucking World #1-11 (Oily)
by Charles Forsman

In addition to 'Flayed Corpse' from Oily Comics, I also read all of the currently published issues of publisher Charles Forsman's 'The End of the Fucking World' which is one of the best single issue comics coming out currently in both mainstream and independent comics (his only real competition is essentially just Brandon Graham and compatriots run on 'Prophet').

Each issue is a prefect example of a crafting a sustained narrative while still producing a satisfying single issue, all in just 8-pages. It's an interesting and captivating re-imagination of 'Bonnie and Clyde' seen through the eyes of a modern day teenager. They're bleak and cynical and pure expressions of teenage angst, but never straying far from the horror at the heart of the story.

I'll write something longer on it at a later date (maybe a dialogue of sorts) but for now all i will say is you should be buying these comics, because i was late to the party and regret not jumping in earlier.

Negron (Picturebox)
by Jonny Negron

'Negron' coming out the same month as Chris Ware's 'Building Stories' seems almost poetic, both books represent a dramatic change in the future of print (and comic) publishing. 'Building Stories' produces a story that can only be told in print; its ambition precludes any other format. 'Negron' on the other hand is the first book that is neither a collection of comics, nor art, but instead exists as a proto "Tumblr book".

There have been collections of webcomics before, but they exist in the century old newspaper strip format that requires no updating, and there have even been art books based on internet archiving, but they are simply mimicking the art books that have come before them, while "Negron' is something else entirely: a pure reflection of social media and blogging's effect on art and comics.

Every illustration in this book, even those few that are left uncredited, are forceful enough in their unique vision that they can only be identified as a Johnny Negron drawing. A prerequisite for artists to avoid the incessant need of Tumblr users to crop out credits while re-blogging. Negron's rise in internet popularity isn't solely based off his talent, it's his identifiability. A Negron comic or illustration is a Negron comic or illustration.

The books formatting goes even further to highlight its linkage to Tumblr, first by linking to Johnny Negron's Tumblr in the credits page (his sole venue for contact), but it is also designed to mimic Tumblr's stream of conscious nature. Every page flows from one Negron obsession into the next, creating an intimacy between every page, that isn't felt in any art books, because Johnny Negron curated this book over the course of a years output, not by an academic three centuries later.

'Negron' IS the next step in publishing the internet.

----------------------------------All DAY aLL cAGE-----------------------------------------------

----------------------------"I'm a vampire! I'm a vampire! I'm a vampire!"-----------------------------

My fellow Cboxer's finally posted their new episode with Tim Callahan, the one time host of The Splash Page Podcast (which is still, to me, the best comics based podcast in existence) and i think the most important comic critics of the internet era. The episodes central theme is "who the fuck cares?", and walking away from it, i don't know if i have an answer.

If you ever wondered what kind of people show up to an Adrian Tomine signing at Harvard, the answer is exactly the kind of people you think would, plus my unshaven pudgy ass.

J.J Abrams has a quote on the front of 'Building Stories'. Seriously. That is in no way a selling point.

If Joe Casey writes a Ben Marra comic i'm pretty sure my brain will explode in post-empire confetti.

I've been contemplating what will appear on CBR's Top 100 Comics of 2012 a lot lately, as this year in particular is a down year for the mainstream (that is for me and everyone i care to talk too or read regularly). Everyone seems to be experiencing a massive lull in giving a fuck about DC and Marvel past vague self hatred (aka Chad Nevett's 'Avengers vs. X-Men' reviews). I think i figured out the top two comics though, even if i wouldn't classify either one as being better than mediocre, but i don't see what else would fill these positions of sadness.

.The best comic will be 'Hawkeye' because it's the closest thing that can be compared to Waid's 'Daredevil' and comic's needs a continuity of sorts.
.The next spot will be given to 'Saga' because comics have a hard on for Brian K. Vaughn that survived the ending of 'Lost' so i doubt it will ever end, also at one point he got Fiona Staples to draw a spider lady with exposed titties and everyone is pro-that.
.The rest of the top ten will be occupied with Scott Snyder's 'Batman' (which while seeming to "crack" the CBR review breakdown never resonated past a "that's good i guess" with me).
.The rest will be a assortment of Marvel NOW! titles because Marvel is a major source of revenue along with them getting Dean White to seemingly color everything (and a couple of DC's "other titles" like 'Animal Man' which has taken 13 issues to still not get to a point)

Every page of 'Acme Novelty Library' #20 is perfect.

The perception of time in a post-internet era is really weird. Its difficult to separate original work from those influenced by it. Daniel Clowes' and Los Hernandez Brothers surely cleared the path for Adrian Tomine's career, but in a era where both creators are readily available, it is difficult to separate one from another. It doesn't help that all three are generally lumped together on panels and press junkets. It's something i see that's going to become increasingly important for critics and academics to point out as time goes on, both in comics and outside of comics.

"Suckers to the side, i know you hate my '98"

IDW announcing a 'Cerebus' covers collection is a genius level act of trolling by Dave Sim. He's still a piece of shit and i hate everything he stands for, but fucker knows how to troll.

Now I know you all wanted to know about the book fair, but i just took a bunch of pictures of woman and decided to talk about their relative level of attractiveness.

In addition to 'Flayed Corpse', Josh Simmons also made a short film. God help us if he adapts any of his comics.

Chad Nevett dropped the mic on 'Avengers vs. X-Men' while talking to Tim Callahan in this week's When Worlds Collide. Like why bother talking about that comic anymore?

I went to a Chris Ware/Charles Burns/Chip Kidd talk, afterwards their was a signing where Chris Ware said he liked my Public Enemy shirt. This caused two simultaneous thoughts, either Chris Ware was fucking with me OR at some point in the mid nineties Chris Ware was bumping "Fear of a Black Planet" while drawing 'Jimmy Corrigan'. Both are acceptable answers, but i hope it's the latter.

It's so cool Joe Casey knows who Ben Marra is.


  1. "Like why bother talking about that comic anymore?" Because the story isn't done and I don't hate myself enough yet.

  2. I assume the last line of Riding The Gravy Train (and GraphiContent) will be "Ok now i hate myself and comics enough...(shuts down site)"

  3. AVX ends this month. GraphiContent ends in January. So close...