Monday, October 14, 2013

diary of a guttersnipe 10/14/2013: okay look, i'm seventeen years old...

by Shawn Starr

The CBLDF presents Liberty Annual 2013 (Image)
by Fabio Moon, Richard Corben, Corinna Bechko, Gabriel Hardman, Jeremy Atkins, Alex Cox, Andy Owens, Mike Moreci, Steve Seeley, Joe Eisma, Joshua Williamson, Dennis Culver, Franco, Art Baltazar, Paul Tobin, Juan Ferreyra, Leah Sottile, Emi Lenox, Tim Seeley, Andy Kuhn, Ron Chan, Dave Stewart, Michelle Madsen, Zac Atkinson

I really wish one day this anthology wouldn’t just be the repository of one or two decent artists (in this case Corben and one of those Ba/Moon brothers), and a series of stories written where the twist is always (fucking always) the power of the written word. That or some irrelevant political sounding tidbit that the author read about once on Huffington Post and Aaron Sorkin had not quite gotten around to yet.

Forever Evil #2 (DC)
by Geoff Johns, David Finch, Richard Friend, Sonia Oback

Geoff Johns has a weird writing tick in his event books. Within the first two issues, he will devote an entire page of the comic to the ritualistic murder of a small woodland critter. I assume he chooses which one will be nixed by putting his copy of "Bambi" into his DVD player, hitting fast forward with his eyes closed, and then arbitrarily pausing the film and then subjecting whatever poor soul is caught on screen to whatever act of violence he saw on "CSI: NY" last week.

Zero #1 (Image)
by Ales Kot, Michael Walsh, Adam Gorham, Jordie Bellaire

(a review by way of notes)

*     On Twitter, Kot called this comic his Kendrick Lamar 'Control' verse. This was most likely a joke, but there is an aspect of ‘up your game everyone’ that can be found in the pages of 'Zero'.

*    I read a review where the “critic” talked about the randomness of the sex scene in this issue, in that it didn't need to be in there. I disagree, the sex scene takes the standard first encounter between two characters and adds a depth to their characterization and relationship that couldn't be achieved except with such an intimate moment.

*  I like that 'Zero' is equal opportunity in it’s nudity. Also, at no point in Walsh’s depiction of sex did it feel grimy or disgusting, unlike just about every other comic artist's depictions. His use of simple panel structure and avoiding pinup shots were key to this (His use of negative space throughout the issue was also very nice).

*    In their initial meeting we see Zizek, a fat disheveled older bureaucrat trying to convince Cooke that sending Zero back into the field was a good idea. Zizek begins to insult Cooke for her lack of experience before being reminded by Cooke who the boss is. This scene sets Cooke up as the hard ass boss to Zizek’s experienced but fading company man.

The next time we see these two characters they are having sex. We see Cooke telling Zizek to go faster, but he says can’t, he’s getting a cramp. Cooke begins to berate him, to threaten him, but then, following a panel of her biting her upper lip, and mid eye roll she pleads for him not to stop. His hand grasps hers and they go on. The following page they lay naked and Zizek talks about how time has passed him by.

Zizek’s cramp and Cooke’s plea shed’s additional layers on their previous interaction. As their hands interlock you can see how Zizek is trudging along even though he is past his prime because Cooke needs him. He may be old and washed up but he gets the job done, and how he needs Cooke to give him meaning, to push him past the cramp which would end in him fading away to nothing. The sex scene allows for these subtle pieces of characterization because of the implicit intimacy of the moment. This scene is vital.

*    Cape comics have a tendency in their most melodramatic and unfeeling way, to spend a few pages going over the destruction that their epic battles have wrought. I’m told there's a touching  moment in the Zack Snyder Superman film where (following an aerial battle that destroys much of the city) Superman is confronted with a family about to be killed by Zod. These moments tend to be unfeeling and purely cynical attempts at humanity, in the face of an million dead we are supposed to latch onto these three unnamed individuals. 'Zero', in contrast, uses these moments to discuss the politics of state sponsored terrorism and it’s effects on civilians.

In 'Zero' civilians are a presence throughout the book, whilst the area the two “super-powered” beings are fighting in was supposedly evacuated (which would allow the damage caused by the two hero’s to proceed without needing to worry about collateral damage), they can be seen huddled in their homes as they are being smashed through during the climactic fight scene. These asides take on a more implicit political aspect, due to the fight taking place in Palestine which is one of the most densely populated area’s on the planet, and one which is routinely subject to violence by an occupying force. The two “super-powered” individuals are explicitly creations of the two major organizations attempting to run Palestine (Hamas and the state of Israel). This gives the collateral damage many comics use as filler a real world counterpart with implications one has to think over.

*    I like that Ales Kot continues to come back to the idea of Drones in his work, they have become a staple of his comics. Ever present

*    'Zero' will have a new artist each issue, but will retain the colorist Jordie Bellaire across the series. I have seen this technique become more and more prevalent as colorists become stronger in staking out the visual continuity between issues and art styles. Dean White was the first major example of this (to my knowledge) on 'Uncanny X-Force', coloring many inferior artists within an inch of their lives so that their issues would not stand too far out when placed next to Opena in the subsequent collection (If one looks at the Billy Tan issue White colored in contrast to the one he did not, they are night and day). This technique was also implemented on Daredevil when Rivera and Martin were trading off arcs, and continued as other artists were subbed in; along with the current 'Hawkeye' run. The continuation of this technique continues to show how important coloring is to the overall tone and feel of a series.


MOCCA announced their “Guests of Honor”. That’s probably the most agreeably bookstore orientated guest list i have come across in a while. It also has the intelligence to vary between the more literary authors like Alison Bechdel to the more sci-fi /comic shop orientated Fiona Staples which should bring in a large audience (The ticket price being significantly reduced is also a major plus).

Michel Fiffe originals. Both for sale and to gawk at. Looking at my bank account i’m squarely in the gawking category (UPDATE: these all sold out so you can’t see them anymore. Losers).

Andrew White is also selling originals, if i’m reading this right for $15 he will draw you an original page based on a word or phrase you send him, and then give you another five pages of previously drawn material that he thinks relates to that phrase. An original mini-comic of sorts.

Q: What happened to the dog that swallowed a firefly?
A: It barked with de-light!

Oily Comics subscriptions have opened back up offering a 3-month subscription for $20. In other Oily related news, Oily contributor Melissa Mendes has a "Friday Night Lights" fanzine out, and two interviews on 'The End of the Fucking World' went up over the past few weeks. One by TJC contributor Chris Mautner at Penn Live and another by CBR writer Alex Deuben. I really need to finish transcribing my interview with him, but here's a teaser.....

an interview teaser
(context: the post office lost joey's oily comics)

Joey: Was their any difference between the first printing and the second printing [of 'Habit'].

Charles: Nah. It's just the papers a little thinner, i ran out of the good stock and i had some of this other stock...

Joey: Goddamn post office...

Frank Santoro did a process post on his new book 'Pompeii'. 'Pompeii' is a book where the production is as much an aspect of the story as the artwork and plot. The texture of the paper, the art's reproduction size (100%), the discoloration of the page, they all contribute to the book's overall aesthetic, which i appreciate (and, as a trend, seems to be on the upswing). Jim Rugg and Dash Shaw are both credited for book design, which makes sense when one looks at both of their most recent works and the place production has in them ('New School' as a replica of an high school yearbook, and 'Supermag' as a high-gloss magazine).

John Porcellino posted pictures of some original art of his that he found laying around his house.

Woody Allen on Ingmar Bergman.

Ed Piskor interviewed by Tom Scioli about 'Hip Hop Family Tree'. Also a short documentary type thing about Piskor by the Times.

Kevin Huizenga on 'Palookaville' #21 and Seth’s Stamp comic. I’m only a few pages into the new 'Palookaville', but i do want to comment on how much i like the reproduction of Seth’s stamp comics. Instead of scans of each individual page, they are reproduced via photographs of the journals themselves, this gives them a heartfelt quality that i don’t think they would convey as well if they’d simply been scanned (The Seth story on this episode of CBABIH is also worth listening to, Pacific Rim, man. Pacific fucking Rim!)
a real conversation
 Shawn Starr: What was that Von Trier with Bjork movie that you recommended?
Joey Aulisio: I didn't recommend it, all i said was it would ruin your day.

New Jonny Negron comic. I hear good things about it. But then again i hear good things about everything he does. The shipping does seem a little high though, i live a state over and it costs $5 to ship, and for just $2 more ($7) you can ship it to Germany.

Gary Panter talk at CCAD. Also, The Rozz-Tox Manifesto.

Joe Sacco interview. It’s weird that i did not know there was a new Sacco book until  last month.

A Kanye West interview which people were talking about and i watched.

David Mazzucchelli interviewed by Dan Nadel.

Watched "Masters of Sex". Very good first episode, although the title leaves a bad taste in my mouth after learning the main characters' last name is Masters. Low hanging fruit people.

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