This is a partial and rough English version of my blog Just Indie Comics (Banner by Pat Aulisio)

domenica 25 agosto 2013

Lose #5

Michael DeForge, Koyama Press, Toronto (Canada), June 2013, 48 pag., $8 Cdn.

Michael DeForge is unleashed. Canadian Koyama Press issued in May his new book, Very Casual. Drawn & Quarterly will publish a collection of his strip Ant Colony early next year. Despite his editorial achievements, he is still creating on-line comics and will start in these days a new one, Leather Space World, inspired by the short story published in the seventh issue of londinian anthology Nobrow. If you think he also was the curator of Youth in Decline erotic comics anthology, Thickness, you can consider him an artist in creative trance.
The fifth issue of the one-man anthology Lose is largely filled by Living Outdoors, a triangle of juvenile love against the backdrop of a psychedelic nature, which enhances the sensations and the sexual urges of the characters. The apparently light plot hides an obsessive Bildungsroman with a dramatic finale. 
Recent Hires and Muskoka are equally good. In the first we are acquainted to a paranoid and self-defeating protagonist, while in the second a trip to the desert in search of luck ends with a terrible series of murders. 
DeForge describes an irrational and insane world but he gives perfect sense to it, thanks to a highly personal style, able to transcend genres. And he does this with a wry smile towards the characters and the events.
If you still haven't read the issues from 2 to 5 of Lose, you may be happy to know they will be collected in the book A Body Beneath, to be released next spring.

martedì 6 agosto 2013

Golem Stories

Sammy Harkham, Coconino Press, Bologna (Italy), June 2013, paperback, 128 pages, 19 euro.

Italian version, with bonus features, of 2011 PictureBox anthology Everything Together. Harkham, 33 year old, is one of the most influential artists in the North-American indie comics scene, as an author and as Kramers Ergot editor. He is also the owner of Family, a Los Angeles bookstore. One of the best comics in the book is Poor Sailor, already published in Italy by Coconino on the seventh issue of the anthology Black. Originally seen on Kramers 4, the story is characterized by sparse dialogue and a graphic style à la Popeye, on which Harkham puts explosions of realism and violence. The revision of the tradition is typical of Harkham, as evidenced by the constant references to Jewish culture. His tales are linear but proceed always with ellipses, without being didactical.
Another important comic in the book is Somersaulting, here in a different version from the one published in Drawn & Quarterly Showcase 3. Harkham leaves the 9 panels per page of the Showcase version and chooses a 4 panel scheme that brings breath and wideness in the story of two girls in the 90s Australia, a kind of rural Ghost World.
Also noteworthy are the jewish tale Lubavitch Ucraina 1876, the exploitation-surrealist pastiche Nightmare and The New Yorker Story, four pages full of panels (up to 25 per page) in white, black and blue, in which Harkham sketches the figure of a wannabe-writer, adulterer and envious academic.
Golem Stories is an ironic, deep and smart book, both humble and ambitious, the work of a young and multi-talented artist, who is already one of the greatest cartoonists of our time.