Forthcoming Comics! New Review! The Cinema!

Coming Soon (Or Already Present)

It figures that right on the New Comics Day for which I am absent the new releases explode with activity like they’d just been waiting to cut loose once free from my starchy gaze. Fucking comics. As if to piss in my sores just a little bit more, my local shop had two books that Diamond’s list claims aren’t out until Wednesday ready to go now: the new full-color “Sock Monkey” original hardcover “Uncle Gabby”, which appears to be a full comic rather than an illustrated prose story like the last hardcover, “The Glass Doorknob”. I love my Sock Monkey like I love my white blood cells, but this one had to wait.

The other early bird was the final “Cerebus” phone book, “The Last Day”, which I already own in floppy form, but I really want to read Sim’s annotations, which have graced the last three collected volumes as well. He’s incredibly thoughtful and thorough with his analysis of his own work, and I’m always interested in hearing such rigorous discourse from a creator. Lots of technical info and amusing anecdotes too. Naturally, portions of Sim’s philosophy will not be embraced by many (any?) readers, but I’ve always found Sim’s thought processes, as worked out in text, to be fascinating. The book itself is uneven, as much of later Cerebus is, with too much space devoted to repetitive slapstick gags, and some pretty wild plot twists tossed out and promptly brushed aside (but hey, life continues for everyone else after you’re dead, and so does the story of Cerebus). But the action is smartly confined to a very small physical space, with the occasional lapse into the aged bastard’s mind, to emphasize the final, private world the title character inhabits. The visuals are immaculate, with layout, background, character, and lettering perfectly cohering into a singular impact. I can’t imagine the book looking as good with any single element replaced; they create a total visual entity with unparalleled smoothness. The very ending of the book is pretty splendid, a fittingly ambiguous and downright wistful send-off for the 6000-page epic. I hope there’ll be more works in comics as ambitious, and I hope Sim and Gerhard don’t stay away from the art form forever.

Last Weeks's Reviews - Today!

Catching up on stuff I actually picked up from last week, I read the “normalman Twentieth Anniversary Special” by former Image publisher Jim Valentino. I think ‘familiar’ is the best word to use in description: the lead story is a rambling satire of today’s comics, but there’s nothing terribly fresh, no gag we haven’t already heard some approximation of online already. FLASH! Retailers only cater to fans of established franchises with little attempt to diversify! ALERT! Certain fans are easily swayed by hype and ignore story content! URGENT UPDATE! Edgy creative teams make radical changes to characters only to have the status quo promptly restored! The book also seems to be under the impression that caricatures of noted comic pros are inherently humorous, with little need to connect them into some satiric thrust. Also included is a reprinted story taking on Hollywood (guess what: they’re all greedy rip-off artists!) and a handy normalman bibliography (with a technical problem that appears to have stripped the text of apostrophes). I recall the last normalman book (the Megaton Man team-up) as being much more lively.

That “Gongwandon” review is still coming, as soon as I get my thoughts together. I’m also really excited over “RabbitHead”, by Rebecca Dart, which I will cover tomorrow, along with some other stuff.


Hey, it seems Mr. Darren Aronosky is the director of the upcoming “Watchmen” flick. Not too good a sign for me; Aronosky’s last film, the painfully overrated “Requiem for a Dream”, is as close as I’ve ever seen to a flawless example of excessive STYLE buckling the knees of a potentially decent film. There was some pretty nice acting in the thing. Movements were made in the direction of interesting themes (drugs are but one deadly American addiction among many, and not all of them are socially unacceptable). But then there’s the big conga dance vision, the Acme anvil style falling title cards, the tricks and splits and dazzles and sound distortions. I thought it got kind of silly. And by the end, where the horrible price is paid by each and every character, it just became immensely annoying. The film had zero dramatic payoff for me because the utilization of its visual style was so slapdash, often working directly against what I perceived to be the film’s intent by distancing me from the characters and plot, upstaging them with a bitchin’ camera tricks show. And yet the film seemed so utterly convinced of its Importance, bearing The Cold Truths About Life. Bah!

Ah hell… the kid’s only done two movies (I think I recall liking “[insert Pi symbol here]”). Maybe a quick immersion in Moore and Gibbons’ fearful symmetry will inspire him to control those ADD impulses a little more.