Everybody reads blogs on Saturdays.

*On the off chance that you haven't yet, you ought to check out all the awesome swag on the Comics Journal site, which is gearing up for the next huge issue, probably out on Wednesday. And there's a lot of nice previews on-line, like two of the "Cerebus" roundtable essays, one a direct comment on Dave's infamous "Tangent", and the other connecting certain plot elements to their possible inspiration in recent Canadian history. Sure to be controversial, but very much worth a read. And I certainly hope the Journal keeps up with the web-only exclusives! This month (er, six weeks) we get Tom Spurgeon chatting up retailers on how to get your minicomics sold. And then you should buy the real magazine for lots of reviews (some of them by former and current bloggers)! Essays by Steven Grant and Eddie Campbell! Ed Brubaker's feature interview! Classic comics by George Leonard Carlson! The Journal is stocked and ready to own!

Blood Orange #3

Well, Alan and I spoiled the surprise as to what I thought of this latest issue of Fantagraphics' ongoing anthology floppy (since I'm sure you'd be lying awake all night in anticipation otherwise), so let's go into what I liked. Scott Teplin did a nice thing, depicting the same room in four different periods of time. It was very well-designed, very attractive. You can even imagine some kind of story around the images, which I think is neat. Jeffrey Brown did his thing, and I do still like his thing. I also think he's developing a habit of portraying his relationships in a rather similar light on the page; the beat he's established (sex and cute and strife and cute and sex and etc.) seems to remain pretty constant from relationship story to story (although there's a bit more sex in this one, on average). I do like how his messy style has been gradually developing into a much more exact, detailed type of messy; compare the story in this book to "Clumsy" and there's quite a world of development.

Ben Jones' one-page Popple strip was good for a laugh. Renee French can't help but produce creepy images, which is all one can say for her own one-page thing. And the rest of it just doesn't click. There's cotton-candy cuteness and Panter-esque detailed sloppiness and minimalism and ART with intense women thrusting their arms into broken glass and letting their pain wrap them in a cocoon. It all sort of passed me by, without so much as a pat on the shoulder or a how-do-you-do. It's always a risk with anthologies that a lot of it won't be optimal material, but I'd say that in this particular case the risk may well outweigh the $6 cost.