Monday, September 12, 2011

It's been a while, hasn't it...

I was in Washington D.C. this past weekend for SPX (Small Press Expo), which was a blast. This is what I got (and I did take a couple pictures which I suppose I'll post eventually, but I really was too busy browsing comics and reading comics and COMICS COMICS COMICS okay):

Gay Kid by Katie Olmberg- the third issue. I like Katie Olmberg’s Gay Kid series, it’s relatable and engaging. Though I think out of the three (I picked up the first two at SPACE earlier this year) volume two is my favorite. There was something rushed about this latest volume.

Steak and Cake; Wolf City by David Mack- these are so cute, asdfkjhslf;. Both the drawing and the handling of the book design are great. The first one is about a steak and a cake that are in love, and the second one is about a sheep in wolf’s clothing.

Cedar St. Tavern by Seamus Heffernan- A truly minicomic about the abstract expressionists and their views on beauty. It made my mom laugh, which is always a plus. He doesn’t seem to have a website, which is sad.

Heavy Flow by Jen Vaughn- An educational comic about something called a menstrual cup, which I had never heard of but seems like a pretty good idea. I actually just picked it up because her analysis of tampon/ pad ads made me giggle. And I went to a panel she was on about the human body in comics which I also greatly enjoyed.

Turtie Needs Work by Steve Wolfhard- Steve Wolfhard is famous for Cat Rackham (Don’t get me wrong, they’re great, but those comics make me laugh, and then feel like I’m about to cry) but I picked this minicomic up and immediately started to crack up. Turtie tries everything from cab driver to psychoanalyst.

Stay Away From Other People by Lisa Hanawalt- I went to her panel on drawing the grotesque and it made me very happy. The first I saw of her work was her “How to Tell When Martha Stewart’s Been Drinking” strip, which is hilarious. This minicomic has a little bit of everything—doodles of animal-people, what to do while stuck in traffic, ideal wedding plans, etc.

Super Baby Jesus by Adam Aylard- In the words of the artist, “witness the adventures of Super Baby Jesus as he solves the world’s problems in a way only he can.” A present for a friend. (But I read it anyway, ha!)

Surviving the World’s Guide to College- A present for my sister. But pretty useful.

Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell- I had read some of his stuff before—I met him at SPACE and bought Please Release, a shorter autobiographical comic. But dear lord. His art is just… graah. Makes me so jealous. It’s a little bit reminiscent of Jillian Tamaki’s work, except he uses only ink, no pencil. This book is joining my list of favorites next to Ghost World and Skim. Just go look at his site, I don’t have the words.

And that was it. I kind of wanted to buy more (okay, I REALLY wanted to buy more) but I felt I should chill a bit. When I come back next year I’ll make sure I have a little budget set aside for comic purchases. I got a small pile of free comic pages and postcards and business cards and the like, of course.

The panels were great, generally. I was a little disappointed with the Cultural Identity panel, which I wrongly assumed would be about people like me, caught between countries and cultures and not really sure where I belong… but it turned out to be a collection of Americans who made comics about places other than America. And their attitude was a bit staggering, to be honest. They talked about perceived American arrogance and then proceeded to demonstrate it without shame. Made me a bit sad.

But! The panels on the grotesque and the body and publishing were great, and Chester Brown read some of his book Paying For It, which I really should have bought but oh well… yeah SPX! See you next year fo sho!

P.S. this is my boyfriend's list--he is a comics enthusiast and I read most of what's in this list anyway:

Johnny Wander vol. 1: by Yuko Ota & Ananth Panagariya - yay! And with a little cute drawing of a kitty on a hat which I would post if I hadn’t lost my camera battery in the move

Schrödinger’s Cat: by Ken Wong - This dude does baller 3-D origami comics. I love this concept so much. Kinda similar to an art project I saw at a MFA show that decorated an entire room in drawings. Additionally the sheer density of references adds another dimension. (Get it? Get it?)

Incredible Change-Bots 1+2: by Jeffery Brown - holy crap, I liked the Transformers as a kid. But reading this makes you realize how terrible Transformers really were and how awesome Jeffrey Brown is.

Pang, the Wandering Shaolin Monk (vol. 1): by Ben Costa - I have such a special place in my heart for Kung Fu (due to my childhood Power Rangers/Bruce Lee/karate phase) that I don’t think I’ve ever disliked these kinda stories. The art seems simple in this work until an action scene, then you’re like “OMG YES MOR PLZ” I wanted this book to go on foreeeeeever.

Lords of Life & Death: by Jonathon Dalton - Set in the borderlands of the Mexica (Aztec) Empire. There, right there. Full disclosure, this kinda thing was basically my undergrad major. So I’m biased. But this is quality work, faithful to the Mesoamerican artistic tradition and surprisingly historically accurate. (Except Nahuatl was the capital’s prestige dialect, Nahua was used more widely at the time; the Mexica god of warfare was more their tribal patron Huitzilopochtli than Tlaloc; tobacco wasn’t exactly used that way on the mainland; and Chaak’s nose is far larger. Funny story about that, actually…) There’s real hunger for this kinda thing in indigenous areas of Mexico, Mr. Dalton should see about getting this translated into Spanish and/or Yucateco.

Tortoise and Hare: by Mike Lucas - saw this guy on Tumblr before the show. Which also reveals my bias formed by reading Usagi Yojimbo.

Bikeman Issue 1: by Jon Chad - Yeah, imagine the bad guy from Afro Samurai who talks to bikes. Also, it’s a Western. Kinda wanna see these in every bike store across the land.

Any Empire: by Nate Powell - Holy crap. Sometimes I read a book and am just blown away by how good it is. Art Spiegelmans’s Maus was like that, so was Flannery O’Conner’s Wise Blood. Powell’s books are like that. The ladyfriend got Swallow Me Whole, which is even more goddamn brilliant, but I think Any Empire speaks to me more. I can’t believe I didn’t know who Nate Powell was before I met him. And I was all casual and normal. Jesus, if I’d read him before I met him, I’d be waaaaay too intimidated to speak English.

Stuff I haven’t read yet!

Azteca Ciudad Paradiso #1: written by Enrica Jang, pencils by   - Ohio artists represent! Yeah, I got this for the same reason I got the Maya one. Mexico City supahhero!

HEALED! vol. 1 & 2: written by George O’Conner, illustrated by S. Griffin - Hey, I liked the concept; no disease, no illness, now what? Kinda like an opposite zombie story.

The Surrogates & The Surrogates Flesh & Bone: written by Robert Venditti, Illustrated by Brett Weldele - I dunno, I liked the art. There was apparently a Bruce Willis movie about it, but I just wanted a sci-fi book

Stuff that ran out!

Hark! a Vagrant: by Kate Beaton - and no goddamn wonder, the line was going down the hallway!

CMY cat T-shirt - seriously, I shoulda mugged that guy walking across from McD’s but he was bigger than me.

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