2012’s almost here, but I have so many more comics to read! The pile grows ever-larger, blotting out the sight of the coming year. Plus, you know, the end times. I’ll need something to wile away the days as I await the fulfillment of the Mayan prophecy, the collision of Planet X, total economic meltdown, and the eruption of the Yellowstone National Park’s super-volcano.
We have Molly Lawless’ second installment of Infandum in stock. I haven’t read the first in the series, but if it’s on par with this book, then Lawless is a talent to watch. Infandum #2 is a fun and funny look at a variety of topics. The bulk of the book is a tongue-in-cheek retelling of famous baseball goofs (narrated by the embodiment of the flub; mister Bill Buckner). The stories are as interesting as they are amusing (which I appreciated, as normally have very little interest in sports and sports trivia). Rounding out the book are several autobiographical tales as well as an instructional vignette on how to react to being dumped.
Lawless has an expressive and detailed drawing style that compliments her sense of humor nicely. The sideways alignment of some of the baseball stories is a bit awkward on the page (I suspect they were drawn originally for someone else’s anthology), but that’s really the only criticism I have. Her work is well worth checking out.
I’ve been thinking about widening the scope of Morgan Pielli’s Pile of Minis to include small press comics in addition to self-published minis. There’s some tremendous stuff being produced that, while it does reach a wider audience than self-published work, it is still largely unknown outside of the indie scene. When I saw that we got John Martz’s Heaven All Day in stock, I figured now is the perfect time to take the plunge.
I didn’t go into Heaven All Day cold. I had read most of the story when Martz was posting it on his blog as a web comic. After having read it online, I immediately took out my pens and spent several hours trying to recreate the breezy, effortless line with which he draws. Martz’s characters are amazingly expressive; particularly the robot protagonist who is able to convey a wealth of emotions with his single giant eye. There is a silent-film quality to this book; not just because it is a pantomime story, but also via the way the characters’ inner workings are brought to the surface through body language.
I was also taken with the subtle world-building of this book. It’s an easy thing to overlook in a comic that utilizes a classically-cartoony style. But there are great little touches throughout the book that give you a sense of what this near-future world is like; from the riot gear-clad security guards to the infinity-loop cult that prosthelytizes on the street-corner. Martz has put a tremendous amount of thought into this world, but nothing in the book feels labored or forced.
Heaven All Day is drawn with profound skill and confidence. But more than that, there is a trust in the reader’s intelligence. This is a quiet, thoughtful comic that takes the reader to some very, very interesting places. This is easily one of my favorites among the books I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing.