Nothing else matters to me this week other than comics, because Oni Press’s, “The Auteur” is finally coming out. So I’ll just cut to the chase:
I’ve been so excited for this comic to come out, and waiting so long, I don’t know what to say. It’s already left me speechless. This is one of those books you read with your friends and loudly say, “Did you see this?! OMG?!”. Synopses: washed up Hollywood producer, T. Rex, is trying to find salvation (and his next big hit) in a strip club, and in the bottom of a bottle of glue. It sounds outrageous (because it is), and pretty crude (it is), but the brilliance of Rick Spears and James Callahan is that every bit of naughty in this book, doesn’t feel trite, or overdone, or unnecessary. The acid trips, the stripper nuns, even swearing, is all smartly used to build the dirty and contrived Hollywood we all secretly hope that is it. And like the great “in-you-face” comics before it, there’s a point to the psychedelic madness. They manage to make commentary on celebrity/consumer/tabloid culture while not beating you over the head with anything but an amazing comic book. If it sounds like I’m overselling this book, I’m not. Nothing I say could be enough unless you’re buying it every issue for yourself and everyone you care about.
Stories that revolve around a dystopian society typically start in the middle of the story. The baddies are established, and we’re trying to figure out how to take them out. Max Bemis (author is Polarity) wants to go back, way back, and figure out why those evil organizations you love to hate (i.e. The Matrix, Star Wars, frat houses) become powerful world leaders with an agenda attached to no morality. With an ear to the ground, and platform to stand on, rapper Reese finds herself in the middle of the opposition battle against powers that be, leading the people who still maintain a shred of humanity against a pure grasp for power. It’s one part dystopian sci-fi mixed with one part horror, with Ransom Getty handling the action-filled art with superhero style, which makes the this (estimated) 16 issue series moving and dynamic.
Alex de Campi wraps up the ‘Bride of Blood’ arc in this blood bath series, giving us the best example of violent revenge in comics. Previously! On “Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight; Bride of Blood Part II” (aka the longest title ever) Branwyn’s world is left in ruins after an attack on her wedding party by wood reavers leaves her family and wedding party slaughtered. Now, taking up her fallen brother’s armor, Branwyn vows to take down those who have destroyed her world. Frederica Manfredi’s art is just this side of cartoon, which makes the violence seem all the more…violent, I guess. Set with a medieval winter background, the bloodshed stands in stark contrast to its setting, but still captures the ‘70s exploitation cinematic feel that these comics are emulating. But that’s not to say these are storyboard comics! The two issue arc format Campi uses for this series is perfect. Such action. Many violence. Very revenge.
Vincent Van Goat finally gets to step into the limelight, and recieve the recognition he so wildly deserves. Quantum and Woody is already a pretty humorous story, but this one is all goat jokes all the time. And goats are historically way funnier than people.
Nijigahara Holograph HC
Without exaggerating, this might be the most important manga to come out stateside this year. Delivering eye-painfully beautiful art, Inio Asano (Solanin) weaves a mind-fuck of a classic horror story of murder, growing up, monsters that live in sewers, and an end of world prediction. The pain of being an outcast, growing up, and the relationships with foster with people all play an undertone that makes the supernatural monsters feel even more terrifying. But this story is a puzzle; told in an un-chronological order, the somewhat Lynchian characters are only pieces of their full selves we get throughout the book. And believe me when I say multiple readings are required to put everything together. Though the more time you spend with this book, the richer the symbolism becomes. It’s not meant for a quick read, because like if you sped read a bunch of Sylvia Plath, things get heavy. That said I did read this in like 3 hours because I couldn’t put it down.