Wednesday, September 30, 2009
It has been some time since I have read any of Moebius' work. I think the last books I read were the small format science fiction books that Dark Horse published. I was going through some books to read and saw The Blueberry Saga. Moebius (AKA Jean Giraud) has such a strong body of work but it looks like most of it is out of print. Even this edition of Blueberry's adventures is from 1996 by MoJo Press and out of print. The one and only drawback to this edition is its in black and white and the art is reduced in size to the larger format it was meant to be printed. On the plus side,there is a nice short story "Three Black Birds" that Jean Giraud did story and art. Really nice loose art and good story. The main stories are great. So much happens in the 2 major story arcs in this book. For fans of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood films or Johan Hex stories then find yourself some Lt. Blueberry collections (look for the Epic Comics editions). Giraud has a good feel for the wild west and can show the huge beauty of the landscape and the vast crowds of people trying to take over the land. Jean-Michel Charlier wrote the stories and they hold up very well. Good character development and interweaving plotlines to all converge at the end. Things are not all black and white in the story and that is one of its strengths.
After finishing this I wanted more. That led me to looking up Moebius on Amazon and was sad to see so little in print.With all the collections coming out from so many different publishers,I am shocked no one is printing Moebius. I'm hoping that will change soon and a new wave of readers can be introduced to the world of Jean "Moebius" Giraud.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I recently picked up a copy of The Perhapanauts: Triangle,published by Image Comics.
This comes from the minds of Todd Dezago and Craig Rousseau. I never got a chance to get the issues they did for Dark Horse with the same characters but I jumped in and started reading and what a great job they are doing. This is really a fun series and with great characters that are developed as they go along at a great pace. Craig Rousseau's artwork is in top form and its the best work I have seen by him. The art as well as the story goes from dark drama to light comedy. Todd Dezago's stories are tight and just right. I have always felt that Todd's stories have that something in his stuff that reminds me of Stan Lee's work in the 1960's.
I didn't feel lost reading this without the other series (but I plan on getting them for sure) and Todd does a great job of covering past ground. At 208 pages you are getting lots of reading and well worth it.
It seems that the few folks that know about this series all bring up one character: Choopie !!!!!! It makes sense as he is the comedy relief and a funny looking character too. Arisa,MG,Molly,Big round out this group of folks that hunt down and go after all sorts of bad guys,monsters and other strange creatures of the night and beyond. If you like horror,superhero,humor,romance or series like B.P.R.D. then give this a try. Besides from the great storytelling from Rousseau,there are back-up solo stories by other great artists: Richard Case, Jason Armstrong (who did amazing artwork on the mini-series Abe Sapien: The Drowning),Kelly Yates (Merrow's Tale is well drawn and a great example of the twists this series delivers), and Tad Stones.
When I started this book,I didn't know much about the series and then when I did read it well I couldn't put it down and that is a good read in my book.I look forward to more work from Todd and Craig!!!
Friday, June 12, 2009
Better late than never my take on this years MoCCA:
From the 2nd year of MoCCA's existence, I have been to each MoCCA festival without fail. Some I have gone only one day and many for both days. I look forward to it each year. There is nothing like it to me and am glad to see it grow so much.
However,(there is always an however) this year is was a different beast. I found the Armory location not to work as well as the Puck building. Just the look of the place didn't visually work with the spirit of indie comix. Then there was the real hands on problems.Waiting for more than hour outside well after the event started.Waiting near some dog crap and watching many people step in it and doing crazy jumps to miss it.Once they were letting people in the line did move.I forgot to buy tickets online and this time I was glad because it would have been a wasted effort since you had to wait an hour plus anyways.They charged me the wrong price for 2 days for 2 people and gave me no tickets.It wasn't until we were inside the place and had another problem that my girlfriend asked how are we going to get in tomorrow with no tickets??
I did pay with credit card (which they were not happy about) so I could show some paperwork. I had to see 3 people before someone could help me and he did tell me they charged me too little but gave me the tickets anyways. It was very nice of him. But the other problem we had which led to this was trying to buy a t-shirt.Every year my girlfriend Kara buys a t-shirt with the new MoCCA poster art on the shirt. Not this year,they were not for sale. That took some time to find out. Even the staffers were shocked to find this out. They had them under the table but would not sell them because they were afraid that people would start to wear them and be mistaken for the staff. Didn't make sense to us or the 2 people behind the table since they had to wear bracelets to work the show.One person told us that she gets people to pay the extra $5 with the shirt to become or renew membership in past years that she couldn't believe they were not selling the shirts. Just throwing away the chance for memberships?? The other guy was so sure it was a misunderstanding that he told us to wait and he would throw in a poster from a past year into the deal.Which was nice since we were planning on buying a set. After waiting some time we found out that they were not for sale,period. We left and one guy said to check tomorrow and see if things changed. This was our first attempt at buying something at this years MoCCA and not a good start for this event .There was a weird smell of damp wood and looking down I guess it had to be the wood floor and the rising heat.I thought to myself that it will get hot quick here and it did.
We walked around and could tell that some the folks were not even set up. Fantagraphics tables was a mess and I felt really bad for them. They were scrambling to get things out and had 2 artists at the tables for signings and deal with the public. Jason was there and he signed a copy of Low Moon and did a great drawing inside. So that made things better right away. It was great to see many of the new books from Fantagraphics.The Abstract Comics collection looked very nice. The 2nd Fletcher Hanks collection,Sam's Strips,Luba HC (drop dead nice),Blazing Combat,Prince Valiant,Brinkley Girls,3rd James Flora collection,New Peter Bagge collection,Michael Kupperman's new book,Carol Tyler's new one and more.Jordan Crane's Uptight # 3 has one of the nicest covers of the year.Also,Richard Sala's Delphine # 1-4 were all there. I believe that is the complete run of that series and it looks so nice and rich with those brown tones. I wish I knew if they plan on collecting anything from that line. They are nice looking issues and the production is very high.
Drawn and Quarterly looked busy right from the start. Seth and Adrian Tomine seem to have a steady line. Same with Gabrielle Bell. Whenever I walked by their tables it was busy. It was great to see the activity. They had the latest Moomin book,Seth's book (which I read and loved so much),Melvin Monster,A Drifting Life (a masterpiece for sure),32 Stories,Doug Wright,Prayer Requested,Gabrielle Bell's new one and more.
It was great to see the Bries table there and look for new books. The standout for me was Red Riding Hood Redux by Nora Krug.5 small books in color telling the classic tale from the viewpoint of 5 different characters. The artwork is charming and look forward to reading it,from what I saw it looks wordless and all 5 books held together with a rubberband with title/author/publisher listed and it was done by hand!! Nora Krug was very nice and saw that on Sunday she was sold out of the book. I also bought a small book of drawings by Dupuy/Berberian. I wish more of their work was translated into english. They had a copy of an artbook by Joe's Bar co-creator Jose Munoz that was very nice but expensive.
The other great thrill was to see someone have Hunt Emerson work for sale.I picked up a copy of The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner in HC. It doesn't seem like his work gets much play in the USA and that is a shame. He is so good and funny. Lady Chatterley's Lover was and is one of my favorite novels made into comix.
Next we went to the Buenaventura Press table and saw Jack Survives creator Jerry Moriarty and he seemed busy with fans too. I finally decided to get as many Tom Gauld items as I could get and afford. I got Three Very Small Comics Vol. 2,3,Robot Monsters ETC.,and The Gigantic Robot. Little did I know the guy I was handing the books to pay was Tom Gauld himself. I keep hoping someone will do a nice collection of his comix and drawings.
I was glad to see Kevin Cannon there selling copies of the new edition of Far Arden.It looks very nice but I bought the first edition and I like that size and edition too.I did buy 3 mini-comix from him:Time Travel,Sloth Force Seven (Kevin gave me this one for free,Thanks Kevin!!) and Victoria. People should check out Far Arden.There is such energy in that graphic novel and the artwork fits well with the story.A perfect match.
The highlight on Sunday was picking up Kazimir Strzepek's The Morning Star Volume 1 and 2. Kazimir signed and did a drawing in both books.He was very nice and was busy both days and felt lucky I got to him when I did on Sunday with no waiting.
I did try the MoCCA tables again to get the new shirt but no luck so I got a set of the posters. I was disappointed to see that advance copies of Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli was sold out and only had coasters for the book to hand out and he was at the table and did sign them too. They could have sold so many more copies but they said they were on a boat making it to the USA. I didn't know when the advance copies went on sale,maybe the MoCCA site had the information but I find the site hard to figure out. I ran into my old friend Mitch Cohn and we talked some about comics and this being his first MoCCA and he really needed water due to the heat but both machines that sold bottled water were empty and didn't see anyone selling bottles of water.Maybe we missed them if they were there. I left soon after the Mazzucchelli disappointment and was really glad because it was too hot.
I plan on going next year but really hope they make some big changes so this will be a better event.MoCCA really needs to face up to the problems they have and to fix them.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Recently I was happy to get and read the new book: Boody:The Bizarre Comics Of Boody Rogers. Published by Fantagraphics Books and edited by Craig Yoe. This book collects a sampling of Boody's work on Babe:Darling Of The Hills,Sparky Watts and Dudley.
Much of this work I had read before, but reading it again, I have to say it holds up well and it is very very funny and just odd. Its amazing to me that this work was published in the 1940's and 1950's and wonder if anyone read or edited these comics whenthey were published. The order that I listed the works by Boody are what many think his best with Dudley being the weakest. Babe is great, but I find Sparky Watts the real gem and that may have everything to do to the fact it is a longer and larger body of work.
Boody must have realized that the world is filled with odd and funny folks even if the people around him didn't. Boy, does he throw all that into his comics and then some. In Sparky Watts alone he has Slap Happy and Hattie. Slap Happy with the large, really big feet and Hattie with just hat and feet and nothing else that we can see. That is, just visually, his stories as written are funny even when the characters are being mean to each other. No one is spared in Booty's world. At any given time his characters can and will be the butt of the joke. These stories are surreal screwball comics to me. Along the lines of Basil Wolverton, Dick Briefer and John Stanley. Boody makes great use of the surreal in a great dream sequence,in a circus, a mystery mountain, boxing, and baseball. Boody's ability to use what is current at the time in terms of music, sports and movie stars (Clark Gable) makes it a fun read. On top of all this his artwork is really great!!! His characters look and act funny on the page. He can draw odd and inventive-looking folks and still be funny. Look for the little framed pictures on the wall in one story to get a fun visual story within a story, stuff one would expect to see from Carl Barks or Will Elder.
Boody really liked to keep his stories going in a to be continued format. Maybe it had to do with Sparky Watts running in Big Shot and as a newspaper strip that he stuck to it. Or his work on Zack Mosely's Smilin' Jack. Babe is filled with stories like that, even ending an issue with Babe's neck being broken !!!
I really wish there was more information included in the book.There is only 3 pages of text on Boody Rogers life and work!!!!! I seem to find this to be the case on all the books edited by Craig Yoe and when I read his books I feel like something is always missing. I read elsewhere that this was done in the hopes of a book on Boody's life and career. Regardless,there should have been more information added to the book. Even if it was a brief history on the material in the book. The history of Sparky Watts would have been great. What came first the Big Shot stories, the newspaper strip?? Was the Sparky Watts comic books new material or material from Big Shot. Was the Big Shot stories from the newspaper strip or new???
When I first read a Boody Rogers story in Raw many years ago,I thought it was a joke.Even when Boody wrote his autobiography: Homeless Bound,I thought it was a joke.Then I found some of his old comic books and that changed everything for me.Many years later,I picked up and read Homeless Bound and even though there is little on his life in comics there are many great stories of his like on the road and the wild west. You can tell from his writing he was for real and that is as good as it gets.
I hope new readers to Boody's work give this a chance. If you like the odd and funny, the different and non-mainstream, or indie/underground comix.....you will love this. Even if you have all this work its nice to see it in one package and even has one of his pages from the first newsstand comic book ever published in the USA. Fantagraphics are doing a great job on getting out Golden Age comic book stories to new readers.Proving that Marvel and DC were not the only game around or even the best.With the Fletcher Hanks book,Supermen and Boody Rogers,I hope there will be others to follow. I would love to see a nice Dick Briefer or Bill Everett collection.