BLOG

476

Rob Clough is here with a review of Caitlin Skaalrud's Houses of the Holy.

Houses of the Holy is Caitlin Skaalrud's journey into the deepest, darkest memories and emotions. Clinically discussing the events that led to a certain conclusion would have done little to actually convey the experience, so instead Skaalrud chose to invent a visual language to depict and a poetic language to describe the events of a lifetime that led her main character to her lowest ebb. The book's blurb describes the journey as Dantean, but there's no Virgil present to explain what we're seeing to either Skaalrud's presumed stand-in character or to readers. Instead of a straightforward narrative, there's an emotional narrative wrapped in symbols, fragments, and genuinely harrowing sequences.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. Tucker Stone is reviewing the comics he brought home from this year's SPX.

This collection is the most painful one Dustin [Harbin] has done, and considering the reputation that autobiographical work has for being lonely-worship solipsism, it's strangely courageous to see Dustin--one of the few people in comics that is funny in the sense that he makes you laugh, as opposed to being called funny because he makes you feel like you're safe--commit to the relative mundane topic of habitual exercise, middle-aged ennui and everything else that comes with break-up recovery.

Sean Rogers reviews new books from Tom Gauld, Jessica Campbell, and Riad Sattouf.

In this debut monograph by Jessica Campbell – whom the faux-scholarly preface deems “one of the world’s leading art critics” – the author serves as docent, guiding readers through the masterworks of 20th-century art. Emphasis on “master”: The dudes who ruled high modernism are the subject here, though it’s not their bodies of work that come under scrutiny so much as their bodies, full stop.

Andrew Hickey reviews Alan Moore's Jerusalem. (There are obviously a slew of reviews of this novel; I plan on mostly just linking to the most comics-familiar of them.)

If I were to attempt to summarise this utterly unsummarisable novel, the best way to put it would be that it’s plot is a history of Moore’s ancestry, both physical and literary, that its themes are those of From Hell (with a little of Promethea thrown in), and that its style is that of Voice of the Fire. It is, in short, a culmination of everything Moore has been working on throughout the last thirty years, and possibly his greatest work (though writing less than a week after the book’s release, it’s impossible to say for sure). It’s a book that not only resists criticism, it contains the obvious criticisms of itself in its last chapter—

—Interviews & Profiles. Robert Anthony Siegel profiles Archie Rand, painter and creator of the comics-adjacent art book, The 613.

Rand considers “The 613” a single painting, but it is in fact a series of canvases illustrating the 613 commandments of the Torah, the backbone of Jewish law. It is self-consciously religious art — and yet maybe it isn’t. Rand’s style is derived from the EC Comics of the 1940s and ’50s — think Tales from the Crypt and early Mad magazine — and his imagery stands at an odd slant to the ancient Hebrew text. Commandment Number 10, “Not to Test the Prophet,” pictures a man standing in the open mouth of a brontosaurus. Number 80, “To Bind Phylacteries so that the Laws will be as a Sign upon your Arms,” shows an Alfred E. Neuman–type goofball playing with a yo-yo.

The Comics Alternative podcast talks to Carol Tyler.

The Virtual Memories podcast talks to New Yorker cartoonist and Peter Arno biographer Michael Maslin.

—Misc. Alan Moore endorses Jeremy Corbyn.

As an anarchist I don’t vote, preferring direct political action and comment without an elected intermediary. If I did vote, however, I would try to vote with the way that viable human history appeared to be going rather than against it. The economic and political agendas imposed in the West over the last thirty or forty years clearly lead only to a ruined environment, to international austerity while the planet’s billionaires attempt to become trillionaires, to Donald Trump, and to a horrific abyss that threatens to make the English Civil War look like a Sunday-school outing.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *