What we do in life echoes in eternity, so prepare for your eternity to echo with Matt Seneca’s extensive review of Antoine Cossé’s Showtime, which we excerpted here at The Journal just a few weeks ago. Here’s the part of Matt’s review where he distills a 176 page graphic novel into a bunch of seemingly contradictory influences in a way that makes those of us who are no longer jealous of him kiss our fingers like we just baked the perfect pizza pie.
Rather, it scans like a take on Yuichi Yokoyama’s Travel reinterpreted through the hyperactive, goofball Continental sensibility of Olivier Schrauwen. Or maybe an issue of a Golden Age super-mystic comic like Dr. Fate crossed with the post-Tarantino sensibility of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. There’s a lot going on here, in short, but through it all Cosse levitates comfortably above his influences and contemporaries to produce a work that feels like it could come only from him.
Bonus points to those of you who understand his sports references without looking them up: i’m not a real man!
News. Kate Beaton’s crowdfunding site for her sister’s cancer treatment has hit its initial target and is now looking for further help with the intention of pursuing a cure in the United States. Kate has set up a Flickr page to better showcase the excellent and moving comics she’s been putting together, collecting and pairing with family photos–I linked to this once, and am linking to it again. Moving, funny, peerless.
Interviews & Profiles. Jason Shiga stops by the Multiversity website to talk about Demon on the Comics Syllabus podcast. Shiga’s a smart, funny creator and Demon is the second best graphic novel First Second has published (their best is Gus & His Gang)–this is a no brainer.
Reviews & Sundry. It’s list season, so head on over to The Globe & Mail to check out Sean Roger’s picks for best graphic novels of the year. For some dumb reason, Sean’s editors label his picks as “Sean Roger’s Favorite Comics” instead of just calling them the Best of the Year, which is the language they use for most of the other sections.
Over at Kirkus, they’ve posted the one graphic novel list they will bother to come up with. In keeping with Kirkus tradition, it’s the middle grade list, as the kids division of Kirkus is the only one aware that comics are still regularly published for human consumption.
At Sequential State, Alex Hoffman reckons with the difficulties inherent in publishing collections of long-running webcomics. While he uses a Star Wars example to make a point about comics–as close to a dealbreaker as it gets–that’s just an editorial problem, sort of like the one he blames for a perceived rise of disappointing graphic novels.
Artists collecting their own work for Kickstarter may not have that kind of funding or institutional support, but it’s incumbent on any publisher printing these books to make these editorial decisions. There are a lot of fine comics out there that could be good or great with an editor. And, let’s be frank. It’s clear that these are editorial considerations that are not happening, because M.F.K. vol. 1 exists as a book as it currently stands.
I went looking for reviews of the most recent issue of Savage Dragon, the long-running Image series that long ago became one of the oddest things Image publishes, after hearing from various retailers about the explicit depictions of sex that took place in the comic. Considering how far back that particular fetish of creator Erik Larsen goes, I didn’t think that there would be much to it–but I suppose featuring enough sperm to fill an aquarium is worth some kind of prize. Most reviews seemed to take the story at face value, reckoning as much with the comic’s XXX related content as with the weird meta-commentary within the story about its other narrative choice, which was the return of a character not seen since a Santa Claus related issue published back when the comic was in the double digits.
Generally speaking, I don’t think you could really call the comic bad, but I do think you could dismiss it as such as an easy way to avoid the extraordinary weirdness of it–this being a comic where the creator decided to up the pornographic content as a test of his readers patience modeled on what he remembered Dave Sim having done in old issues of Cerberus, while defending himself in the letters page against Trump supporters furious with him for his depiction of their beloved President in previous issues, set during a story arc where the main character has been forced to move to Canada following the election, a Canada Larsen has decided will be depicted more realistically than the way he has spent the last couple of decades depicting Chicago.
Oh, and the sex is, in part, motivated in part because the character finally got a vasectomy. There’s a lot more information about said vasectomy, and the realistic implications, at the link above. Get your freak on, Larsen.