Today on the site we have two reviews for you. First, Rob Clough writes about Foggy Notions, a collection of autobiographical humor comics by November Garcia.
Garcia is funny because she zeroes in on the weird, the inappropriate and the extreme–and that’s just with regard to her own behavior. There’s a hilarious sequence where she’s at a house party with her musician boyfriend, and she starts swigging whiskey like it’s beer when he starts playing. In a real-life version of The Hangover, she spends the rest of the story going through her post-bender protocol (assessing damage to herself and others as well as seeing what might be missing) and then tries to recreate the events of the evening. One of Garcia’s strengths as a storyteller is escalating the stakes of a story while maintaining an even keel as a narrator. Her increasingly poor decision-making is exacerbated by she and her future husband Roy getting spotted by the cops (who at first threatened to run in Roy and then Garcia) before finally making it home–when she drunkenly proposes to Roy, calls him chicken when he hesitates, and then does a chicken dance to drive home her point. It’s a story that’s equal parts distressing and hilarious, as even Garcia starts to think she may be drinking too much.
Then Annie Mok is here with a review of Jen Lee’s Garbage Night.
Jen Lee’s characters, like Pinocchio or a Dickensian hero, are always hungry. The title Garbage Night refers to the hallowed night that three teenage animals wait for, but never comes because all the humans in the neighborhood have moved on. It’s a dystopian, possibly post-apocalyptic cartoon setting. Soon the dog-deer-raccoon trio meet a scroungy dog named Barnaby, who promises a shortcut to a town where humans still reside. Bright colors and bouncy drawings carry this story of friendship, trust, and fear.
—News. The nominations for this year’s Eisner Awards have been announced, and as always (for almost all awards), they’re the usual mix of solid, semi-solid, and WTF. Sonny Liew’s Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye earned six nominations, and among publishers, Fantagraphics and Image led the field, with 20 and 17 nods respectively.
Former New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff has accepted a similar position at Esquire, which is good news in terms of opening one more potential major market for cartoonists. In an interview with Michael Cavna, says that in his new job, he will completely abandon the selection process he used at The New Yorker for two decades.
“That selection process,” Mankoff tells The Post’s Comic Riffs, “is delusional.”
That’s right — as much as he relied on this gags-in-hand approach, the veteran editor is convinced that it wasn’t the best system for consistently developing the best humor. Each line drawing effectively only got an instant audition, so even promising gags that didn’t quite “sing” right then and there were quickly shown the stage door.
He says that his new collaborative approach wouldn’t have made sense in the “context” of The New Yorker, but it’s not clear from this piece exactly why…
—Interviews & Profiles. Quill & Quire profiles Katherine Collins of Neil the Horse fame.
When I visited Collins in February, a pile of original art spread out on the dining-room table was the only visible evidence that this 69-year-old woman with perfect pitch once was the cartoonist Arn Saba, creator of Neil the Horse, a rubber-band-legged character drawn in a style reminiscent of early Disney cartoons and best remembered for a unique 15-issue run during the black-and-white-comics boom – and bust – of the 1980s. Saba spent more than 15 years combining his love of cartooning with his love of music to produce the adventures of Neil and his friends: Soapy, a feline grifter, and Mam’selle Poupée, a living doll in search of true love. Collins had dusted off the large boards and sheets of film in preparation for a collected Neil the Horse volume Conundrum Press will publish this spring, the first time the character will appear in print in nearly three decades.