We’ve got two new reviews for you today. First comes a review by Sarah Horrocks of Blutch’s tale of ancient Rome, Peplum, which is the
debut second release from New York Review Comics.
Peplum starts at the far reaches of the Roman empire, following an exiled squad of adventurers descending into a cave to find a goddess rumored to be imprisoned there. Finding her neither alive nor dead, they remove her from the cave, and are immediately cursed with the cravenness her visage induces in them. One dies of fever. Another finds his face eaten away by strange pustules. Madness overtakes the group, and in the end a lone figure stands atop a blood pile of murderous death. This man, goddess in tow, and bearing a resemblance to Martin Potter from Fellini’s Satyricon (1969), proceeds to go on a series of adventures throughout Ancient Rome that remix and refigure Petronius’ original work.
The effect is as alien as the original text, but in many ways much more brutal and violent. If Fellini’s adaption used the romantic cocksmanship at the heart of the original novel to depict a dreamlike bacchanalia of science fiction-like excess, Blutch blunts those ambitions into wild-eyed madness, interrogating the crippling obsession that the sublime experience induces within its possessed. If Fellini is the ecstasy of the high, Blutch’s Peplum is the hunger of purgatory.
Second is Rob Kirby’s review of Sick, the new graphic memoir from Gabby Schulz (aka Ken Dahl).
In his writing and art, Schulz offers brutally frank self-assessment worthy of R. Crumb at his most lacerating; grim, grotesque imagery that often metastasizes into Cronenberg-esque body horror, and scathing outrage toward American societal inequities that any hardcore anarchist or hard-left political cartoonist would appreciate. In Sick, Schulz doesn’t just spill ink, he spills blood and guts: bright, red & squishy, in operatically grotesque, often nightmarish drawings. He depicts the title illness in full-scale body-horror mode, which in turn triggers an intensely self-loathing self-examination, which in turn bleeds into a scathing indictment of the American body politic. It’s a challenging 82-page primal scream, like a performance art piece—the kind Karen Finley was famous for in the ’90s—in illustrated form, viscerally tearing apart all the personal and social filters we construct like armor, to keep ourselves going, to stay sane.
—Interviews & Profiles. The University of Chicago has posted video of an interview of Daniel Clowes conducted by Daniel Raeburn, whose Imp #1 is still one of the very best pieces of writing ever to have been published about the cartoonist.
Michael Cavna at The Washington Post spoke to series designer Seth about the final volumes of The Complete Peanuts.
“Today, it seems like a no-brainer,” Seth says of collecting Schulz’s entire works. But more than a dozen years ago, he says, it still seemed like a no-go. When Seth worked with Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth years ago on a Comics Journal project, he tossed out the idea like a distant wish: If anyone ever published the entire catalog of “Peanuts” strips, Seth said, he’d love to design it.
Then one day, out of the blue, the call came. Seth and Groth were soon traveling to “Peanuts” headquarters in Santa Rosa.
Our most recent contributor to the Cartoonist’s Diary feature, Sara Lautman, recently spoke to Sophia Foster-Dimino.
When I quit working corporate I was making my life more difficult in many ways, but I had faith (unfounded or not) that it would be beneficial for me. It’s very scary, especially for someone prone to instability, to take away routines, obligations, easy opportunities to socialize, security, creature comforts, job sponsored healthcare… but my thinking (and this is just a vague possibly superstitious conviction) is that by forcing yourself to get these difficult circumstances under control, you lay the foundations of your own stability, and prove to yourself that you’re capable of weathering this scarier life, which will prevent you from freaking out during worse crises down the road. And a comparatively more sheltered life wouldn’t have accomplished that.
—Commentary. The Doug Wright Awards has posted two tributes delivered at this year’s ceremony: Seth on Darwyn Cooke
He was very mouthy and inappropriate, and i would say even pushy. These are qualities I respect.
I still can’t believe we’re living in a world without Alvin Buenaventura.
—News. A class action suit has been filed against the Emerald City Comicon for not paying their volunteers.
A class action lawsuit has been filed by a former Emerald City Comicon volunteer—the organization calls them “minions”—alleging that the convention violates labor laws by treating their volunteers like employees, but failing to pay them.
The suit, filed in King County Superior Court on May 16 by plaintiff Jerry Brooks and naming ECCC and three members of the Demonakos family as defendants, alleges that as many as 250 people may be among the class.