We’ve got two reviews for you this morning. First up is Bob Levin writing about the first three issues of Aaron Lange’s fairly scabrous-sounding Trim. Here’s a sample of Levin:
Since 2013, Lange has been on a comic-a-year jag with Trim (The Comix Company), a 28-page, five-and-a-half-by-eight-and-a-half-inch, color-covered, black-and-white of, to use his word, “transgressive” humor, which reads like a 3AM walk down a back alley, with windows you didn’t expect opening into shops you can’t quite believe were licensed, and from whose contents you slightly recoil, only to recognize enough relief at their public availability that, while stepping faster to flee, you stare more intently at each one. Then you turn around to check you weren’t mistaken. (Trim’s predecessor, Romp, reads like an alley you – unless your sensibility comes more sturdily carapaced than mine – step into, and then withdraw to spend twenty minutes scraping your shoe clean on the curb. Romp is an – okay, perhaps necessarily boundary-busting – exercise in its gleeful expression of effrontery; but I found it a positive for Lange’s maturation that, with Trim, his characters no longer discharge bodily fluids upon their sexual partners as tokens of their affections.)
Lange, though, still displays a uniquely configured, mind, capable of scooping from the cultural souk references to and “appreciations” of such figures as Damien Hirst, Georges Bataille, William Burroughs, Zoe Lund, Elliot Rodgers, and Slavoj Zizek, which, you have to admit, is quite a collection of cats to stuff into one sack. (Reading Lange, it helps to keep Wikipedia handy. Me, I knew two of those six, unassisted.)
Next we have Rob Clough’s review of the first two issues of Ink Brick, an anthology of comics-as-poetry. Here Rob goes:
The subgenre of comics-as-poetry has been exploding of late, with an anthology of that name being published a couple of years ago and several artists forming collectives such as Team Weird Comics as both a collaborative and motivational measure. Still, it wasn’t until the first issue of Ink Brick came out in 2014 that a regularly scheduled publication devoted solely to comics-as-poetry emerged. Ink Brick casts a wide net on comics-as-poetry, including the sort of experimentation for its own sake that I feel falls outside of poetry as well as some instances of mere illustrated poems. For the most part, however, the submissions here are great examples of combining word and image in immersive and evocative ways as well as creating worlds both abstract and concrete.
The editors-in-chief are Alexander Rothman and Paul K. Tunis, with Gary Sullivan and Bianca Stone being listed as editors. Rothman’s own comics work has advanced quite a bit since he first began; he has moved beyond simply illustrating a poem and improved his line such that it can now carry the poetic narrative almost entirely on its own. His use of negative space in his poem “Keeping Time” helps create that sense of heat, of time clicking by slowly, while bees devour sugar from a nearby soda can as a hot summer day bursts open with rain.
—Reviews & Commentary. Bart Beaty again at the What Were Comics? site with a strong post on the formal properties of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. I hope they can keep up the momentum there; it’s a very promising site.
Brian Nicholson writes about Devin Flynn’s Hawd Tales, and ponders the reviewer’s responsibilities when writing about an artist tackling tricky subject matter.
As previously mentioned in our comments section, DVD Talk has a review of the new digital “motion” version of Dave Sim’s High Society.
Rob Clough catches up to recent work by the prolific Noah Van Sciver.
—Interviews & Profiles. The New York Times profiles Alison Bechdel again, just as the Broadway version of her Fun Home is about to debut.
Heidi MacDonald talks to Comix Experience owner Brian Hibbs about his San Francisco store’s new graphic novel club and why he’s felt compelled to start it. (He attributes it to a minimum-wage hike.)
Darwyn Cooke continues to avoid (or be in denial about) the actual issue people have with his involvement in Before Watchmen.
—Publishing News. Koyama Press has announced their fall 2015 lineup; it’s typically very strong-looking.