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Day Karting

Today at TCJ, we're reading Paul Karasik's extended look at the way Paco Roca uses the landscape format to assist and direct the storytelling in his graphic novel The House.

Roca’s storytelling and inventive use of the horizontal format – rarely chosen and even more rarely successful – is brilliant. He finds many ways to breakdown the unusual oblong proportion, none of them contrived, all of them supporting the story. And that masterful manipulation of form, over and over, in service of a compelling story, had me riveted.

Today's review is from Tegan O'Neil, she's taking a look at Missed Connection by Tess Smith-Roberts. It's an extremely colorful comic, and there's something to the guts of it. Tegan:

In 2008 Tom Spurgeon coined the term “decency fantasy” to describe a certain kind of narrative that hinges on the fantasy of pleasingly mundane domesticity. In hindsight this seems a prescient label. Stories that revolve primarily around people being reasonable and working together amicably to solve common goals seem positively transgressive in an era when almost everything else in our lives sinks further into the realm of the brittle and combative. Back in 2008 when Spurgeon coined the term low-stakes slice of life was a relatively small part of the comics ecosystem, but these kinds of stories seem to hit a nerve at this particular point in time. It’s rough out here on these mean streets. People get thirsty for virtue. 

Last week, the always excellent Cynthia Rose took a look at the Coco Rey show that's up for the rest of this week in Paris. Considering how much travel we're all not doing, this is a nice way to get outside of your local.

Women in many domains bemoan their lack of progress but French caricature's brightest star is a femme. Part of Charlie Hebdo since 2009, Corinne "Coco" Rey also draws for L'Humanité, Vigousse, Les Inrockuptibles and live on ARTE television's 28 Minutes. Now, at 38, she has produced her first comic, Le Banquet. Co-created with celebrity philosopher Raphaël Enthoven, it turns Plato's Symposium into a graphic novel. Until March 14, at Paris' Galerie Art-Maniak, you can see its art as well as Coco's press cartoons.

It's a brief chance to see something singular – work that history's best press cartoonists would have loved. As with those predecessors, Coco's line is all her own. But its real tie to the greats like Gillray and Grandville lies in its communication of a ruthless acuity. Rey draws with real panache but she pulls no punches and always goes straight to the point.

I took the day off today to hang out with my daughter, who has the day off from school. It's bleak and gray outside today, although yesterday was pretty nice. I thought I'd check out the comics news, and since i'm home and available, churn out one of these blog posts until she figures out that I'm only half paying attention to what she's doing. (She is playing her birthday present, Mario Kart.) The first piece of news I found is that they're going to introduce a character named Clownhunter in the "Joker War" storyline. While I don't read new Batman comics anymore, I did for an extremely long period of time and kind of want to know more about the Clownhunter. I don't care to know more about Punchline, which is another new character that caused one of those 90's era speculation sell-outs of comics when she was introduced, because I think the idea of Joker having a girlfriend is and always has been weird, outside of the 90's cartoon, where he was less a murderer and more a zany wanna be murderer. The psychology of inserting these female characters into the comics so that they can serve as handmaidens to the Joker's post aught level of violence is as grotesque as it is when they're alternatively posited as some kind of empowerment story born out of overcoming the trauma of having a relationship with the Joker, who at any one point in the post 1980's Batman timelines has killed so people in so many disgusting fashion that any attempt by Batman writers to claim moral superiority by allowing the character to live is pure mental deficiency. There's never been a better argument for the Punisher's moral calculus than a Batman comic, at this point. That aside, the way any actor in the Blade movies would say the word "daywalker" is permanently stuck in my head, in that I walk around thinking of that particular line reading on a near constant basis, and "clownhunter" has that same kind of ring to it. There's zero creativity in character design in DC Comics these days--their artistic bench is a trough--so hopefully they'll go hire somebody who works on video games or a really upsetting anime to deliver said Clownhunter. I'd say watch this space for updates, but hey--you and I know that isn't going to happen.

I was going to write about COVID-19 but she just realized what I was doing and called me on it. Wash your hands! I just started a few months ago for a different reason and it's actually super easy to incorporate it into the morning routine. (I wash mine in the shower-timesaver.)


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