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London Calling: Blank Slate Books and Nobrow Press

Every now and then, when a new publishing concern pops up, one wonders how it’s possible they weren’t there all along. Some publishers fill a niche that one didn’t even know existed, and as a reader you’re the richer for having been exposed to it. Sparkplug Comic Books, PictureBox, and Secret Acres are three American companies that immediately come to mind, though all three were obviously strongly influenced by the aesthetic (if not economic) model blazed by Tom Devlin’s Highwater Books. Koyama Press has a similar role in Canada. Both of these countries have strong alt-cartooning traditions. England is a country that historically has seemed way behind the US, Canada, and Europe in terms of publishing and appreciating art comics, but two burgeoning publishing concerns are filling that gap. Nobrow Press and Blank Slate Books bear little resemblance to each other in terms of design and aesthetic focus, but both are playing a role in not only providing a place for young British artists to publish their work, but also in bringing the work of European artists to English-speaking audiences for the first time.

If Blank Slate has a U.S. analogue, it might be Top Shelf. The emphasis here is on narrative and character above all else. The design of the books is simple and clear, but not especially spectacular. Three of the four books I was sent deal with autobio variations and the fourth is historical fiction. In that respect, these books differ a bit from Top Shelf in that they eschew most genre conventions. Let’s take a quick look at each of them in turn:

The Accidental Salad, by Joe Decie. This is my favorite of Blank Slate’s offerings. Decie uses a muted, restrained black & white wash to uncork quirky and fanciful autobiographical musings. This forty-page comic reminds me quite a bit of Lewis Trondheim’s autobio work, in that it is not so much directly confessional but rather displays the machinations of the artist to turn himself into a droll punchline. As in Approximate Continuum Comics, Decie starts a narrative anecdote in an expected manner, then quickly moves into absurd territory, all in a deadpan style. The strip where he talks about how he does his comics is a great example, wherein he discusses spreading coriander seeds around his scanner so that the demons who haunt those devices will be distracted by having something to count. Decie manages to mine humor from his wife and young son in a similar fashion, though those strips tend to be closer to pure naturalism than the flights of fancy that take place strictly in his own head. All told, this was one of the best autobio comics I read in 2011. The format of this comic is much like that of the Ignatz line: heavy paper, subdued colors on the cover, and a dust-jacket style cover with french flaps. It’s both beautiful and familiar.

Luchadoras, by Peggy Adam. This is an odd book that addresses the misogynistic violence taking place in Juarez, Mexico through the experiences of a single fictional character and the people she meets. Adam’s line is crude but powerful, packed with a considerable emotional charge but also buffered by restraint. It’s a polemic disguised as a narrative, one in which all of the men in Juarez (and some of the women) are complicit in crimes against women. The result is unrelentingly grim, and even if it feels like Adam is stacking the deck narratively by piling on misery after misery on her characters, the protagonist of the book manages to live through the experience. In some ways, the ending Adam comes up with is far more crushing than if the character of Alma had died. The foreign man who comes to her rescue in some respects is a stand-in for the reader, wanting to rescue Alma from her horrible life. Instead, he betrays her as well, killing off the last vestige of hope and idealism she possesses. The insights the book offers are not especially novel, but that’s part of the point: the book is an invective at the very idea that this tragedy even exists in a supposedly modern society.

The Band, by Mawil. The artist is a German autobio cartoonist whose rambling style is very much in the vein of Jeffrey Brown and the wave of Swedish autobio cartoonists from the last decade or so. Mawil lived on the other side of the Iron Curtain and was just thirteen when the Berlin Wall fell. That must have been an incredible time for a young person to transition from childhood to burgeoning adulthood, as literally anything must have felt possible and the typical self-mythologizing that comes along with being a teen must have risen to epic heights with the promise of the West available at last. The Band is a sort of more gleeful companion piece to Gipi’s Garage Band, one without the emotional resonance of that latter work but still packed to the gills with energetic cartooning. His line is a bit like Manu Larcenet’s: loose, busy, and rubbery. Cartoony characters jam each panel with all sorts of action for the eye to follow. This book feels a bit overstuffed at eighty pages, especially for a book that’s so episodic in nature, following the misadventures of the various bands Mawil particpated in.

Home and Away, by Mawil. This collection of strips is a better gauge of the artist’s strengths. None of what he discusses here is exactly innovative in the world of autobio strips, but it’s attractive and funny. His line holds color well, and the strips about his particular love for a video game demo, the relationship he had with his first junker of a car and how he discovered a love for graffiti are some of the strongest in this collection. That said, “Welcome Home”, a long story about his attempts to get laid at a hippie gathering in France, score huge points for the absurdity of the event and his own series of humiliations. I can understand why these books are so popular in Germany, because the propulsive nature of his line and his willingness to portray himself as an occasional buffoon make this comic compulsively readable. His work is nowhere near as clever as Decie’s, but his heart-on-his-sleeve (with a joker waiting inside) approach immediately puts the reader on his side. This is mainstream work in the true sense of the word.

I don’t think it’s an accident that Nobrow’s books are distributed by AdHouse at U.S. comics shows, because the design and illustration emphasis of the English publisher is one that’s sympathetic to the company run by graphic designer Chris Pitzer. It’s an aesthetic that’s part Drawn & Quarterly and part Blab!, where design and color are often more important than line and narrative. This is not to say that narrative is irrelevant in these comics, only that the narrative direction is more on the abstruse side. The design, packaging, and attention to detail and color here are almost painfully exquisite. That’s true even in their “17×23″ series, which are 24-page comics “designed to help talented young graphic novelists tell their stories in a manageable and affordable format.” Nobrow also sells handmade books, prints, toys, and even wrapping paper, all with the same bold and colorful design sense. Their Nobrow anthology is an illustration spotlight, though the most recent volume (#7) also has comics content. Here’s a quick survey of the bounty I was sent:

Hildafolk, by Luke Pearson. The 23×17 books are about the size of an issue of Papercutter, only in full color and with French flaps. This book aimed at kids follows the adventures of a girl who lives on a mountain and looks a bit like a Jordan Crane comic, only with characters that are drawn more roundly and with stick-arms like Leslie Stein might draw. This book is an absolute delight, as the scrappy Hilda encounters a troll, deals with a man made out of wood who won’t stay out of her house and winds up with a pet that’s part fox, part reindeer. Pearson works mostly with pastels, which helps emphasize his line thanks to the overall soft feeling of its colors. Browns, blue-greens, russets, and sea-greens dominate the color scheme, creating a comic that’s warm and inviting to the reader. His sense of humor and ability to create a bit of suspense in his stories is very similar to Crane’s, whose children’s books have the edge that all the great ones possess. Pearson is very much in that category as well.

Jeff Job Hunter, by Jack Teagle. This is one of the more narratively straightforward of the Nobrow books, as Teagle combines sword & sorcery fantasy work with absurd humor.  Teagle’s line is reminiscent of Alec Longstreth’s in terms of its boldness, simplicity, and static nature; the panel to panel transitions are all a bit stiff. This comic is strictly a lark and would have looked fine in black & white, and the end result feels a little insubstantial in terms of content matching form.

Ouroboros, by Ben Newman. This is a simplistic but graphically interesting comic dominated by loud greens, reds, and mixtures of the two, as an anthropomorphic rabbit finds a new set of eyes when he happens upon a corpse and winds up being captured by monstrous aliens. This is a kinetic, fluid book whose ending is deliberately telegraphed but still fun to reach. It’s less a comic than a sort of graphic exercise for the cartoonist, one that’s interesting to scan but ultimately less compelling than some of the other Nobrow comics.

Temporama, by Clayton Jr. This comic was the most visually striking of the bunch, as the narrative is almost entirely carried by moody, noir-ish color. It’s a silent story about a man who goes out late at night to get some food, only to be chased by a man in a sort of monstrous piece of construction equipment. It’s one of the more interesting depictions of night in the city that I’ve ever seen in comics form, as the Brazilian artist uses a midnight blue as his base color and juxtaposes it against the extremely harsh and bright yellow of a store and the bright reds and purples of a fireworks display. Clayton Jr. makes that darkness work for him, keeping the story bouncing along à la Carl Barks despite the fact that he’s not using a standard line to keep the reader’s eye moving from panel to panel. Like many of the other 23×17 books, this comic is slight of story but fascinating to read.

Birchfield Close and Pebble Island, by Jon McNaught. These small hardback books have the feel of the Petits Livres series from D&Q or perhaps a poetry chapbook found at your local independent bookstore. McNaught’s work is like Tom Gauld if Gauld used an intense, almost pointillist style of coloring that dominated his strips. McNaught’s comics feature no dialogue and are dominated much more by landscape than figure; like Gauld, his figures are a tiny part of their environment. Pebble Island is about life in an island community where isolation and boredom are dealt with in different ways. In one story, a boy goes through an elaborate, painstaking series of rituals just so he can blow up a toy with his friends in an abandoned bog. In another, a man comes face-to-face with his isolation when his generator runs low in the middle of watching Raiders Of The Lost Ark, only to resume his escape into that most escapist of films when he fixes it.

Birchfield Close takes the opposite approach, as it examines life in a jam-packed suburb where every house looks the same. Two boys spend an afternoon taking great pains to make it up to the roof of a house where they can watch others, and they gaze silently at their subdivision settling down after sunset and coming to a “close.” McNaught’s take on claustrophobia and alienation is just as interesting as his take on isolation and loneliness; in his view, both states are simply the flip side of the other. Corals, light pinks, and blues dominate his color scheme, which makes sense since these hues ably represent the dying of sunlight. I can’t imagine an artist’s content matching the format of the books their stories are printed in any more appropriately than McNaught’s work for Nobrow.

Dogcrime, by Blexbolex. This French artist had a story in Kramer’s Ergot #7, and it’s easy to understand why his unique graphic approach would appeal to Sammy Harkham. Blexbolex’s figures are colorformed shapes, sort of like the shapes Richard McGuire uses in P+O. He accompanies these frequently dense, melting images with crazy narrative text about a private detective who is framed for an unspeakable “dogcrime,” an act of violence that compels an entire city to form a lynch mob. Though he’s able to track down those responsible, Blexbolex gives us an ending that’s amusingly apocalyptic and bizarre. Printing this short story as essentially a deluxe minicomic fills exactly the sort of niche that Nobrow serves, because I can’t imagine any other publisher trying this. That’s too bad, because this is a great comic by a unique creator, one of many European cartoonists whose work many English speakers have never encountered.

A Graphic Cosmogony, edited by Alex Spiro. This is Nobrow’s visually stunning anthology wherein each artist gets seven pages to give their version of the creation myth. Without exception, each story is beautiful, bold, and distinctive. The narrow directive of the anthology does mean that certain themes and plot lines are repeated: the universe created as a kind of game by a bored god, for example. The best of these is Lucas Melanson’s “Deus Magicus”, which reimagines each of the biblical days of creation as part of a magician’s stage act; this strip is made effective by the sharp yellows and blues. There are also some more traditional takes from various mythological systems, like Mikkel Sommers’ adaptation of Norse mythology in colors that are bright but not cheerful, or Daniel Locke’s more primitivist approach to the Ainu of Japan.

Jon McNaught’s “Pilgrims” may be the best piece in the book, depicting the creation myth of Christianity as told through stained glass to a group of pilgrims. This silent story is so effective because McNaught effectively balances the awe of the meaning of the images the pilgrims see with the distance and alienation foisted on them by the physical environs of the church itself. He’s also quick to note how the experience is in many respects simply an opportunity for commercial exchange and how quickly many of the pilgrims are to buy things. Other highlights include Isabelle Greenberg’s “Masters of the Universe” (a creation tale about a father and two children that’s a bit reminiscent of Theo Ellsworth’s art) and Stuart Kolakovic’s “Illumination”, a blocky and cartoonish account of how a monk’s fever dream wound up branding him a heretic.

While it’s obvious that both Blank Slate and Nobrow have a steadfast commitment to quality and producing beautiful books, it’s worth noting that these are still young publishing concerns. As such, they have yet to publish a book that’s in the same strata of quality as the best of D&Q or Fantagraphics. Part of that is a function of time; D&Q in particular nurtures the artists in its stable and allows them to grow. The new British presses don’t have the advantage of a Chester Brown or Seth publishing with them for nearly twenty years. I get the sense that this is something that is understood by the publishers, who don’t push graphic novels as much as they do shorter works. It will take time to develop talent, but it’s obvious there are a number of artists here (Pearson, McNaught, and Decie in particular) who are brimming with talent and potential.

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24 Responses to London Calling: Blank Slate Books and Nobrow Press

  1. Frank Santoro says:

    A Graphic Cosmogony is really nice. The “Pilgrims” piece is an awesome portrayal of the difference between Catholics and Protestants – image versus music. That was my take anyways.

  2. Gavin Lees says:

    Those are some of Blank Slate’s weakest books and, Mawil aside, I’m not sure how characteristic they are of the publisher (wot, no “Nelson”??). They’ve got a banner year ahead of them, though, with Laurie Proud’s “Peepholes” and Uli Oesterle’s “Hector Umbra” coming out in the next month or so. I reckon Proud could give a fair few Fanta/D&Q cartoonists a run for their money.

  3. RM Rhodes says:

    I second the recommendation of Nelson and Hector Umbra – both really good books.

    Another UK publisher of note is SelfMadeHero, who has some interesting/odd stuff in the Fantagraphics/D&Q vein.

  4. patrick ford says:

    Rob, Don’t you think Jesse Moynihan’s “Forming” is in the same strata as the better books from D&Q and Fantagraphics?
    I ordered the Hilda Folks book for my kids a long time ago, but it was out of stock, and then sold out.

  5. Rob Clough says:

    “Forming” and “Nelson” didn’t come in the same package for review as did the others (I haven’t seen Nelson yet, in fact). Forming is great and I’ll be giving it its own separate review here soon.

    • patrick ford says:

      “Forming” is such a complete package, and I love the way it incorporates Jesse’s expansive intellectual curiosity while at the same time being disciplined, and tightly knit.
      The conversation between Ghob and Cronus about mid-point in the book is a great example of his synthesis.

      • Rob Clough says:

        If you haven’t already, check out Mome 22, which has a long color story that’s similar to his Forming material.

        Also, seek out his B&W comics The Backwards-Folding Mirror and Follow Me, which are all semiautobiographical and wonderfully strange.

      • patrick ford says:

        Rob, Thanks for the tips.

  6. ant says:

    Both of those companies have really re-affirmed my faith in the comics scene over here. Nobrow have a GORGEOUS little shop in London but since I don’t live there dunno if it’s become, like, a little hub for the art-comics “scene”….along with Nobrow, Blank Slate and SelfMadeHero there’s also the Solipsistic Pop crew. @ Gavin Lees–there’re a LOT of UK cartoonists who could give Fanta/D & Q cartoonists-they just don’t get the exposure, unfortunately!
    Thanks for a nice little overview Mr. Clough! And yeah, “Forming” is a RIDICULOUSLY well-designed book, such attention to detail, it even smells lovely.

  7. Rob Clough says:

    I’ve reviewed Solipsistic Pop releases for this website (I think on the older iteration), and those are really lovely books. Their most recent edition is amazingly over-the-top with bells and whistles, yet at its heart is really great cartooning. I’m also a fan of the more DIY comics I see coming from Britain by the likes of Francesca Cassavetti, Rob Jackson, Simon Moreton, etc.

    • ant says:

      Ah yes you did! I remember. I DO read the bylines, honest guv’nor etc etc…
      I haven’t read the latest Solipsistic Pop yet, is that the one that’s designed to look like an issue of the Beano or the Dandy? Luke Pearson’s got some stuff in the second one and he drew the cover, I really like his stuff.

      And I meant to write: “give a run for their money”.

      • Rob Clough says:

        #3 is the Beano/Dandy/Kids issue. #4 is hard to even explain in its intricacy. Part of it comes in postcard form with glow-in-the-dark ink.

      • Joe Decie says:

        The theme was maps; I found it tricky to do!

      • Briany Najar says:

        #3 is the Beano/Dandy/Kids issue.

        Well, the colour-scheme of the mast-head is Beano-like, and there is a strip on the cover. Are there any other similarities?
        If not, it seems a bit of a thin connection to me, hardly a theme at all (not that that stops me wanting it, all four of those anthologies look very desirable indeed, on their own merits).

  8. Alek Trencz says:

    Well, as long as the theme is obscure(*) contemporary British comix, I’m just going to have to recommend:
    Paul O’Connell,
    whose mainly collage based Sound of Drowning I’ve been buying for several years. It could perhaps be characterised by a peculiar mixture of humour and eeriness which seems driven equally by satirical ire and curious wonder.
    Best to look; I’m no good at summarising stuff I like.
    He’s also got strips in The Comix Reader, along with good old Richard Cowdry, among others.

    * All the non-mainstream stuff is pretty obscure – it’s an island, so extensive foreign distro for self-publishers (to get books into the hands of more than the local scenesters) is a bit tricky, I’m assuming.

  9. Joe says:

    Rob, I think I saw Nelson in Previews either November or December for the US market so hopefully you’re getting it early this year. Picked it as my top graphic novel of the year, quite amazing experiment and also a showcase of the artistic talent in the UK scene right now too. Hector Umbra also quite superb – think Mignola meets Tarantino. Upcoming Peepholes looks amazing, hoping Laurie Proud will do us a special guest post on the FP blog in the near future to talk us through some of it

    Also second the recommendation of SelfMadeHero who have put out some fabulous work, including translating Baby’s In Black from the German, lovely, touching story of the love affair between Sutcliffe in the early beatles’ Hamburg Days and Astrid Kirrcherr, an amazing adaptation by Rob Davis (one of the co-editors of Nelson) of Don Quixote (strongly recommend his blog where he posted and discussed his approach to the art extensively) and Patrick McEown’s Hair Shirt, all this year. Now they are teaming up with Abrams I’d imagine you’re going to see more of their work in the US market.

    And not an Indy press but still worth while flagging up Jonathan Cape, part of Random House – dan Frankin’s lot have been publishing graphic novels via a large publisher long before it became fashionable for major publishing houses to dabble in the medium. Among this year’s releases two superb debuts – Guardian cartoonist Nick Hayes massive and clever take on Coleridge with Rime of the Modern Mariner and William Goldsmith’s visually unique and fascinating Vignettes of Ystov. Was lucky enough to meet both of them at the Edinburgh International Book Festival last summer and hear them discussing the work, ended up having both books in my own Best of the Year a couple of days ago on the FP blog. And looks like this year there is a lot more good stuff coming out of the UK scene – and the self published UK scene is more vibrant than ever too, our own Richard on the FP blog has to run to keep up his reviews of them! Really good time to be a comic reader here

  10. Yon says:

    Nobrow deserve their own article. They are the publishing house with a defined voice and a unique approach to comics.
    They are creating books such as Birchfield Close by Jon Mcnaught and The New Ghost by Rob Hunter that are distinctly British. This is an important moment in a country with unique art, film, and literary scenes where comics have generally failed to move away from American influences.
    It is unsurprising that the comments thread on this site focuses on Forming out of all Nobrow’s titles. Forming is a brilliant book but also a book produced by an American artist with an American sensibility. Although one of Nobrow’s best books (and one of the comics of the year) it could be the least relevant in a discussion of New British or European comics. Forming is the only Nobrow title that has been properly discussed on this site (http://www.tcj.com/jesse-moynihan-innerview/). Artists Like Luke Pearson, Jon Mcnaught, Blex Bolex etc. warrant more attention. Unfortunately TCJ, and the world of online comics criticism generally, is North American and tends to be introspective. I’m already aware of much of the North American comics scene as are, I imagine, the majority of TCJ readers. This site is most exciting to me when discussing work from elsewhere. Articles like this one and columns like Ryan Holmberg’s ‘What Was Alternative Manga’ are too rare. Could we have someone regularly covering the very lively European comics perhaps? and some more in-depth reviews of Nobrow titles!

    Yon

    • Rob Clough says:

      For a variety of reasons, it made sense for me to combine both publishers in one article. That said, I’ve been covering the British scene both here, on the previous iteration of TCJ and at my own blog for quite some time. I’ve been doing reviews of Solipsistic Pop, Rob Jackson, Francesca Cassavetti, Simon Moreton and others since they started sending me comics a few years ago. I agree that this is a very interesting time for British comics.

    • Alek Trencz says:

      Yon.
      “This is an important moment in a country with unique art, film, and literary scenes where comics have generally failed to move away from American influences.”
      I think that the native qualities of the British tradition of comics are sadly undervalued.
      We can read no end of discussion about the development of the North American approaches to comics-storytelling, it’s a subject which attracts critics and historians, young and old, from all over that vast nation and beyond. It is also, of course, a fascinating and innervating area of study. But, where are the new generation of comics scholars for the UK scene? We have Peter Gray, Lew Stringer and a few other brave stalwarts, continuing in the footsteps of Dennis Gifford – presenting, encyclopedia-fashion, the various artists and characters who have filled the large comics pages that British readers have been accultured by for the last 100+ years, and to them I am grateful. What we don’t have (as far as I know) is any kind of detailed, acute critical appraisal of the material, what makes it unique, what makes it work the way it does, how it has layered generations of influences from home and abroad to generate and synthesise a set of approaches to comics-making that is not annexed to a tradition centred elsewhere. So, when the majority of English-speaking comics connoisseurs around the world see a page from a British comic, they expect it to do what a comic from the USA does, because the idioms of that tradition are so well understood, have been delineated so exhaustively – the sweeping flows from panel to panel in action comics, as mastered and forever ingrained by Jack Kirby, for instance. British action comics, on the other hand, have traditionally occupied far lower page-counts than what Kirby was used to filling. When an episode of a story had two to four pages to do its thing, different elements of the medium often take priority over balletic animation-on-paper extravagance. Each panel becomes more of an experience in it’s own right, and the transitions are usually more like jump-cuts, we blink for the gutter, because more of the story’s beats have to be covered per page.
      This kind of dynamic is usually spoken of pejoratively, as if it was, in some essentialist mode, not-like-comics, but it is just not like comics that have long episodes, it’s not like North American or Japanese comics, for instance.
      I’m not actually trying to suggest that the mechanics of long-play comics should be rejected by British creators, if the space is actually there, then it can be used, but perhaps some of the superficial similarities between UK and US comics lead people up the garden path somewhat, when it comes to appraising material which has evolved under quite different conditions, and with a variety of different influences.
      When the US had Vaudeville, Britain had the music halls.
      There’s a few scans of some ancient British humour comics in the UK comics section at DCM (and not much else of significance) which I’m sure the post-Spiegelman essentialist will loath for their heavy use of text-captions, but I think they’re bloody gorgeous. Tom Browne was one of our seminal, modernist funny-paper cartoonists, and his influence through Roy Wilson, Percy Cocking (oo-er), Leo Baxendale and the rest of those loons, is in danger of being swept under the carpet of comics history, maybe just because Brits are terrified of showing any pride in what’s ours, and no-one else gives a monkey’s.
      So it goes.
      Just thought I’d mention it. Y’know – have a bit of a moan.
      Oh yeah, here’s some stuff from 1922, if anyone fancies a look at some godawful rubbish about funny tramps and the like:
      LINK 1
      LINK 2
      Warning: There’s probably some dodgy racial stereotypes inside, you know what it’s like with these old-time jokers.
      I don’t know if this has all been a pointless rant, maybe I can pull it back by just asking if anyone knows of any good, current writing about the UK tradition. It might be a tradition of abject silliness, but dafter things have been the subject of much serious attention; it’s not unthinkable that someone might be doing it, just highly unlikely. Anyone on the case, though?

  11. Jill Stevens says:

    I think Joe Decie’s book is amazing – so subtle, very very funny and beautifully drawn.

  12. @ Joe: Thanks for mentioning, Goldsmith’s Vignettes of Ystov: a charming, fascinating book, with, I’d say, a touch of esoteric antiquarianism a la Katchor, mock-scholarly almost. It verges on Kafkaesque but with a lightness that isn’t quite whimsy, isn’t quite reassuring, but, again, is charming. Subtle interconnections among the chapters give the book a coherence that belies its initially episodic approach. A weird make-believe world, lovingly conjured, with a distinctive graphic approach.

    @ Rob: I actually prefer the Mawil books to Decie’s. Accidental Salad is well put together, and beautifully drawn, and you rightly point out Decie’s cleverness, but the book seems feckless to me, devoted to a kind of self-regard yet not particularly probing: a species of autobio comix that I’ve begun to tire of. Mind you, I’ll gladly seek out further work by Decie; he’s a terrific artist. But Mawil’s work seems more generous to me, as well as more focused, more sustained; he’s an entertainer, a gag man, but also a patient storyteller when he wants to be (I agree that the work is mainstream in the best sense). I recently finished Home and Away, and of course it was a mixed bag, but overall I found it a delightful collection.

    The McNaught and Pearson books are terrific. What about Pearson’s Everything We Miss? A terrific, moving, troubling comic IMO, if a bit derivative of Huizenga’s philosophical manner. It reminded me of both Ganges but also the deep-down darkness in Ware. Pearson has mad skills, definitely one to watch.hat I’ve begun to tire of. Mind you, I’ll gladly seek out further work by Decie; he’s a terrific artist. But Mawil’s work seems more generous to me, as well as more focused, more sustained; he’s an entertainer, a gag man, but also a patient storyteller when he wants to be (I agree that the work is mainstream in the best sense). I recently finished Home and Away, and of course it was a mixed bag, but overall I found it a delightful collection.

    The McNaught and Pearson books are terrific. What about Pearson’s Everything We Miss? A terrific, moving, troubling comic IMO, if a bit derivative of Huizenga’s philosophical manner. It reminded me of both Ganges but also the deep-down darkness in Ware. Pearson has mad skills, definitely one to watch.

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