Today on the site, Brian Nicholson reviews Noel Freibert’s Weird #6.
Before founding Weird Magazine, Freibert made a series of horror comics that existed in an obvious lineage that led from EC Comics through undergrounds and work in Warren magazines created by the likes of Richard Corben. These had a “host” character, and depicted transgressive acts. It was easy to see Weird as intended to follow in this tradition, with its title’s similarity to Warren magazine publications like Creepy or Eerie. However, pretty quickly, within the context of the more obvious horror stories made by his fellow Weird contributors, the work Noel was making himself attempted a more Beckett-influenced sort of blankness. Now, with those other contributors absent, the horror has moved away from anything approaching genre tropes. Once a mood used to discuss the inevitability of death in semi-humorous fashion, now it is more of a Mark Beyer-styled wail of terror, an ambience necessary for discussing life in America. The humor present, evident in his even older zines, is this sort of slack-jawed vacant-eyed caveman Beavis and Butt-head, taking-acid-and-watching-Faces of Death thing. The imagery interpretable as “heavy metal” that I found so gauche can then be understood as related to this, as an attempt to signal that his sympathies lie with this sort of figure. They exist in a timelessly vulnerable position, that being the kid in a tribal society who eats the unfamiliar berries to find out whether or not they’re poisonous. The politics are essentially an outgrowth from that vulnerability, the result of an artfulness that attempts to achieve a state of thoughtlessness, somewhere adjacent to zen but reflecting absolute brutality and decimation.
—Reviews & Commentary. For Artsy, Matthew Thurber provides the most Thurber-esque possible list of ten cartoonists every art lover should know.
[Keren] Katz’s work, like that of Matthew Barney or Mika Rottenberg, has its own logic. Her storytelling voice seems to link the divine nonsense of authors like Daniel Pinkwater, William Steig, or Edward Gorey with surrealist writers like Leonora Carrington. Her comics are Truly Weird, the highest compliment I can give. With drawings executed in confident colored pencil, her figures stretch, bend, and topple in a manner reminiscent of contemporary choreography. (Indeed, Katz studied dance and has mentioned Pina Bausch as an influence.)
The Comic Books Are Burning in Hell podcast returns with all four hosts (Tucker Stone, Joe McCulloch, Chris Mautner, and Matt Seneca) discussing Kevin Huizenga’s Ganges.
In comics form, Anders Nilsen reviews Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature.
—Interviews & Profiles. Françoise Mouly and Genevieve Bormes interview Gary Panter about his new Milton adaptation, Songy of Paradise.
I haven’t read Milton or Milton criticism, but this seems easy to follow.
Yeah, it’s different from my more formal, harder-to-read books. The story here is actually very simple. Satan says, “Hey, be my pal,” and Jesus says, “Noooo, you’re Satan.” And that happens over and over and over again throughout the whole story. Satan goes, like, “Hey, I’ll tempt you with food!,” and Jesus goes, “No, I’m not hungry.” “What about money?” “I don’t need your money!” That’s the nature of the Milton text.