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New Talent Showcase 2

DeForge, McManus, and Forsman. Sounds like a law firm. Call for a free consultation.

Here are some more small press comics that I found after I unpacked from tour.

Incinerator by Michael DeForge. I like this little edition that Secret Headquarters and DeForge have put out. I like this idea of making NICE mini-comic type books and potentially making a lot of them instead of making the one nice BIG book. Meaning smaller publishers working with artists and doing nice editions that feel like mini-comics but are nicer than a Xeroxed thing thrown together. This is a working model now more than before. I could imagine DeForge doing like four of these a year. Sweet color cover, sweet off-white paper inside – black and white with gray tone. A handsome little book.

DeForge really works the grid – panels just machine gun you into submission. For my taste this is the right amount of information per panel and the right timing to make it all unfold in a percussive way. I feel the beats, the unfolding sequence of a man whose mother was a beagle, who is suspicious of people and who tries to get out of his comfort zone. Drawn in a 2012 surrealist fashion, where a man’s body is just head and legs and sometimes the body of Snoopy the beagle (the back view specifically) as drawn by Schulz. A surrealist 2012 vision insomuch as DeForge is creating shapes like a sort of sampling that makes me think of collage. Simple shapes, repeating shapes connect the character to the landscape and form patterns that relate the narrative to the world the character inhabits. What’s fun for me as a fan is to see DeForge getting better and better at merging the symbols and shapes that define his world with the fabric of the narrative itself. Am I repeating myself? It is worth repeating. What is happening is that DeForge is expanding his vocabulary. And this one is an excellent example of his new slang.

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Violence Valley by Jesse McManus. Another handsome, well made mini comic. I call it “legal size” cuz it is a zine that is the same size as a folded sheet of legal paper. You know, that tray in the Xerox machine that you rarely use. Anyways. This one is a legal sized black and white comic book on nice and heavy off-white paper that also sports and a heavier card stock cover. A NICE little edition published by Floating World Comics. Another nicer-than-average comic comic. Nothing too flashy. Solid.

The story is drawn in a lush brushy style that is part John K bravura and part Charles Burns-like perfection in actual execution of lush brush technique. A rough and tumble tale about a little tyke who wakes up, puts his shoes on and goes out into the world and encounters an expertly drawn cartoon dog hiding in a giant potted plant on the sidewalk. It’s one of those wordless Jim Woodring-type freakout acid trip sequences where the little tyke winds up inside the bowels of the dog somehow and finds inner peace or something – or so you think, and then it’s all blood and guts and more amazingly articulated brush lines that delineate said guts that look more like psychedelic patterns than guts. Then the tyke escapes and returns home the worse for wear and the dog plant sprouts to heaven. I liked it. Made me laff. Loved looking at the drawings. My only gripe with this one is that the panel sequencing is sometimes hard to follow. Most of it is clear as a bell but some of it seems strangely formatted. The fast paced freewheeling story lends itself to open and fluid layouts but sometimes the layouts were unclear and the action and panel borders seemed to mesh together and be at odds with each other. The sequences that were more simply laid out worked better, I thought, because the drawings themselves are so pleasing to look at – that no fancy layout was going to make it look better but was going to actually detract from the flow of the story. Just saying. Great little book.

McManus also has a book out called Spider Monkey from Domino Books.

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The End of the Fucking World #1 and #2 by Charles Forsman

Two standard mini-comics (I call this Kevin H size) – just straight ahead simple no frills standard white copy paper mini-comics. Twelve pages including covers for a buck each. I’ll buy for that price if it’s good. No big investment. These seem to serializing one long story that will be collected later – and I like how these comics are balanced in presentation. I don’t know where I found these but I really like them. I was surprised that these little xeroxed minis were so good. Good story – it’s these short little bits about a teenage boy. A ferocious deadpan one pager about sticking your hand in a garbage disposal. Weirdly spooky I thought. Another two page sequence of messing around with a girl. Very nihilistic in that true-heart teenage boy way that is kind of endearing. Enjoyed reading it in that way that it doesn’t feel like I was reading a made up character. I got lost in a cartoon. The second issue has a female character who is the narrator and it ties in with the boy POV from the beginning. A boy and girl on the run type of thing. A solid structure. Simply drawn in a realistic Charles Schulz kind of way – the drawings work well with the tough love storyline. There is a tension between the art and the story that is understated but very powerful overall. Looking forward to the rest of the story. I think this is a perfect way to serialize stuff. The tried and true mini-comics route. I would buy this in multiple formats. Great stuff.

Forsman also does a strip for Mothers News and is doing a comic for Retrofit.

Over and out.


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