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Not Making Sense

Frank Santoro’s here with a column on the formal properties of a forgotten John Buscema comic. It’s the kind of Frank column that includes things like this:

The “correct” way to read this two-page spread, of course, follows the traditional left-to-right zigzag down the left-hand side of the spread and up to the right and back down. [But] I think they can be understood visually by reading them “incorrectly”–by beginning in the top left and then going across the center dividing line of the center.

Rob Clough is back, too, with a review of Gilbert Hernandez’s Marble Season. Here’s a bit of that:

Gilbert Hernandez’s quasi-autobiographical Marble Season is a remarkable work of verisimilitude as well as a gift to his long-time fans. The snapshot he provides of his brothers and neighborhood friends growing up is filled with the kind of detail and emotional truths about how children relate to one another one would expect from the man behind Palomar. What’s interesting in this book about the rituals and social interactions of about fifty years ago is how Hernandez subtly brings up the ways in which pop culture became a pervasive force that was unifying in some ways but also homogenizing. In the early ’60s, every little kid was affected by the power of radio, TV, and comics. Even the cover suggests a Jack Kirby-esque clash between titans. The more widespread availability of TV, the dominance of rock music on the radio, and the new wellspring of popularity that comics enjoyed made negotiating one’s cultural environment a dizzying feat.

Elsewhere, I’m finally starting to halfway get into the swing of things, link-wise:

—Michael Cavna at the Washington Post profiles living comic-strip legend Mort Walker for his 90th birthday.

—The film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum is always good on Robert Crumb, and he has recently posted his original review of the Terry Zwigoff coumentary. Bobsy at the Mindless Ones has a take on Crumb’s Genesis that doesn’t match up with mine (I wrote about it a million years ago in TCJ 301), but which is smart and certainly worth taking on board. The kill-your-father anti-Crumb wave of late among younger cartoonists and comics critics is very odd to me (it hardly seems to notice, let alone account for, vast swathes of his work, not to mention his deep influence on nearly every aspect of the medium) but I guess unsurprising. [I'm not really meaning to implicate Bobsy in that last sentence, by the way. It's simply a general observation. Poor writing on my part.]

—Chris Mautner reviews Reed Waller and Kate Worley’s Omaha the Cat Dancer, Rob Clough reviews Jason’s Lost Cat, and I guess Tom Spurgeon’s going through one of his bursts of reviewing energy (not that I should talk) and he’s got two new ones: Justice League 23 and Love and Rockets: The Covers. [That's a good thing.]

—The Economist’s More Intelligent Life has a short but nice profile of Chris Ware, and the mothership visits Ralph Steadman’s studio.

—Matt Bors has found a new fulltime gig.

—Frank Santoro’s the latest guest on Tell Me Something I Don’t Know.

—Jeffrey Gustafson, in an otherwise not entirely unreasonable essay, is the latest in a long, long line of comics fans to take offense at Alan Moore saying modern mainstream comics stink without offering any specific counter-examples. Wonder why that is? He also seems to think “Sturgeon’s Law” is an actual law.


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