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Hi there, I'm back from a week away. Let's plunge in:

Chris Mautner reviews Marc Bell's Stroppy.

Taken at first glance, Marc Bell’s cartoon universe seems to be a persistently sunny anthropomorphic place, a magical, happy-go-lucky world (or worlds) where everything from the food on your plate to the landscape is capable of coming to life and greeting you with a smile and a handshake. Bell’s comics are stuffed to the gills with adorable, oblong creatures that crowd his panels in the best Elderesque, “chicken fat” manner.

But for all the visual liveliness and good humor, there’s a good deal of danger and malevolence present as well. It doesn’t take much, for example, for the cheerful little creatures to get stepped on, squashed or eaten, or for seemingly decent characters to run afoul of random calamities. Bell’s protagonists can seem just as easily plagued by anxiety as they can be blessed by a divine nonchalance.

And Aron Nels Steinke joins us for a week of diaries.

Elsewhere:

Tom Spurgeon interviews Glenn Head.

My show, What Nerve!, which is now in its last week, got a very nice write-up in the New York Times and a thoughtful essay over at Hyperallergic.

Best things I've gotten in the mail lately dept: The Boring Room by Yoshiharu Tsuge. A bootleg (I assume) translation of this incredible story, perfectly packaged in zine format.  And no, I'm not telling. Terror House No. 2 by Sammy Harkham. If beautiful may be used, that's what this collection of horror images is. Also, bonus Beardsley-like drawing of a flaccid penis by, I guess, Sammy. It's an easter egg in this DVD? A message from Dr. Freud?


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