Today, this week’s MVP, Joe McCulloch, is here with his usual guide to the Week in Comics, exploring the most interesting-sounding comics new to stores. He writes a bit about Kevin Huizenga’s Ganges, too.
Broadly, Ganges is the story of a man, Glenn Ganges, who wants to go to sleep, but cannot. But it’s also about remembering days in the past and flashing forward to days in the future, about processing history through video games and capturing conflict in art, about reading books and also the recollection of having read books, and the myriad alternate realities we warp our minds into while attempting to navigate the present. In an essay I wrote for the Drawn and Quarterly 25th anniversay book — where I think I brought a real sense of gravitas to pgs. 380-382 — I suggested that the core of Huizenga’s work is in the interaction of the conscious and subconscious; not as a latent characteristic of the comics form, but as an explicit and literal visual/narrative focus, as a means of communicating the process of ascertainment. In this way, he continues the work of Chris Ware, though Huizenga’s emphasis falls less on plumbing the mindset of his characters than riding with them as they encounter the coexistence of the natural and the artificial, the superstitious and the scientific – never at Manichean odds, but observed in states of coexistence.
—Alvin Buenaventura. Daniel Clowes and Jonathan Barli have written posts in memory of the publisher. Those who usually avoid the comments may want to make an exception for our obituary of Buenaventura.
—News. Playboy has reportedly decided to stop publishing cartoons. Obviously in recent years (or should I say decades?) the magazine hasn’t been a major part of the cultural conversation, but it was one of only two major American magazines to still prominently feature cartoons and pay well for them, and was a home to artists from Gahan Wilson to Jack Cole to Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder.
—Reviews & Commentary. Bob Temuka writes about Love & Rockets #8.
It would be so easy for them to just do more and more stories about Luba and Maggie, and just tell stories of these weird and wonderful women, and their fabulous friends and family, and just focus on that. Building up a body of work like that, creating a small and personal mythology, is a worthy goal in life.
Or, you could do what the brothers do best, and go wherever their whims take them, with goofy, energetic and slightly disturbing new stories that are as good as any of their classic work, while still making room for catching up with old friends.
Domingos Isabelinho writes about connections between conceptual art and comics.
Matthias Wivel writes about Daniel Clowes’s Patience, which came out early in Denmark.
Rachel Cooke reviews Stéphane Heuet’s adaptation of Proust.
In an illuminating introduction to his translation, [Arthur] Goldhammer suggests that those who know and love the novel are likely to regard Heuet’s adaptation as “a piano reduction of an orchestral score”; he writes convincingly of the way the ruthless compression of the comic strip form sheds a “revealing light on the book’s armature, on the columns, pillars, and arches that support the narrator’s resurrected memories as the columns of the church in Combray support the stained glass and tapestries that transport visitors into the past they represent”. As for those who, like me, don’t know the novel, this strikes me as a good and gentle place to start.