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Step Eight

Rob Clough has a review of Anya Davidson’s School Spirits, which wasn’t given enough attention when it came out last year:

In her debut book School Spirits, Anya Davidson carries over the raw energy and power of her zines into a longer loose narrative. Following a few days in the high school lives of best friends Oola and Garf, the book is immediately remarkable for the surprisingly fluid (if sudden) transitions between ragged slice-of-life naturalism and over-the-top, surreal, metal-inspired fantasy craziness. Davidson’s project here seems to be a complete demolition of rigid gender roles, as her alienated but fiercely feminist duo battle against conformity, misogyny, and boredom while also grappling with more familiar issues like identity and love.

On the page, these battles often play out in a literal sense. Oola is kind of a doom metal Walter Mitty, transforming her immediate surroundings into stream-of-consciousness fantasy

And yesterday, we published Sean T. Collins’s review of Eleanor Davis’s How to Be Happy. A sample of that:

The first moment — but certainly not the last — that made me stop reading How to Be Happy, turn back the pages, and immediately re-read them came early. “In Our Eden”, the lead-off piece in Eleanor Davis’s masterful new collection of short stories, concerns a back-to-nature commune driven to dissent and dissolution by its founder’s purity of vision. Some members chafe at the convention by which every man is called Adam, every woman Eve. Others fall away when the leader, a towering and barrel-chested figure with a ferocious black beard like something out of a David B. comic, takes away all of their prefab tools. The rest depart when he insists they neither farm nor kill for food, literalizing and reversing the Fall’s allegory of humanity’s move from hunter-gatherer to agrarian societies. At last it’s just this one Adam and the Eve he loves. By the next time we see them, Adam’s gargantuan physique has been pared away, his ribs visible, his nose reddened for a sickly effect, demonstrating Davis’s remarkable ability to wring detail and expressive power out of the simple color-block style of the piece. He comes across Eve, nude and stork-skinny, washing her long hair in a river. He goes to her, nude himself. “I’m ready for the bliss to come,” he says right to us in one of the recurring panels of first-person narration that have been peppered through the comic. They embrace. “I’m ready for the weight to lift.” They kiss.

—Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—After public outcries, DC has decided to allow the use of the Superman logo for five-year-old Jeffrey Baldwin’s memorial after all.

—Bernie Wrightson was reportedly hospitalized after suffering a series of small strokes. His wife Liz Wrightson explained his situation on Facebook.

—Many readers have likely already encountered this story, but over the last week, Clarence creator Skyler Page was fired by Adult Swim after an investigation into allegations of sexual assault.


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