That’s Saying Something

Joe McCulloch brings us his usual guide to the Week in Comics, pointing out the most interesting-sounding new releases in stores. Spotlight picks this wek include Kevin Huizenga's Ganges #5 and Michael DeForge's Big Kids.

I think DeForge's particular sense of psychedelia tends to obscure how unsparing his worldview has gotten in recent years - here, a bullied gay high schooler awakens one afternoon to discover that he's transformed into a 'tree,' which is to say a select human of advanced sensory capacity, yet much of what he experiences only serves to root him in miserable self-importance. You can read this as a critique of the familiar 'chosen special kid' devices of popular youth fiction, or even nerd triumphalism as a cultural force, but it remains unwavering on the DeForge continuum.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. The longtime cartoonist John Caldwell, who contributed to Mad, The New Yorker, and National Lampoon, among many other publications, has passed away.

—Interviews & Profiles. For Vice, Sean T. Collins interviews the great Brian Chippendale about his latest release, Puke Force.

I do feel that even though I have an overt need for and warmth toward some social media, there is an undercurrent of energy on there that corrodes the soul.

What do you mean by "corrodes the soul"?
I think it's the feeling that you're not alone anymore. That should be a positive thing, right? But I think aloneness is important. It's very important to get lost in your own head, not just get lost in the hive mind. As an artist, I need to venture inside to get at deeper meaning. Maybe new muscles for that are forming in younger people, new ways to go deep. I don't necessarily think we are going to lose a generation to the internet. It's an amazing tool. Pizza delivery drones, on the other hand? I'll definitely be throwing rocks at them... and ordering pizzas.

Leah Garrett at The Forward talks to Al Jaffee about Mad and Jewish humor.

Jaffee explained to me that that his generation of Jewish artists was very sensitive to the fact that they were Jews in a non-Jewish world overshadowed by the Holocaust. In fact, the writers and artists of Mad used to joke “amongst ourselves about looking too Jewish. You know, if you walked with your portfolio into an advertising agency, if you looked too Jewish or had a name like Ginsberg, you were dead meat.” Whenever possible, the men changed their names to make them sound less Jewish. (For example, Jaffee changed his name from Abraham “to something more American — Alan,” although he said he would not have done so if he’d had to pay for it — it was a free service to GIs.)

Blaise Larmee is the guest on the latest episode of Inkstuds. I haven't listened to it yet, but according to Twitter, it is the most awkward and uncomfortable episode of Inkstuds ever, which ... sounds like something to hear.

—Reviews & Commentary. I missed this Anders Nilsen post remembering Alvin Buenaventura last week.

—Misc. The New Yorker has posted a preview of Daniel Clowes's Patience.

Bloom County creator Berke Breathed and Harper Lee were pen pals.