The Devil’s Chessboard

Today on the site, Rob Kirby reviews the latest slate of Kuš! minicomics, including books from Ingrīda Pičukāne, Tara Booth, Hanneriina Moisseinen, and Aisha Franz.

The latest quartet of Kuš! minicomics (pronounced "koosh!") offers up yet another excellent sampling of the many and varied comics dished out by this Latvian art-comics publisher. For production value and design, the mini Kuš! series represents the pinnacle of what the minicomic art form can achieve. Of note: it wasn’t until several days after I’d first read them that I realized that all four comics were by women (the mini-Kuš! quartet of issues 30-33 were also all-female creations).

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. The CIA agent turned political caricaturist Vint Lawrence passed away. (The New Republic has gathered some of his work.)

Vint Lawrence, a CIA para­military officer who helped organize a secret war in the jungles of Laos before becoming a critically acclaimed artist and caricaturist, illustrating wild-eyed literary giants and wide-eared politicos for such publications as the New Republic and The Washington Post, died April 9 at a hospital in New Haven, Conn. He was 76.

—Interviews & Profiles. Noel Murray talks to Dan Clowes.

Clowes started Patience when his son was barely out of preschool, and now he finds himself the father of an 11-year-old — which is itself a weird kind of time travel. “Parenthood changed the way I view characters,” Clowes says. “And the way I view humanity. I would’ve thought that you have a lot more input into raising a child, into how they turn out, then you actually do. The best you can do is sort of help them realize who they are, and not dissuade them. It’s not as interesting in a way to be a writer when you come to grips with that. You want to believe characters are controlled by the events in their lives, but that happens so much less than you’d think.”

Lucy Davies conducts a brief interview with Robert Crumb on the occasion of a new gallery show in London. (T Magazine has a preview.)

I try to meditate for 35 minutes every morning but don’t always succeed. I’ve learned that I need meditation to keep life from overwhelming me, to maintain some calm and detachment. As [Charles] Bukowski once wrote, “When I bend down to tie my shoes in the morning I think, ‘Christ almighty, what now?’”

Alex Dueben spoke to Al Jaffee for his 95th birthday.

I walk everywhere, I work five or six days a week, and I still get plenty of ideas. I won't live long enough to get to all the ideas that I've put into files. I think it's very important to work, to have something important to do, when you're old. Just sitting around watching television or rocking on a porch is just inviting the grim reaper sooner.