Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kirby Your Enthusiasm, ep. 20: The "On The Road" edition

IN WHICH I'm joined by my wife Helen during a roadtrip across country New South Wales and we discuss Derf Backderf's stunning new graphic novel MY FRIEND DAHMER (which got a rare five-star rating from me last month).
It's 24 minutes of interesting discourse accompanied by the background noise of our 1999 Subaru Impreza pinging along the highway at 110kmh.

The link is here.

And buy MY FRIEND DAHMER - it really is one of the best graphic novels to have been published this century. Compelling, terrifying, shocking and...ultimately...very, very sad.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

COMICS READING FOR MARCH: “Jeffrey Dahmer and Kevin Smith”

* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *

*****   Watchmen, Marvelman, V For Vendetta
****     From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?
***        League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the first two series), Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**           Promethea
*             LoEG: Century: 1969
DUD  (or lower)     anything he’s written for Avatar or any of the non-comics drivel he shits out on a regular basis

1. Fearless Dawn: The Secret Of The Swamp (Asylum Press, 2012) ***
Writer/artist: Steve Mannion
2. King! #1 (Blacklist Studios, 2007) ***½
Writer: Thomas Hall/Artist: Daniel Bradford
3. Thought Bubbles #1 (Image, 2011) ***½
Writers/artists: various
4. Mondo #1 (Image, 2012) ***¾
Writer/artist: Ted McKeever
5.-7. Batman: Cacophony (DC, 2009) ***¼
- originally published in Batman: Cacophony #1-3 (DC, 2009)
Writer: Kevin Smith/Artists: Walt Flanagan; Adam Kubert, Bill Sienkiewicz (covers)
8. Handball Heaven (Milkshadow Books. 2011) ****
Writer/artist Ben Hutchings
Hutcho wordlessly depicts the most awesome handball game ever! What starts out as a simple game between two teenagers quickly escalates to Matrix-like levels, where every part of their bodies is used to keep the ball in play. Eventuallty, these modern-day gods ascend to the sky to finish the match. Who will be victorious? Beautifully drawn stuff.
9. Walking To Japan (Milkshadow Books. 2011) ****
Writer/artist Ben Hutchings
Hutcho decides to walk from Australia to Japan, expanding to Godzilla size to do so. The tabloid-sized pages really get across the majesty of Hutcho’s adventure as ocean liners and whales get tossed about as he wades through the sea. His journey ends when he shrinks down to meet friends in a Tokyo bar – a surprisingly warm, intimate ending to such an epic tale.
10. Strip Show (Milkshadow Books. 2011) ***
Writer/artist Bruce Mutard
He’s a serious graphic novelist now (The Bunker, The Silence, etc), but there was a time when Aussie writer/artist Bruce was a dirty-minded cartoonist doing scatological toons featuring big-breasted women. I miss those days. This is a collection of Bruce’s earliest works from the 1990s and early 2000s and, as expected, is a mixed bag. He draws hawt women, though.
11. Zombolette (Milkshadow Books. 2011) ***
Writer/artist Scarlette Baccini
Baccini’s politically incorrect cartoon stars a zombie chick who’s more into being antisocial than eating brains, who lives with her oversized hamster housemate/friend Cameron. And a walrus. If you’re easily offended, don’t check it out. If you like cheap laffs and gross-out moments, then there’s plenty to recommend this collection of B&W strips.
12.-25. The Compleat Terminal City (Dark Horse, 2012) ***½
- originally published in Terminal City (Vertigo, 1996-97) & Terminal City: Aerial Graffiti (Vertigo, 1998)
Writer: Dean Motter/Artists: Michael Lark, Mark Chiarello (covers)
I really wanted to like this collection way more than I did. Motter’s half-arsed plotting let me down in the end. The artwork is stunning though.
26. Thorgal: The Invisible Fortress (9th Cinebook, 2011) **½
Writer: Jean Van Hamme/Artist: Grzegorz Rosiński 
Beautiful-looking art, nothing storyline. Typical Euro-stuff in that 70s tradition, even though it was first published in 1993.
27. Space Warped #2 (Kaboom!, 2011) *
Writer: Hervé Bourhis/Artist: Rudy Spiesert
I picked up this damaged copy from Kings Comics for a buck, mistakenly thinking it was the first issue of Roger Langridge’s Snarked! (I was actually looking at the back cover ad by mistake). Instead, I got some Euro-humour mag based loosely on Star Wars. It was kinda puerile and sucked...maybe it lost something in the translation.
28. DC’s Greatest Imaginary Stories (DC, 2005) ***½
Writers/artists: various
Classic imaginary tales of the 1940s, 50s and 60s starring Superman, Batman, Lois Lane, The Flash and more. Deliriously stupid – and waaaaaay more enjoyable now than when I first read them as a kid.
29. Victorian Secret: Girls Of Steampunk Summer Catalog (Antarctic Press, 2011) **½
Someone at AP was masturbating furiously as they compiled this collection of pin-ups. The pick of the artists is Brian Denham.
30. Uzumaki Vol. 1 (Viz, 2001) ****¼
Writer/artist: Junji Ito
I hate manga but this creepy, spiral-obsessed horror comic is superb, and better than the unsettling movie that followed it.
31. My Friend Dahmer (Abrams Comicsart, 2012) *****
Writer/artist: Derf Backderf
One of the best graphic novels I’ve ever read. Period. Full review in ROGUE #2.
32. By The Slice (self-published, 2011?) ***
Writer:  Giulie Speziani /Artist: Cecilia Latella
A slice-of-life tale about a uni graduate getting a job at a pizza parlour and dealing with the bigoted, mean-spirited, petty-minded owner. Speziani appears to be writing from personal experience. The art by Latella is straightforward but perfect for the down-to-earth nature of the comic. I liked it a lot. For contact details, email or go to