Sunday, December 18, 2011
A few weeks ago I got an email from Grant Thomas asking if I would review his comic books. I said I was behind on writing reviews, so he sent just one. It's Dodo Comics #2 Fall 2011. I would think of it as a zine, but Grant thinks of it as a comic book.
Dodo Comics #2 Fall 2011 is beautiful. The cover's attractive, a scene at an art gallery where a famous painting is being spoofed lightheartedly. Well, you can see it in the scan above.
This comic book is brief at 20 half-sized pages including covers, but there's some variety here.
The first piece, "Homage to Leone," is in the style of a Western. It includes some of the most gorgeous drawings I've seen in a comic book. I can't get over the characters' intense facial expressions. I'm no fan of Westerns, but "Homage to Leone" is extremely appealing to me, and it probably would be to anyone. Grant explains in the afterward that Leone is a filmmaker, which I didn't know. My only question was about a circle in one of the characters' mouths. I showed the drawings to my husband Erik, and he says it's a cigarette, which I didn't understand. It didn't look like a cigarette to me.
Next up is a piece about being a student in a life drawing class. It's in a completely different style from "Homage to Leone." "Drawing From Life" is cartoony and conversational in contrast to the stark intensity of "Homage to Leone." I like the insights about nudity and the way people react to broken taboos.
Again there was something I didn't understand. This time I didn't get the end. In the story, a "wino" is hired as a model for the life drawing class, and the three last panels show something happening. At first I thought the "wino" was masturbating because of the way his arms are placed and the peculiar look on his face. Then at the end he seems to have fallen off his chair. I've reread the ending several times and am still not quite sure what happens. It might be some kind of medical emergency. It's not clear, and I seem to be missing something. My confusion doesn't ruin the experience of reading, though.
"Visions of Johanna's Concert" is the third piece. I like the stirring facial expressions of the folk singer and the sparse clarity of the story's narration, the interplay between the two.
Finally is "Why Have you Shut Your Eyes?" again in an entirely different comics style--this time we get a page that looks sort of like a page out of an ancient manuscript, only with comics instead of text. We're treated to some drawings of a wonderful demon.
And then is the helpful contextualizing afterward, and on the back cover we get some info about Grant.
Writing this review I found myself wanting to use the word "expressive" a lot. I'm impressed.
Dodo Comics #2 Fall 2011 is available for $3 plus a dollar shipping on Grant's website.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
This is a small feminist zine about physical self-love. (For some reason my scanner couldn't handle the color of the cover--it's actually much brighter than this.) It covers masturbation techniques, DIY breast exams, what hands are good for. There are cute drawings of yonic foods--I especially like the strawberries. No one thing is elaborated on, but these are good messages for all women to keep in mind. It seems to have been created by a campus feminist group. Any woman reading this review, just let me know your address if you'd like me to mail this zine to you.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
It's a pleasure to spend time with DJ Frederick and his friends. I really enjoyed this zine. Highlights include thoughts about pirate radio and the excellence of vinyl records, interviews with John Poet and DJ Little Danny, and an account of an acid trip. Reading Paper Radio is like stepping into an alternate reality that I enjoy. The nostalgia is intelligent.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
This zine is from Hungry Knife Artist Collective in Arizona. It's brief and radical, good for anyone, yet concerned with local matters. There are plenty of appealing visuals, including a map of border patrol checkpoints. I think my favorite piece is No More Deaths / No Mas Muertes about what's going on with people who are trying to cross the border and humanitarian relief to help those people. No one idea is gone into with a lot of depth in this zine, but the ideas here are important.