Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Recently I’ve been revisiting the surrealist comic book authors who have successfully conveyed the kind of disruption of reality which I experience in dreams. I want to pinpoint the ways in which they have been able to successfully communicate and provoke a kind of emotional dissonance with their work.
Neil Gaiman (and by extension, artist Dave McKean) immediately comes to mind, specifically on his long-running and groundbreaking series; The Sandman, but also in works like Black Orchid and The Books of Magic. In many ways this is the most linear representation of truly surreal environments that I can think of. He provides us with entire universes of insane, nonsensical, mythical imagery and logic, but he presents each story in a very direct, linear manner. His way of telling a story in this context is very much like a fairytale, with one event leading inevitably to the next, it is deceptively comfortable, almost hiding the craziness inside. When he does move the storyline towards something more evocative of chaos (i.e. towards the end of the books) he still lays all of the elements out carefully so that by the end the reader can happily piece together a logical continuity (that is to say it is logical within the context of the universe he has created). Continue Reading »
In 2012 a broader variety of author communicated their joy and intensity using the alchemy that is art and literature in comic books. The wealth of great comic books published in nearly every genre made me happier than I can say and when I put in my votes for the CBR Top 100 Comics of 2012 I was hard pressed to pick only 10 comic books to vote for. So for you, I’ve compiled 16 mini-reviews of my favorite comic books published in 2012. These books were enjoyable, intense, personal, and / or an evolution of the the comic book medium (and now I can’t wait to see what we’re going to get this year!) Continue Reading »
“The question is can you cure the disease before it kills you? Once you set out consciously to cure the disease, as I did even before I knew the word cancer, you run the risk of catching it. Comprende? Whatever you set your mind to, your personal total obsession, this is what kills you. Poetry kills you if you’re a poet, and so on. People choose their death whether they know it or not.” (Don DeLillo, from Libra)
If you haven’t already read Henry & Glen Forever & Ever, you’re going to want to hit your local comic book store to try and find this weird little indie book, because there hasn’t been such a compellingly silly pairing since Oscar and Felix in the Odd Couple. Fantastic, diverse pin-ups and stories pack the black and white pages, painting a vivid portrait of a disturbingly believable neighborhood.
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