Today's Comic Book Recommended Reading.

Ted May, Jeff Wilson, Jason Robards.
This issue's feature, HAIR OF THE DOG is one of those teenage slice of life strips I wait and wait for, and this is one of the best. Heavy Metal kids in a small town in the early eighties getting ripped, going to the local fair, drawing their band logos, having their hearts crushed. Just that alone should be enough to get you jerks off your elbows. It captures that feeling you had as a kid that no matter what small indignation or mega catastrophe, it didn't matter in the long run, because when you turned 18, life was going to BE SO RAD! In a handful of pages, May & Wilson get the subtle weird social relationships you have has a kid and the particular details enfolded in that strange hermetic time when you have no real sense of self, of trying to convince everyone cool that your cool too, when you can love a record in a way that is maybe near impossible now. It's super funny and moves quick, not dwelling on too much, but there is is that subtext of a kind of sad lost world. May's art is super nice and unfussy, but in way that's inventive and his alone. He's the only guy who reminds me both of Kirby fanzines and Dan Clowes all at once. The issue also has part two of the sci-fi actioner YOUR BLEEDING FACE (there's a gang called The Barnyard Animals!) and more great HERCULES comics-am I the only one who can never get enough of Hercules?

Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Edited by Adrian Tomine
This book is demented. Even today, with so many comics aiming for literature, no one is really doing stuff like this. It's weird, it's blunt and kind of pushy. Tatsumi has a tendency to end each story spelling things out real C-L-E-A-R-L-Y, but yet in other ways, the comics in here are subtle and filled with details and strong moments(the unambiguity of the endings is, in my mind, a product of the time when no one in Japan, or most of the world even, save for maybe Crumb, was doing work even remotely like this, and secondly, Japanese storytelling is sort of like that in general). It grows on you. It reminds me of the band THE FALL which could always be both blunt and subtle at the same time. And come to think if it, that cover is a perfect representation of that, once you've read the book. These stories take place in Japan, mostly Tokyo, in the years after World War II (they were all drawn in the early seventies). It's about the weird transition the country was in as it recovered from the war and its whole identity was changing from rural to urban. Tatsumi is awesome at creating a real particular sense of physical life at that particular time and place. He focuses as much space on the buildings, sidewalks, brothels and back alleys as he does on the human characters. It probably has my favorite drawings of buildings from any book. Someone could (should) write a good essay on tatsumi's drawings of urban space, and the use of Tokyo as antagonist.

posted by sammy at 12:07 AM

Blogger kramer said...

Apparently the certain receptors in your brain related to music appreciation reach their peak in the adolescent stage. This was related to me as a fact.

8:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The guy who draws the bleeding face stories is just amazing. He has that kirby style.
Also loved the "fight figures" (I donĀ“t know how to call them) May invents.
Really fresh comic. Reminded me of what comic reading seemed as a kid.


11:16 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey its herecles isn't it? i can't get enough af that either, do u think he's just teasing about not continuing it each issue?

1:00 AM  

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