Hey kids! Recently I found myself in that wallet-evacuating institution, Comic Relief in Berkeley. Therein, I purchased a number of comix. I will now report on my findings for you, my loyal readers.
The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Volume 1
The highly-anticipated follow-up to Frank Miller's blockbuster The Dark Knight Returns (pretty much credited for single-handedly keeping the comics industry afloat in the mid-80s), "DK2", is, well, okay. It's the first in a series of 3, and most of the book is spent setting the scene--it takes a while to get all the various superheroes into their appropriate roles for this outing. Don't expect to leave the book satisfied--however, I did find myself curious as to what happens.
The art is quite good... Dazzling full color layouts, often with some complexity, forcing you to really take in the pages. If I'm not mistaken, it looks like Miller is strongly influenced by Mike Mignola--the characters have a certain weight, a certain depth, a visual style that recalls the heavy presence of Hellboy.
Now, I'm no superhero fanboy, so I don't know what references I'm not getting, or what background I "should" have, but I do *love* seeing Superman as a spineless toady, and the idea that the Flash in a hamster wheel generates power for a third of the US, and the ways that The Atom travels along particles. Some clever stuff in there.
The latest from Dan Clowes is also his most expensive--$5.95 for this issue. But, for that price you get a book chock-a-block with stories and Clowes' most accomplished art. In what feels like some kind of homage to Winesburg, Ohio, #22 book chronicles a series of interweaving stories in the small-ish town of Ice Haven, mostly swirling around the disappearance of a small child. Clowes' mines his usual themes of despair, futility, attempts-at-achievement-in-the-face-of-mediocrity, sex, teen girls, etc., but does so in a more understated and narratively-stronger way than before.
The visuals deserve special notice--though a good artist, he was always far better with the words and concepts. In this effort, though, he experiments with visual styles (some distinctly reminiscent of Chris Ware), and succeeds masterfully.
Optic Nerve 8 View | Buy
Adrian Tomine continues to find inspiration in the fucked up sexuality of youth. 8 doesn't have much of a plot--it's more of a slice of life of a slutty brazen girl and geeky asexual boy who work together at a coffeehouse. Tomine definitely has an eye and ear which rings true. But the spareness, and aimlessness of his tale makes this the slightest of this lot.
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Dude, Optic Nerve totally rules. What I have always loved about Tomine's work is his steadfast resistance to the ongoing trend of cramming every square centimeter of every panel with detail. I haven't read #8 yet, though. Nevertheless, don't you be talkin' smack about my boy Adrian.
Posted by jjg @ 12/21/2001 08:52 PM PST [link to this comment]
yeah. what he said. no tomine bashing!
Posted by judith @ 12/22/2001 11:30 PM PST [link to this comment]
Since picking up Sleepwalk a few weeks ago, I've come to love Tomine's work so much that I have decided to write my Thesis about him. I reckon his best story to date is the one with the guy's summer photocopying job - he reminds me of myself at my most bigoted (I'm not actually that much of a c**t). Anyway, if anyone wants to send work, links advice etc to help my degree, I will be much obliged
Posted by Keir @ 02/28/2002 08:06 AM PST [link to this comment]
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