The Comics Interpreter Volume 2 #1 Now Available! $5
It’s things like this that make me wonder if I’m wasting my time writing reviews. I have fun rambling about comics, sure, and I like to think that I’m at least giving enough information away about something to make people interested in a book, but the way this guy writes reviews… He’s informative, funny, and intelligent without crossing that “Comic’s Journal” line of being overwhelmingly pretentious at times. Granted, it’s still not a magazine that any random person could pick up on my coffee table and enjoy, but it’s impossible to make a magazine about comics that fits that criteria. Looks like this issue finally got printed, which is great news, and it’s $6. In here are plenty of reviews that put the words on these pages to shame and two hugely entertaining interviews, especially when you consider that I knew nothing at all about Hans Rickheit and Paul Pope before this. There’s also a section where readers weigh in on the most interesting person in comics, and did I mention the reviews? Check this out, give those people at Fantagraphics some competition!
Chloe Now Available!$10.95
Words fail me. Seriously, I usually try to take a comic, break it down without giving too much away (because why should I ruin it for anybody else), and let people make up their own minds, but this needs to be seen to be believed. Unless you’re easily offended, or nauseated, then you should probably avoid this at all costs. It’s the story, I guess, of Chloe, a disaffected teenager who finds a mysterious dwarf in the forest while looking for her lost dog. Said dwarf is a follower of the Underbrain, something that is only vaguely defined for most of the story, until it comes into crystal detail later. Somewhere in all this there’s also the normalcy of the high school, her father and various other people who try to help her (or at least communicate with her), but the heart of the story is the cabin in the woods, the dwarf, his cats and all the horrible things he’s growing outside and inside. Reading this was a bit like watching insects crawling around inside of a dead thing for about 20 minutes, but in a good way, or at least in a “I can’t look away” kind of way. If you’ve ever wondered about the potential of the medium and what it can be capable of when somebody lets every dark corner of their brain shine for all the world to see, this is as close as it gets to required reading.
Chrome Fetus #6 Now Available! $2.50
Before I even start in on the comic, Hans printed a letter from an old teacher as a sort of an introduction to the book. She’s absolutely mortified at the work she’s seen in his sketchbook (one can only guess what was in there 17 years ago) and it trying to convince his parents to get him to toe the line. Luckily for the world at large he either ignored those warnings or got over them. This is a regular old mini comic, or at least it is in the sense that there are a few different stories in here rather than one consistent tale. Cochlea and Eustachia play a large part in things, as Eustachia goes missing and Cochlea wanders into a strange house to find her. There’s also a fantastically creepy tale about a retarded, monstrous leader that everyone is forced to follow, no matter how many horrific things he does. Cochlea and Eustachia also star in a series of one page stories, and I would love to find the newspaper that would actually publish them. Trying to describe his work never does it anywhere near justice. For the people who have already read his comics and somehow missed this one, it’s absolutely indispensible. For those of you who haven’t read his stuff, unless you have an especially weak stomach or just can’t stand to be disturbed, Hans is one of the more talented people working today. If those samples won’t convince you, nothing will… $2.50
Chrome Fetus Comics #5 Now Available! $2.95
What an absolutely unique comic experience. Robert Young (from The Comics Interpreter, something everybody should be supporting) had told me, but wow. The only person that comes close to his uniqueness and insanity would be Jim Woodring, but it does a disservice to them both to be compared, as they’re both completely doing their own thing. Panels in this seems perfectly normal, like it’s just a guy going about his day. Then you see something wriggling in the next frame, or a little baby with a rhino head getting its head scooped, or a screw being driven into a bloated body with a turkey head, or a man with the head of a bird pissing on a large crowd, and you realize that you’re looking at something that’s never even crossed your mind. He has a vast body of work, which is music to my ears, because that means there’s tons more to discover. I hope the scan does it justice, but he also has some of the most detailed panels that I’ve ever seen. Every single person in this drawing had some serious time and effort put into them, and that’s a fairly incredible thing to say about a crowd shot. Other things in here include small children dropping cinder blocks from the top of a tall building, a man entering the anus of a large rat balloon, a hairy lollipop and effluvial spurts. It’s $2.95 and indispensable to the expanding of your brain.