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Muradov, Roman – Resident Lover


Resident Lover

Sometimes comics leave me feeling a certain way, and I’m never quite sure if that’s the intent of the artist or if it’s just what the comics brings out of me personally. Maybe somebody else reading this would come away feeling something else entirely, but for me when I set down this book a wave of melancholy hit me. The comic feels a bit like a dream, like the details might change if I were to go back and read it again. Not possible, granted, but we’re talking feelings here, not physical reality. This is the story of a young man who sets out with his lover, his former lover and her current lover. They all get to talking, and another former lover down the line was supposed to be good at bocce, but since the star of the comic had never heard of him, this set off an argument that led to him getting out of the car and leaving them to go on their way. Meanwhile, it left our hero alone in the dark at 3am, in the wilderness and surrounded by things that he was allergic to. He wandered until he made his way to a department store, and the surreal nature of the place led him to go up to the roof. The roof was covered in thousands of tiny candles, which led back to the story of the two women who put the candles up there every night, why they do it and how they came to that place at all. Which I’d rather not get into here, to preserve at least a little bit of mystery, but this really feels like one of those comics where you could know everything about it going in and still get plenty out of it. Check it out, and if you end up feeling anything other than melancholy when you’re done, let me know. Who knows what’s all in my head and what’s left over from a previous lovers’ quarrel? $6

Muradov, Roman – Picnic Ruined



Picnic Ruined

There are times when I have to admit that I have no idea what I can contribute to the conversation about a comic. No, this isn’t me getting all self-effacing and “aw shucks” about this website, as I think that I do contribute meaningful rambles about comics every now and then, or at least point at books that deserve more attention. It’s just that when I run across somebody like Roman, with his ridiculous list of credentials and clients, it’s clear that the guy is operating on a different plane than me. That’s the basic reason why I barely ever bother to review the new Dan Clowes book, or anything by the Hernandez Brothers, those sorts of things. They know what they’re doing, anything I say would be nitpicking, so why bother? So instead of treating this comic like that, I’m just going to treat it like any old comic and see what happens. This is a comic of shadows holding images and images holding shadows, thoughts that trail off into jumbled messes or moments of insight, thoughts of self-doubt turning into rueful acceptance and/or tolerance of the way things are and maybe even getting to a perfect moment. Or it’s about a guy who wanders aimlessly through his evening, including literally running into a tree while not paying attention. Or both! Things start off at either a really boring porno shoot or a naked art project, which leads our hero to wonder about what things in the world have a foreskin and what things should have a foreskin. Right away Roman has introduced something that I’ve never thought about, which was quickly followed by wondering why I never thought about it, so kudos to him for that. From there our hero flees out of fear of being photographed at this event and into a bookstore, where things get messy in a hurry (with a delightful curse thrown in). The rest of the comic deals mostly with his thoughts, his conversation with somebody who isn’t into indulging him on his shit, and dealing with his self-doubt. In other words, not the sorts of things that are easily reviewed, or are even helpful things to review. On an aesthetic level this is gorgeous, as you can take the linear approach or just follow the lines of dialogue to see if you can spot every random thought that pops into his head but is written down too quickly to be understood. If you’re looking for people punching each other to solve their problems then this book won’t do you any good, but if you’d rather wonder about the universe while wondering if that wondering is itself pointless, maybe you should give this one a shot. $6


Various Artists – Baltic Comics Magazine #11: Artventurous


Baltic Comics Magazine #11

Huzzah for international anthologies! Getting a comic from Latvia is a sure way to keep me fired up to write more reviews for another six months or so (international artists take note). One note right off the bat: it would probably be a good idea for them to put the title of their book on the cover. In this case “Artventurous” refers to art both being made and not made and the various adventures surrounding different types of art. Don’t get me wrong, that cover is going to grab your attention sitting on a shelf anyway, but that one descriptive word might have helped them pick up another reader or two who was too lazy to open the cover. Anyway, for me a 2/3 success rate is more than enough to recommend an anthology, and this one is closer to 4/5 fantastic/provocative/fascinating, which covers that spread quite nicely. Please note that I’m not going to talk about every single story in here (because then what would be left for you to discover?), but a full list of artists is down there in the tags below the review. My favorites from this boo include the closed loop story by Martins Zutis dealing with The Odyssey, the silent piece by KJ Martinet called “Ideal Form” (I don’t want to give away a bit more than that), the fantastically creepy “Leda” by Betty Liang, the mind-boggling amount of detail in “Necropolis” by Jean de Wet, Jen Rickert’s “The Loon” and its shifts between what is happening in the moment and the flashbacks from its murderous protagonist, Konig Lu Q’s simple (but not simplistic) extra commandments, Roman Muradov’s story that disintegrates into little pieces in the middle, the sheer adventurousness (and never discount the value of a giant robot yeti) of the Mikus Duncis story, the social horror of Olive Booger’s piece, the gleeful mayhem of Elina Braslina’s story, and the plausible paranoia of Dilraj Mann’s story. And this is all without me even mentioning Simon Moreton’s story (who, if you read this website at all, you know is a favorite of mine), which should tell you something about the overall quality of this anthology. Honestly, I should maybe even bump up that 4/5 quality estimate, as even the (many) stories I didn’t mention here usually had something going from them, between the vibrant splashes of color and the various social anxieties based on growing up around art or just trying to produce something of value when so much incredible stuff has already been produced. Pick it up if you get the chance, that’s what I’m saying, as it’s impressive that they’ve made it to #11 and they should shoot for many more. $13