|Preview video/slideshow: Petey & Pussy by John Kerschbaum|
|Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under video, previews, new releases, john kerschbaum||27 Oct 2008 4:06 PM|
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This superbly evocative graphic novella by the award-winning Norwegian cartoonist Jason (his first appearance in the English language) starts off as a melancholy childhood memoir and then, with a shocking twist midway through, becomes the summary of lives lived, wasted, and lost. (Imagine a version of Stand by Me in which not all of the kids outrace the train.) Like Art Spiegelman did with Maus, Jason utilizes anthropomorphic stylizations to reach deeper, more general truths, and to create elegantly minimalist panels whose emotional depth charge comes as an even greater shock. His sparse dialogue, dark wit, and supremely bold use of "jump-cuts" from one scene to the next (sometimes spanning a number of years) make Hey, Wait... a surprising and engaging debut. Love and Rockets co-creator Gilbert Hernandez calls this one of the best graphic novels ever.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, and James Joyce walk into a Parisian bar... no, it's not the beginning of a joke, but the premise of Jason's unique new graphic novel. Set in 1920s Paris, The Left Bank Gang is a deliciously inventive re-imagining of these four literary figures as not only typical Jason anthropomorphics, but...graphic novelists! Yes, in Jason's warped world, cartooning is the dominant form of fiction, and not only do these four work literary giants work in the comics medium but they get together to discuss pen vs. brush, chat about the latest graphic novels from Dostoevsky ("I can't tell any of his characters apart!") to Faulkner ("Hasn't he heard of white space? His panels are too crowded!"), and bemoan their erratic careers. With guest appearances by Zelda Fitzgerald and Jean-Paul Sartre, and a few remarkable twists and turns along the way, and you've got one of the funniest and most playful graphic novels of the year. Like Jason's acclaimed Why Are You Doing This?, The Left Bank Gang is rendered in full spectacular color.
2007 Eisner Award Winner, Best U.S. Edition of International Material
As an experiment, I'm switching to a daily link post instead of the weekly "blogosphere roundup" -- hopefully smaller chunks will be easier to digest, not to mention more timely. And here we go:
Johnny Ryan sez on his blog: "Superfan Patrick O'Odonnell and friends have produced another cinematic masterpiece based on one of my comics. If you ever wondered what would happen if Stanley Kubrick fell out of the top floor of the World Trade Center and landed brain first into a pile of my comics, you'd probably get something like this." Behold.
Eric has been scooping me on some stuff this week. I'm grateful for it because it makes my job a little easier; just make sure to look for his link posts if you haven't seen them already.
This week's reviews & analysis:
• Moonlighting for comiXology, The Comics Journal's Kristy Valenti attempts to synch reading Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron by Daniel Clowes with its musical soundtrack by Victor Banana (a.k.a. Tim Hensley)
• Comic Book Resources' list of "the 20 most significant comics in American comics history" (in terms of the industry) includes Gil Kane's Blackmark (in its original incarnation rather than our reprint) and, duh, Love and Rockets #1
And other items of note:
• Here's Tintin as drawn by Robert Goodin
Time for the new installment of Steven Weissman's in-progress pages from "Blue Jay," an epic 32-page story from Chocolate Cheeks, the next collection of the Yikes! gang's adventures. In this week's episode: a very unpleasant surprise!
Presenting your first look at the final design (from one angle) of our eagerly-anticipated Humbug collection. Image (and post title) provided by book designer Adam Grano. Read more about the Humbug project right here. (Press: higher-res image available - contact Eric Reynolds.)