Been meaning to write reviews of things I like but just can't seem to stay on top of it, I can't write as fast as I read, and not enough things that I read engage enough to want to sit down and write about them. But Jacob's Cold Heat post inspired me to mention a few things, real quick-like...
Cold Heat Special by Jon Vermilyea - What Jacob said below. This special issue of the Cold Heat series is way better than any of the other issues, which frankly kind of mystify me (and my pal Dan Nadel's unabashed enthusiasm for it only makes me feel like some kind of lame dilletante for not getting it). But this is just a great comic book by Jon Vermilyea, accessible to just about anyone (and not contigent upon having any familiarity with Cold Heat), and the 16" x 23" silkscreened cover is so fucking attractive that I want to frame it. I'm not sure the art on the inside needed to be this big (11 1/2" x 16" or so), but the treatment is worth it for the cover, and the inside tells a genuinely charming story that would work at any size, and reminded me of some of Jaime Hernandez's or Jordan Crane's more fantastical work. I really liked it. If this had been submitted to me for Mome, I would have jumped for joy upon reading it.
Pinwheel by Mike Bertino - Speaking of Mome, this is an excellent "mini" that is weirdly reminiscent in formal approach to Emile Bravo's "Young Americans" from Mome 8, which is one of my favorite short comics of the year so far. I have no doubt Mike did this without ever seeing Bravo's story, though, and his approach is almost as impressive, if lacking some of the humor and sheer gut punch of Bravo's. The silkscreened covers on this are really handsome, too, and Bertino's drawing style throughout is slightly crude but effective and inviting. Which may all sound like faint praise but isn't meant to be: this is one of the best self-published comics of the year.
Vittle Chin by Max Clotfelter - I don't know a lot about Max's work but I like what I've seen, it's very old school humor stuff that reminds me of a lot of the great early-1990s humor comics by people like Dennis Worden, Pat Moriarity, J.R. Williams, Terry LaBan, etc. The world needs more funny comics, so Max is doing us all a public service here.
I Will Bite You by Joseph Lambert - This guy has done a slew of minis in the last year, and this just happens to be the most recent I've seen. It's simple though handsomely-crafted story about a kid who like to bite. It has a certain antiquated, early 20th Century feel, it's very evocative and the smiling rictus faces remind me of Al Columbia a bit. I think Lambert is a current student or recent graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies, and from here it looks like he's getting a good education.
Comic Art Magazine #9 - Hello beautiful, where have you been all my life? I'm not sure what I can say about this mag that hasn't been said, but it's been on my coffee table longer than anything else this summer/fall, and I keep returning to it. Every issue of this mag has been worth picking up since issue #1, but this one really is the strongest (and fattest) yet, especially in regard to the writing. Comic Art's weak link in the past was the writing; a forgiveable if not irrelevant concern given the sheer amount of eye candy in every issue, but this issue's text is solid, with contributions from great writers like Ben Schwartz, Tom DeHaven, Ken Parille, Jerry Moriarity and more. There are major features on Jesse Marsh, Kaz, Gluyas Williams, Abner Dean, and several other cartooning heavyweights. And then there's those covers by Tim Hensley. Be still my heart. The highlight for me was probably the Abner Dean piece; in one essay Ken Parille told me more about Dean -- one of all-time favorite cartoonists -- than I'd been able to piece together on my own in a decade of searching for info.
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