Gonna try something new here on the blog—a little weekly capsule review of comics I’ve been reading. Here’s goes nothing:

Taking it to The Bone Zone by Meg Powers

This was easily the coolest thing I picked up at MOCCA. This is the artists tumblr, but beyond that I don’t know how you could get copies of this comic. Anyway, it was exciting picking this up at MOCCA because in so many ways that show feels kind of dead—so this really funny, sexy and beautifully drawn comic in the midst of a kind of sedate show made me happy. It was really funny and Powers drew the hell out of the thing. the cover (which I can’t find an image for) has this crazy intense pizza-dripping-mozarella into outer space imagery—I felt bullied into accepting how good it was. There was a real loose/lewd tone to the whole thing but with a lot of powerful focus and belief in the whole enterprise.

Powers also had a zine of drawings of actress-crushes (everyone from Laura Dern to Tilda Swinton) that had these really beautifully rendered star portraits in it. If you see her books show up somewhere, go get em. I think I was lucky enough to buy the last copy of Bone Zone.

Hot Dog Beach #1 by Lale Westvind

Picked this up at Brooklyn Zine fest, along with a bunch of other great books from Westvind. Hot Dog beach was my favorite of the bunch. Westvind pushes these thick masses of characters around her page with wild movements. The page itself is a thrill to look at—Westvind doesn’t draw tiny or tell little stories: these are towering pages packed with rows of panels. I don’t know how long Westvind has been doing comics but there is a lot more pouring out into these comics then most other ‘new’ cartoonists I tend to see. I really like how the characters change in line tone—they can be blocky and stagnant on one page and then sharp and flowing on another. Peter Bagge does that too but it never felt as natural and satisfying for me as it does here. These comics are fun to read and have a lot of genre touches—but, the unique things Westvind does with the physicality of her characters makes this into something really new and exhilarating.

Batman #518 by Doug Moench and Kelly Jones. Colors by Adrienne Roy.

Sometimes I think that the Doug Moench/Kelly Jones run on batman is the only corporate-genre comic I actually really care about. I love the way Jones draws—creepy like Graham Engels but there’s so many more directions Jones can go with his art then a one-trick-pony creepy guy can go. Jones puts in great drawing bits like having visual puns thrown in with the ‘coming next issue’ box and often times characters expressions have little to do with what they’re saying—its just Jones doing beautiful drawing regardless of the dopey dialogue. There are so many letters in each issue during his run that complain about the way he draws ears. I also like that Moenchs stories are so simple—i think he understands the ‘get out of the way and let this artist do good stuff’ principle, but who knows? Maybe that’s just how he writes. Moenchs Batman run is just a series of different villan’s getting rotated in each couple of issues—no great intellectualizing over Batman which makes these comics feel perfect for kids: scary drawings of Batman every month fighting some new weirdo without any ponderous junk in the way. There’s something really elegant about the consistency of Moench and Kellys monthly output. The collaboration lasted for around 30 issues—wish mainstream comic teams today could muster something close to that.

This ish is notable because its the last one Adrienne Roy colored. Its printed on newsprint and the colors are flat. Just Batman standing against a plain orange background without any gradation. Simple. 519, they bumped the paperstock (and the price) up, and got rid of Roy. Some new colorist who uses a lot of photoshop filters stepped in. Jones is good enough to weather it but this issue looks beautiful in comparison.

4 Comments on “Checklist”

  1. madinkbeard says:

    Pointless factoid. Moench lived down the street from my high school girlfriend. I was already a comics reader (and maker) by then, but I had no idea who he was. I still don’t think I’ve read anything by him.

    • really? he wrote a lot of batman when I was 10, 11. I actually think he’s great. I mean, he wrote episodic stuff with jones. I guess he wrote a lot of Nightfall (the thing where batman gets his back broken) which is like a tortured money grubbing saga. But I wish there were more guys like Moench writing mainstream stuff now. Anyone know what kelly jones is up to these days?

  2. Jesse McManus says:

    I went to school with Lale, she is a maniac, I’m glad she’s demolishing!!!

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