Current Reading List (With Notes)
by T. Hodler
Thursday, June 8, 2006
In alphabetical order:
Apocalypse Nerd #3, by Peter Bagge
I know a lot of people have been disappointed with this series, but I’m really liking it. Definitely an improvement over his last effort, Sweatshop (though I liked that, too). The first issue was a little lackluster, but that was mostly scene-setting, and so can perhaps be forgiven. With this issue, Bagge seems to have really hit his stride, and it’s interesting to see a cartoonist who’s mostly dealt with kind of “slice-of-life” social satire (for lack of a better term) change gears and deal with a more fantastic premise. If you don’t like Bagge in general, you probably won’t like this, but if you do, and gave up early, this is worth giving another chance.
The Comics Before 1945, by Brian Walker
I started reading this mostly out of a sense of obligation (what with having to find things to talk about for this blog and all), but have ended up enjoying myself a lot more than I anticipated. I’ve only gotten through the “Turn of the Century” section so far, but this is a really nice anthology and history. Even Outcault clicked with me this time, which has never happened before. After I finish this, it’s back to the Blackbeard books.
The Great Comic Book Heroes, by Jules Feiffer
I just re-read this actually—it only takes an hour or two. If you don’t know, it’s a very insightful and pointed, if too short, essay on Golden Age superhero comics. Feiffer’s take on Superman was somewhat infamously stolen by Quentin Tarantino for a David Carradine monologue in Kill Bill, Vol. 2. Which is kind of interesting, considering what Feiffer writes about the high prevalence of swiping amongst comic book artists back in the day. (I’d hate to think the practice still goes on.) Probably fodder for a blog entry of its own, even, comparing attitudes about swiping between filmmakers and cartoonists. If I felt a little sharper, I’d write it.
Tintin in America, by Hergé
This, too, I picked up as homework. I’ve read very little Hergé (just a few albums about a decade ago) and decided to try again, starting at the beginning (or at least as close to the beginning as I could get without visiting eBay for out-of-print books). The conventional rap is that Hergé didn’t really get good until a few volumes later, but I found this pretty terrific. Gangsters, cowboys, Indians: all the great American tropes of the 1930s, seen through a slick, Continental style. Somewhat reminiscent of Jacque Tati‘s films, only actually funny, instead of just theoretically so.