Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ron Rege (and Joan Reidy)
Highwater Books, 2000
24 pages

Here’s an example, for me, of a perfect comic book. Twenty single page stories, poems really, of shine-y teenage wonderment told from a girl’s POV. Short little narrative voice-overs accompany spare stylized symbols of figures carefully arranged. It all feels so casual, like a private notebook but each page is dense and an architectural marvel of design and sequencing. The stories feel more real because of the playful drawings, and the facial expressions and emotions of the characters ring true because the text is so reserved, powerful. Printed on pink paper with blue ink, it feels like a girl’s diary but there’s an edge to it and thats whats always surprising about Rege for me whenever I really look at him. Maybe it’s all the sex talk but there’s a darkness there, a shadow world that is visible beneath the smiling exterior. The subject matter is in perfect counter-point to the incredibly articulated drawing, and also reveals, tenderly, that those hapless, embarrassing and sometimes dark moments of burning youth are best related with humor.


24 Responses to “Rege”
  1. Tom Spurgeon says:

    yeah, i think that’s a really good comic book, too

  2. Anonymous says:

    Always the same, always different – Rege’s purity of style and content works beautifully – and manages to retain that mysterious ‘x’ factor that seperates the good from the great.

    When is he gonna get the deluxe monograph he deserves?

  3. Frank Santoro says:

    ask Tom Devlin. Tom?

  4. Anonymous says:

    If Picturebox can do two-volumes for Panter and Bueneventura can make a $100+ Kramer’s, surely either could give modestly nice hardcover treatment to Rege?

  5. Frank Santoro says:

    yah, why don’t YOU put up the money? Surely, you can afford the printing bill, no? Touchy subject these days, watch out. You wanna talk about CARTOONING, I’m there.

  6. John Pham says:

    Love the blog and newspaper, guys! You’re making me feel good about comics again.

    I love Ron’s work. I love Ron too.

  7. Dan Nadel says:

    D&Q just put out a big Rege collection. There were copies in San Diego. Must be hitting stores this Fall. It's great, of course.

  8. Tom Devlin says:

    It’s due next month. Evidently my relentless blogging has had no impact. Info here.

  9. Jason Overby says:

    While “Boys” is a beautiful comic book, it will be nice to have all these disparate strips collected in one place. Sadly, it will undoubtedly lack the Spiderman strip from Coober Skeeber, but you can’t have everything, right?

  10. Nicholas says:

    other perfect comics:

    Silly Daddy #8 (split with King Kat)

    Colliers Vol.2 #2 (with Brat X)

    Horace by Ben Jones

    Eightball #23

    any other nominations?

  11. Anonymous says:

    New Love (every issue)!
    Sinner #4!

    As much as I want to see the Rege book collected, I think it will always be a lot more powerful as its own little object; a lot of that will be dissipated when put between hard covers and included with a lot of other material (the same thing kind of happened with King Kat, even though I love the collection).Which is probably why Frank picked this one to talk about, right?

  12. Frank Santoro says:

    the early 2000’s seem longer ago than the early 90s to me. So I’m revisting a lot of stuff from like 8 years ago recently. CF’s early, early Lowtides from 2001 may be some of the most remarkable objects I’ve ever seen, read, experienced. It sucks that stuff goes out of print and is unavailable yet it’s also fun to understand why they have power as objects. Comic books, zines retain that power better than big collections, I think.

    (please don’t start a thread about comic books vs collections.)

  13. Anonymous says:

    Perfect comics (I forget numbers):

    -Black Hole (‘Windowpane’ – the acid trip one)
    -That Acme Novelty Library where Jimmy meets Super-man on the desert island.
    -Hup #3
    -Weirdo #25
    -Any issue of Eightball! Where the hell is issue 24?
    -‘The Birth Caul’ by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, who somehow makes something beautiful out of Moore’s theatrical verbosity.

  14. Tom Spurgeon says:

    I like New Hat Stories by Tom Hart as a comic book, too.

  15. Frank Santoro says:


  16. jesse mcmanus says:

    i’ve been wanting to see the rege and cf strips again that were posted on the highwater site long ago. the same goes for those early lowtides and yeast hoists. its wonderful to hold a xeroxed one-sheet with cf’s stamp on it, but reading tonc-pup or whatever on the computer was better than nothing. it was a complete thrill, actually, to see such things, despite the tactile lack that the actually object would cure.
    didnt an early lowtide just have a big square with an X through it on the cover? badass…

  17. Brian says:

    The CF strip from the Highwater website (I think there was only one, that ran in two parts) was the same one that ran in Expo 2001. “Race From Dying.”

  18. jesse mcmanus says:

    what about the one-sheet about the guy at the inn and the ending with the snail? wasn’t that on the highwater site?

  19. Frank Santoro says:

    What you guys don’t know about the interweb way back machine? Every page from the history of the web is archived

    NOT A JOKE. You can see the old Fort Thunder site if you’d like

    (put all these lines together)

  20. jesse mcmanus says:

    thanks for the reminder frank.

    praise be to rege!!!

    brian was right about race for dying, so where did i see that snail strip? i’m sure it was on the computer…mysteries….cant he just reprint it for core of caligula #2—-???

  21. Jesse McManus says:

    tonc pup…i meant:

  22. Anonymous says:

    Fuckin Rege rulez it

  23. Tom Devlin says:

    Jason, The Spidey strip (“High School Analogy”) is in AGAINST PAIN.

  24. Joe says:

    My first and favorite Rege book. So straightforward and simple it’s beautiful.

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