Monday, March 16, 2009

1. I reviewed Amanda Vähämäki’s The Bun Field for the April/May issue of Bookforum, which is impressively packed with comics-related material in general, including Ben Schwartz on Harvey Kurtzman, CC contributor Joe McCulloch on Yoshihiro Tatsumi, and Nicole Rudick on Beasts!

2. Gary Panter animated, kinda.

3. Pretty awesome Milt Gross-created book reviews in comics form. I’ve never seen or heard of these before.

4. Not comics: The only review of Watchmen (the movie) you need. (The author of that also said some other stuff worth reading.)

5. Oh, and various prominent comics bloggers have weighed in on the new Cold Heat: here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE: I forgot one.

6. An interview with Ted May, partly re Injury 3. I’m pretty excited to see that issue, not only because I really liked the first two, but because CC designer Mike Reddy drew one of the stories in it. Mike showed me a few of the pages, and they were great, and I can’t wait to see the whole thing. Ok, I’m done now.

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11 Responses to “La-Z-Blog”
  1. Frank Santoro says:

    good Bookforum review, T.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Those Milt Gross novel reviews are great. Among other works, he also reviewed a Faulkner novel (Sanctuary, if I remember correctly). I definately hope they’ll be part of the Milt Gross book. Jeet

  3. Chris Lanier says:

    Actually, the Faulkner was “Wild Palms” — you can see Gross’ take on that (along with Du Maurier’s “Rebecca”) here:

    I like that “Fiesta in Manhattan” is written by the “movie writer” Charles Kaufman, who “numbers among his posessions a parrot that looks like Chamberlain.” The Milt Gross page could be a storyboard for an animated short screening in front of “Synecdoche, NY.”

  4. Stephen Pellnat says:

    That is the single most succinct and simultaneously ineffable review of that awful, awful movie, and the only one anyone needs. I’m not familiar with “Wild Palms,” but I just finished “The Hamlet.” Would anyone recommend that one?

  5. Matt says:

    Love Jog’s review of A Drifting Life. I’m about 300 pages in to the book. It’s E-Mazing!

    I’d recommend it to anyone interested in the history of manga. Because Tatsumi matches the anecdotes, say of the Fukui and Tezuka rivalry, with images, it comes to life more than an article might. This is especially helpful if, like me, you don’t have much background in the subject.

    I’m gonna disagree with one of Jog’s points, though. He complains that the book’s “measured flow sometimes produces a dispassionate narrative: A scene in which young Katsumi happens on his father lying beaten in the road has roughly the same space and dramatic impact as when he creates a new comic to submit for prize money”. Yes, I agree, the flow is a bit too measured at times. On the other hand, I think the reason that these two scenes are given the same space and emotional impact in the book is because A Drifting Life is not exactly a memoir, per se. Yes, technically, it’s probably a memoir, but with different goals than what that genre suggests. If memoir means autobiography, yes all that’s here. But in a more important way, the book’s a personalized history of manga through the lens of Tatsumi, the artist. So I would say, more than memoir, it’s artistic self-contextualization. And I think that accounts for why there are scenes from Tatsumi’s personal life whose emotional impact are truncated, like Jog writes.

    Anyway, highly recommended. And Tomine did a great job with the book design.

    Oh yeah, and there are some wrestling scenes in here that Xamie would love. Total Whoa, Nellie! style.

    ps – Is this allowed? To promote D&Q books on the Picturebox site?

  6. Frank Santoro says:

    (you could have said something nice about Tim’s review)

  7. T. Hodler says:

    Oh please, Frank. I’m not that desperate. Thanks for thinking of me, though.

    And hey Jog — take that: you’re wrong about something! What are you going to say about that?

    Also, Matt: CC may be published by PictureBox, but this isn’t the PictureBox site. We write (or try to write) about comics from all publishers. So don’t worry about it. (I know you were joking, but I have problems.)

  8. Matt says:

    ohh, oops, I forgot to add: And Tim's a genius & Cold Heat's my favorite comic book & I can't wait for Art Out Of Time 2 to come out.

  9. Frank Santoro says:

    thank you matt.
    Dan gets mad when you ask him about Art Out of Time 2 tho…

  10. Frank Santoro says:

    just kidding, D.

  11. Jog says:

    Hey Matt, thanks for the comments…

    I actually think we agree regarding Tatsumi’s intent… clearly the meat of this thing is Tatsumi witnessing manga history unfolding (and man, just wait until you hit the second half, where he starts going almost day-by-day through the early rise of gekiga), but my problem was that a lot of the family bits seem particularly keyed toward providing the story with personal drama, but they never as much evoke emotion as announce the presence of emotion, they’re so curt…

    It does provide context, but there’s so much of it (particularly toward the front of the book) it begins to seem less like Tastumi is deploying it for little purpose beyond getting down every last thing he can remember, rolled out in a sorta and-this-happened-then-this-happened-and-this-and-this-happened… it gives the narrative a cataloguing feel, and while that’s maybe useful to show how manga eventually comes to totally control his life, I kinda wanted him to get on with the actual history of Japanese comics…

    Anyway, thanks, glad you liked the review…

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