Posts Tagged ‘Peter Bagge’

The Mid-Life Moment in Alternative Comics


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Friday, March 4, 2011


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Mid-Life by Joe Ollmann

Over at the National Post, I have a review of Joe Ollmann’s new graphic novel  Mid-Life (click here to read).

A few ancillary thoughts:

The Mid-Life Theme. As can be guessed from the title, Ollmann’s book is about a mid-life crisis. Has anyone noticed how pervasive that theme has been in recent graphic novels? I’m thinking here of Clowes’ Wilson, Collier’s Chimo, Jaime Hernandez’s The Education of Hopey Glass (and the triptych of stories in Love and Rockets 3), Ware’s Acme 19 (and arguably “Jason Lint” or Acme 20, which covers the characters whole life year by year but where the central life-defining actions take place in mid-life). Perhaps related is Brown’s Paying For It, which I haven’t read yet, also hinges I’m told on a pivotal  life-decision the cartoonist made in mid-life. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the mid-life theme is so pervasive. The generation of alternative cartoonists that now dominate comics were all born in the late 1950s or 1960s and are now facing mid-life themselves. Seth’s an interesting anomaly since it could be said that he cartooned like a middle-age man even when he was young. But Seth is relevant here because he once said that he hoped his audience would grow old with him. That’s what seems to be happening with alternative comics and their audience.

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Marvel Should Publish This Already


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Tuesday, May 1, 2007


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If you enjoyed Peter Bagge‘s essay on Spider-Man in the second issue of Comics Comics (which was partially inspired by the time he spent creating Megalomaniacal Spider-Man), you might also like this page from his aborted shelved* Incorrigible Hulk, which is currently making the internet rounds.

(via Again With the Comics)

*improved word choice stolen from Dirk

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Second Issue Now Available for Download


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Thursday, April 26, 2007


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Because the print run of the second issue of Comics Comics has sold out, we are now making it available for free downloading over at the sidebar.

So if you missed out on getting your own copy (and unfortunately, this one really does work best in its oversize paper form), you can now finally enjoy:

Peter Bagge on Spider-Man!

An interview with PShaw! (He has posted a nice color variation of this issue’s cover on his own site, by the way.)

Part one of a far-too-long essay on Steve Gerber‘s cult ’70s Marvel comics (Howard the Duck, Omega the Unknown, etc.)! (By the way, don’t forget to read the article’s accidentally excised footnotes.)

Kevin Nowlan on color separations!

Dan on Dave Sim‘s Collected Letters 2004!

Mark Newgarden on Michael Kupperman!

A beautiful “perpetual calendar” by the legendary Justin Green!

Comics and cartoons by PShaw, Matthew Thurber, and Lauren R. Weinstein!

And more!

P.S. When you’re done, drop us a line. There’s still time to make the letters page for issue three.

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Comics Comics Contributor Makes Good


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Wednesday, February 7, 2007


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Peter Bagge, guest essayist from Comics Comics #2, rules, and proves it in this interview in Nerve.

(Nicked, again, from Eric R.)

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The New Comics Comics (Reprise)


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Friday, December 29, 2006


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NOTE: As the second issue of Comics Comics is just now being distributed to many comics stores for the first time, this is a special encore presentation of an earlier post.

Well, it’s finally here in all its glory. The second issue of Comics Comics debuted at SPX, and it’s a pretty terrific bargain.

We’ve switched to a much larger size—the second issue is a broadsheet—and though we’ll probably have it available for downloading fairly soon, this is one you’re going to want to own and hold in your hands, if only for the beautiful, giant Justin Green “Perpetual Calendar” on the back cover.

Incidentally, I was surprised at how many people at SPX (ostensibly big fans of “alternative” comics) didn’t recognize Justin Green‘s name. All I can say to that is that he basically invented the modern conception of autobiographical comics, and he is easily one of the dozen or so most important comic book creators of the last fifty years. If you haven’t read his Binky Brown stories, you should buy them and read them immediately. Seriously. Don’t buy a single other comic until you’ve found the Binky Brown Sampler. It is better than anything else you could possibly be considering.

Of course, Green’s not the only contributor in this issue. Did you ever wonder how Peter “Hate” Bagge really feels about Spider-Man, and about the single issue of that superhero’s adventures he created for Marvel? You can find out in Comics Comics #2!

Do you like the strange and wonderful work of Matthew Thurber, recently named minicomics artist of the year by the Comics Journal? You’ll read more here, in Comics Comics #2!

Also, Frank “Storeyville” Santoro discusses the lost art of color separation with mainstream legend Kevin Nowlan!

Comics and a very rare interview from our cover artist, the enigmatic PShaw!

Dan on Dave Sim, Mark Newgarden on Michael Kupperman, gag cartoons by Lauren R. Weinstein, and the first installment in an epic, New Yorker-style (ha) exploration of the 1970s Marvel stories of Steve Gerber!

Does YOUR favorite store carry Comics Comics?

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The New Comics Comics


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Tuesday, October 17, 2006


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Well, it’s finally here in all its glory. The second issue of Comics Comics debuted this weekend at SPX, and it’s a pretty terrific bargain.

We’ve switched to a much larger size—the second issue is a broadsheet—and though we’ll probably have it available for downloading fairly soon, this is one you’re going to want to own and hold in your hands, if only for the beautiful, giant Justin Green “Perpetual Calendar” on the back cover.

Incidentally, I was surprised at how many people at SPX (ostensibly big fans of “alternative” comics) didn’t recognize Justin Green‘s name. All I can say to that is that he basically invented the modern conception of autobiographical comics, and he is easily one of the dozen or so most important comic book creators of the last fifty years. If you haven’t read his Binky Brown stories, you should buy them and read them immediately. Seriously. Don’t buy a single other comic until you’ve found the Binky Brown Sampler. It is better than anything else you could possibly be considering.

Of course, Green’s not the only contributor in this issue. Did you ever wonder how Peter “Hate” Bagge really feels about Spider-Man, and about the single issue of that superhero’s adventures he created for Marvel? You can find out in Comics Comics #2!

Do you like the strange and wonderful work of Matthew Thurber, recently named minicomics artist of the year by the Comics Journal? You’ll read more here, in Comics Comics #2!

Also, Frank “Storeyville” Santoro discusses the lost art of color separation with mainstream legend Kevin Nowlan!

Comics and a very rare interview from our cover artist, the enigmatic PShaw!

Dan on Dave Sim, Mark Newgarden on Michael Kupperman, gag cartoons by Lauren R. Weinstein, and the first installment in an epic, New Yorker-style (ha) exploration of the 1970s Marvel stories of Steve Gerber!

Does YOUR favorite store carry Comics Comics?

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Junk Rules


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Tuesday, July 11, 2006


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As promised, here I’ll delve into some American and Japanese manga. But first, an aside. Does it seem odd that Tim and I are digging into mostly mainstream titles? It is, a little. For my part, in some ways the obscure stuff seems easy, and I’m more interested at the moment in trying to understand the popular stuff. I really like good genre stories the way I like, say, that new Nelly Furtado song. They do something that nothing else does—it’s very pure entertainment, not to heavy, not too light. Just fun for me. And I’ve had way more fun with this stuff than with my periodic dips into the superhero mainstream. In fact, I’m kind of hooked in the same way I get hooked on shows like “24”. These comics are unvarnished, unpretentious works—they’re very well crafted and, operating on their own scale, very successful. Ultimately that’s the present appeal for me. Underground-or-whatever-we’re-calling-them comics are so often interior affairs (except our beloved Hernandez Bros. and Bagge) all too infrequent (except for Kevin Huizenga’s Or Else series, which thankfully just keeps popping up) and mainstream comics are by and large burdened by untenable ambitions, so Manga is a good middle ground. Also, unhampered by genre constraints, most manga is concerned primarily with telling plot-based stories, which is, believe it or not, rare in this narrative medium.

First up is the first three volumes of the 10-volume Dragon Head by Minetaro Mochizuki. It’s a pitch black apocalyptic story that begins with a massive underground train disaster which is survived by just three teenagers: Teru, Ako and Nobou. The first two books form a scarily meditative narrative of life underground, as psychological phantoms and physical depravation take hold of the kids. The third finds them wandering out into a blurry, decimated Japanese landscape. Despite it’s disaster-movie trappings, Dragon Head is very much about the interaction between the survivors. It’s essentially a plot-driven character study. And while I sometimes cringe at the cartoon acting here, as well as the overdone anime-style storytelling, what occurs within the story is compelling. Mochzuki manages to make convey the shattering conditions without dipping into gratuity or melodrama. The tone is just right, and it’s quite scary.

Monster by Naoki Urasawa is a wonderfully histrionic murder mystery/soap opera. Pitched somewhere between Days of Our Lifes and Alfred Hitchcock, it follows an ambitious young doctor through his up and down career, which includes sinuous ties to a string of murders and the killer himself. It’s all rather complicated, but, as with Dragon Head, addictive. I’ve only read the first volume but certainly want to continue, if only to find out what happens. Is it great comics? Not really, but it’s extremely proficient. Monster does exactly what it needs to, and the spiraling melodrama (sex, death, doctors, etc etc) is fun. It lifts you up and takes you with it. That may be the secret of this kind of storytelling: it’s insistent and immersive, demanding that you both continue reading and actively empathize with the characters.

Well, that’s it for now. I can’t quite tell how insightful I’m able to be about the stuff. It’s very pleasurable, which as Jules Feiffer made clear in his The Great Comic Book Heroes, is the appeal of so much junk. But it’s summer and junk rules. Next time I’ll try out Scott Pilgrim.

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