Posts Tagged ‘Shaky Kane’

New Comics riff


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Saturday, July 17, 2010


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Comics shop reverie. Ah, the new store. Up in the clouds. Heaven. Copacetic rules the roost in Pittsburgh. Best feeling shop in town. I guarantee it! I work Sundays folks, come on down! Take a seat in the easy chair and read the funnies. Have a coffee.

This was a big week for a fanboy/wanna-be-critic like myself. Can you say “paradigm shift?”

Let’s count ‘em off: Bulletproof Coffin #2, Orc Stain #4, King City #7 (I know, that came out weeks ago but I missed it and had to re-order it), The Man with the Getaway Face preview, and the new Matt Kindt graphic novel, Revolver. What was I saying about the Direct Market being dead? Sorry, I was high. This has been a great summer already for my new drug: Fusion comics. My term for what Charles Brownstein calls “Boys Comics.” And the Direct Market is delivering my fix, so who’s complaining?

Leading off, The Bulletproof Coffin #2 By David Hine and Shaky Kane. This is my dream comic. I’m in love. This comic is my girlfriend. At this point I wouldn’t care if she fucked my best friend. This comic can do me no wrong. For me, it’s a perfect mashup of styles that POPS with bright colors and dripping blood. The whole book looks really sharp, I think, and the story’s clever unfolding owes a lot to its design. There’s another comic-within-a-comic interplay (Shield of Justice cover to your left) that twists up the story and makes it all swing. If you couldn’t find issue one, I’d say you could still jump on board with #2 and not miss the train. There’s a great synopsis on the inside front cover that made me laugh. Reads like a comic book, like serial entertainment. And for me, really, it’s just the joy reading a Shaky Kane comic. Talk about Fusion – Shaky’s able to somehow subtly, easily shift styles that it really creates a jarring, discordant note in the story. (more…)

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Love Letter


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Monday, June 28, 2010


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I’ll send ya a love letter… straight from my heart, fucker! You know what a love letter is? It’s a bullet from a fucking gun, fucker! You receive a love letter from me… you’re fucked forever! You understand, fuck?I’ll send you straight to hell, fucker!
-Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), Blue Velvet

Like some haunting refrain of a long forgotten pop song or like David Lynch’s dreamy, uneasy nostalgia – Shaky Kane’s comics take me away to a place in space that is beyond past or future.

That's a funny cover.

Written by David Hine, The Bulletproof Coffin is finally a vehicle for Mr. Kane to stretch out in and take us all for a ride. Hine has provided Kane with three narrative levels to engage the reader. There is reality, there is fantasy and there is the documentation of reality, y’know, simulacra or whatever it’s called. And Shaky Kane, the guy who has to draw it all, wisely chooses three styles to depict each realm. The styles are different enough from each other yet cohesive enough to make it all “hang together” narratively as well as symbolically.

Say what?

The story concerns a company that hauls away dead people’s stuff. Well, they’re more like Repo Men. Scavenging valuables before it all ends up in a landfill. One of the movers, Steve Newman, likes to cherry pick choice bits from each estate he visits. He has a collector’s mind and fills his “den” at home with lots of pop culture detritus: old toys, a Manson poster, rayguns, old TVs, old comics; the usual stuff for a guy who likes wacky shit. It’s an interesting way to pinpoint exactly what type of guy Newman is. He’s obsessive and probably a little like you if you’re reading this blog about comics.
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Random Riff Roundup


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Thursday, June 24, 2010


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*You know who’s publishing the best art comics for the disaffected 19-year-old kids who hang out at the record store? Image Comics. I sell the shit out of King City, Orc Stain, and Bulletproof Coffin to the kids who hang out at the record store downstairs. Just sayin’.

*Night Business needs to go full color! Did you see Ben Marra’s story in the Diamond Comics #5 newspaper? Start a Kickstarter for that, Ben! Make a business plan that involves turning the book into a video game or something. Anything. Just go color!

*I was at a crazy comics warehouse out in the middle of nowhere looking for something and heard the local kids talking the usual Marvel/DC smack. Then one of them declared he loved Scott Pilgrim. His friend said, “I thought you were being sarcastic when you said that before … and now I think you’re serious.” Eventually the Scott Pilgrim fan convinced the kid in the Green Lantern shirt to buy volume one of Scott Pilgrim. Cue the doves and violins.

*Jim Rugg, Tom Scioli, and I were driving back from the crazy comics warehouse out in the middle of nowhere and talked the whole time about web comics and counting off favorite cartoonists who have let the industry crush them, crush their souls, dreams, haha, y’know, just a casual drive under gathering dark clouds. We weren’t having this discussion last summer. That was the Direct Market is over talk. And the summer before that was the Kramer’s Ergot 7-Final-Crisis-countdown. Just sayin’. And then I come home and read on CR that DC Comics just announced their digital comics initiative.

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THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (6/3/10 – Bulletproof Delay)


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Wednesday, June 2, 2010


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Monday was Memorial Day here in the U.S., which means UPS had the day off, which means comics (including new Shaky Kane) don’t arrive until Thursday, which means Diamond didn’t release their finalized new comics list until this afternoon, which means I’m here 24 hours later than expected. Given the benefit of an added day of contemplation, I realized that this would be the first New Comics Day since the middle of May to feature no Joe Kubert comics — no gigantic Sgt. Rock in Wednesday Comics, no inks over son Andy’s pencils in DC Universe Legacies #1 — so I took it upon myself to post the above image, a pencils & paint depiction of combat from the artist’s Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1965, a drastic severing of sides of the brain in the body comics.

I haven’t heard a lot about the book online – I imagine it looks and quacks like some of Will Eisner’s later work, if you manage to claw under the shrink wrap, but it’s really a far odder, conflicted work, paring Kubert’s drawing down to its barest and most nakedly expressive, even more so than his 2003 Yossel: April 19, 1943, a fictional sketchbook autobiography from an alternate life. There he marked out places and faces and scenes; here he depicts action for just under half of the book, but without the panel borders that might impose a tighter notion of pacing, or restrain his slashing lines from almost reaching into adjoining scenes. The given sensation is less depiction than recollection, scenes still woozy behind the eyelids of someone who knows how to draw these things so damn well he can work as if by prolonged fit of instinct. It’s not ‘finished’-looking art, no. Sometimes it doesn’t even behave as if finished – I had trouble just telling characters apart at times.

But, I never didn’t know how they felt. Look at those faces. Bodies. In loosening his war comic style, Kubert’s excitement segues into terror, and froths with agony.

Also, look at those captions: white and digital in keeping with DC’s house style, and, in several instances depicted here, defiantly failing to match Kubert’s penciled guidelines, which somewhat unnervingly remain on the page. And the lettering/production is in fact the work of another person — Kubert cohort Pete Carlsson — although it’s Joe writing the transcript-style dialogue, and the ultra-dry, stolid narration, not that either mode sounds particularly different. To say the words and pictures in this book jar isn’t halfway enough – they don’t even seem to occupy the same space. It’s like the drawings were a comic somebody found, and then a narration was constructed around it, as if to make sense of it.

It’s a fictional story, albeit hewing very closely to the activities of the eventually-designated Detachment A-342, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Vietnam in 1965, leading up to the actual Battle of Dong Xoai in June. Fascinatingly, an included 40+ pages of text-based supplements are apparently not supplemental at all – they’re Kubert’s source material, a newsletter put together by surviving members of Detachment A-342, through which you can observe how events have been compressed or combined in the story proper. And, just as the newsletter is largely unconcerned with conveying the personalities of the men involved in favor of hard procedure and incident, Kubert’s invented dialogues serve as almost purely transitional between alternately choked and purplish spreads of info-rich narration. And, of course, those leaping drawings.

I realize my interest in this book is a little esoteric; I couldn’t flatly recommend it without some major caveats pertaining to its clash between text and drawing, the latter more overpowering than ever. Yet – that’s the beauty. This is a heavily fact-based work of fiction, broken down and adapted and put on the page, as logic would dictate, but the art nonetheless feels like it existed first, because it is expressive and personal, and primal to battle, and it called for facts and text to tease it into a slightly heavier place of recognition so we can know which uniforms are worn and how the scenes should doodle in. Push it back, loosen it up a little more, in the second half of the book where the shooting starts, and suddenly it’s soldiers everywhere.

Anyway, as for my fellow latecomers:

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SHAKY ZERO


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Saturday, August 30, 2008


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I wanted to just throw up some images of Shaky Kane’s that I really love, two of which are also in the new paper issue of Comics Comics but are in, um, black and white. (Please look for our giant tabloid of a fanzine at a store near you or here.)

Oh, and if any of our new readers from across the pond have any Shaky stories, Deadline stories, or crazy production “blueline biro” stories about Brett Ewins, please leave a comment, cool? Cool.

Shaky Lives!

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Shaky Kane’s A-Men


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Sunday, August 3, 2008


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X-MAS IN AUGUST
MORE PROPAGANDA FROM THE MYSTERIOUS SHAKY KANE, CIRCA 1989 (FROM THE A-MEN COLLECTION THAT WAS PUBLISHED IN 2002 BY WISHBONE STUDIO, UK)

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Comics Comics 4 Debuts!


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008


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Just to fill out some of the details of Dan’s announcement and get more people psyched, here’s more info on what you’ll get with the latest issue of Comics Comics, debuting at San Diego this week:

* A cover story and interview with the mysterious Shaky Kane

* A package on legendary Topps man (and not-so-secret comics guru) Woody Gelman, drawing on research from Patrick Rosenkranz and featuring Art Spiegelman

* An editorial on the declining profile of traditional comic books by Sammy Harkham

* Giant comics and illustrations from Dan Zettwoch, Mike Reddy, and Jon Vermilyea

* Brian Chippendale on all the latest superhero comics

* Joe “Jog” McCulloch on Gerald Jablonski

* Aragones-style marginal comics from PShaw!

* An exploration of Kentaro Miura‘s totally bonkers manga Berserk

* A list from an anonymous but highly regarded cartoonist

* Contributions from Eamon Espey and Benjamin Marra

* More!

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