I wasn’t sure what expectations to bring to this art book, Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudi, and I’m glad I didn’t formulate any because it wouldn’t have met them.
As if to spite the cover art (a labored Takehiko Inoue drawing of a young blue-eyed Antoni Gaudi) and the subject matter (a trip Inoue took to Spain in order to study the work of this 19th century Catalan architect), Pepita isn’t much more than a playful travelogue, interspersed with far more photos than sketches, and more casual cultural musings than intense study.
This book is for those who can be both interested in Gaudi and Inoue. If you fall into only one camp there’s not enough material here to satisfy you. You’ll get a little of Inoue’s self-reflection about his philosophy of work, but not much. Similarly, you won’t feel sufficiently educated on the life and work of Gaudi, if indeed you knew about him in the first place. So this isn’t the publication I’d recommend to someone fresh off Vagabond or Slam Dunk and rearing to get inside the head of the guy who created them. It’s just a little too plain for that, too straightforwardly about a Japanese guy in Spain looking at weird architecture that resonates with him as he takes in a culture different from his own.
As someone already familiar with the Catalan region of Spain by way of my own heritage, I found Pepita achieved a golden ratio of disparate elements to keep me interested the whole way through. And I’m no stranger to the power of evocative architecture, though it isn’t something I’m very educated about. So being able to read this book was an opportunity to maybe learn a little, get to know Takehiko Inoue on a more personal level, and get out of my usual headspaces. Appreciated but I know it won’t be for everyone.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.
Frontier #1 was the debut publication of Ryan Sands’ Youth in Decline imprint, and though seeing Russian enigma Uno Moralez’ bitmap artwork collected in print for the first time is exciting, the mechanical details of its presentation ultimately work against it.
One doesn’t even have to finish the book before realizing something doesn’t feel quite right… here Moralez’ high contrast pixels appear too blurry to achieve full effect, given the gray tone of the paper as well as the softness of the risograph printing process. The result is subdued impact of evocative images originally designed to be witnessed on an LCD screen.
The book is still a praiseworthy artifact of an eclectic artist we all want to see more of, but it’s disappointing to report the labor-intensive way in which it was printed doesn’t end up serving Moralez’ digital style all that well.
Yeah, I read the Adventure Time comics. And one of the things the Marceline and the Scream Queens trade does right is it includes the backup stories from the original issues, so you get to see cartoonists like Faith Erin Hicks and Polly Guo tackle the AT aesthetic with their own flair.
The Adventure Time comics all get a passing grade, I keep reading them and they’re filled with straight ahead antics as you’d expect, but they lack the enthusiasm for design and multiplicity of ideas that makes the television show such a phenomenon. I suppose on some level it’s inevitable, given the amount of people collaborating on the comics is considerably smaller than the amount working on the show. They just don’t have the sprawling feel of the cartoon proper.
Pyramid Scheme and Moa-192B are publications from Decadence Comics, a two-person collective based in the UK. They had me thinking for days afterward about the role (and many disadvantages of) language in comics. These wonderful science fiction stories don’t need to be spoiled with literal explanation and they aren’t: they’re wordless symbolic runes with rusty, sandblasted detailing that grasp for evocation. Science fiction where literary meaning is of secondary importance is rapidly becoming my favorite kind. It’s also the hardest to talk about.
Destination X by John Martz is a small, short hardback whose pulp-style cover art is unmatched by the workaday Sunday newspaper-like cartooning within. The story, a pleasant and painless one, concerns a simple man obsessed with exceeding the accomplishments of his discredited space-faring grandfather, thought to be insane for reporting the existence of a planet with intelligent alien life. As the story goes on it plays out as you would expect, there’s a surprisingly cruel moment, and it ends plainly. Destination X doesn’t go far enough in any one direction to be a memorable comic story.
Review copy provided by Nobrow Press.
I thought screw it because Heavy Metal appears to be shifting their focus further and further away from presenting European comics to a NA audience and because who knows when the second new chapter will come out and be collected in the UK.
I imported Requiem Vampire Knight #11 from France. So now I have a bloody monster comic I unapologetically enjoy reading in a hardcover format whose printing quality exceeds the English language editions in every conceivable way. It’s how the comic should be read, not in easily-wrinkled glossy magazine pages or poor quality trades whose glue binding becomes undone when opened all the way.
Ledroit’s heavy metal album cover-like comic book paintings of a monster war in Hell continue to grow more and more ridiculous, undoubtedly filled with Pat Mill jokes and puns I can’t read because they’re in French (and I have to admit I don’t miss them all that much anyway.) It’s all about Ledroit’s imagination being let loose in this deranged atmosphere, the kind of fantasy that will never be incorporated into a video game or movie or 800 page novel so this is the only place where it can exist: in comics.
This is number ten of a comic drawn, inked, colored, printed, assembled and shipped by some lone guy in Virginia. He doesn’t put his name or any biographical information anywhere in it. Not even a timestamp. The result is a single word of description: Fukitor. An ageless brand, a mark of madness no one dare take any credit for.
If Requiem is channeling the painted spectacle of a heavy metal album cover, Fukitor is channeling something closer to Gwar. It’s recklessly intentioned to entertain with the incorporation of as many perverse bodily fluids possible. Thoroughly cruel and pointless. I can’t stop reading it, and if you want more information, check out Jim Rugg’s interview with the creator, also filled with more perverse images than I dare post here.