Talking with Benoît Crucifix about Ilan Manouach.

Ilan Manouach has been putting out comics-related projects that not only push the boundaries of what comics are as an aesthetical endeavor as well as what comics-making means, not to mention what kinds of critical instruments we can or may use to appreciate them. Continue reading “Talking with Benoît Crucifix about Ilan Manouach.”

El Color de la Selva. Aidan Koch (Tinta nos Nervos)

This is a very different post. As I am involved with the production of this exhibition and the edition of Aidan Koch’s book, while a partner of bookstore-gallery Tinta nos Nervos, in Lisbon, Portugal, instead of writing an exclusive text about this particular project, I’ll share all the materials that were developed for it. Below, you’ll find a video-tour of the exhibition and a video showing the book. Moreover, a copy of the exhibition handout, with the text about it. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, we couldn’t put up the new show (with works by French bande dessinée master Edmond Baudoin) and we had to close our doors. Aidan’s works are still on the wall, so passersby can check their beauty from afar… You can also check it, closer though, by purchasing the book here. Continue reading “El Color de la Selva. Aidan Koch (Tinta nos Nervos)”

Révolutions 1: Liberté. Florent Grouazel et Younn Locard (Actes Sud/L’An 2)

Take a moment to understand what the word Revolution means etymologically. A “course” of bodies, “revolving” along an appointed path. There must be a central body, exerting gravity, and other smaller bodies, revolving around it. That is what takes place in this first volume of this trilogy, dedicated to the French Revolution. The “immaterial” core is made up by the shattering events of 1789. The smaller bodies are the myriad of characters that we follow, in a complex, kaleidoscopic, varied social portrait of French society in this epochal shift.   Continue reading “Révolutions 1: Liberté. Florent Grouazel et Younn Locard (Actes Sud/L’An 2)”

Dédales. Charles Burns (Cornélius)

Charles Burns seems to be returning to his roots, by treading known ground. After the masterpiece of body horror meets teen angst that was Black Hole and the masterful genre-crushing disguised as weird ligne claire homage Last Look trilogy, the author puts out the first volume of a purported new series focusing, once again, on a young slacker loser and his awkward love interest, a more mature young woman, and references galore to Americana, B movies, and its crossing with science fiction, horror and kaiju. It is also, even if to lesser extent in terms of power and subtlety, about comics-creation itself. Continue reading “Dédales. Charles Burns (Cornélius)”

The Man Without Talents. Yoshiharu Tsuge (New York Review of Books)

The output of the New York Review of Books imprint dedicated to comics is really outstanding in terms of its variety, attention to both older and more recent historical work, artistic experimentation and porosity of genre and style boundaries, and, more importantly, I’d argue, translation. Despite its newness, and relatively limited catalogue, making available to the English-speaking world – which means beyond native English speakers and with an impact throughout the globe – work by authors such as Edmond Baudoin, Gébé, Dominique Goblet, Ulli Lust and Yvan Alagbé already makes it grandiose. Adding to this list an English edition of The Man Without Talents, by Yoshiharu Tsuge, and with a translation and wonderful essay by Ryan Holmberg, takes the cake.   Continue reading “The Man Without Talents. Yoshiharu Tsuge (New York Review of Books)”

Sabrina. Nick Drnaso (Granta)

Historically speaking, comics have been quite attentive to current topics. One way or another, even if through the most unabashed fantasy, comics’ active participation as public discourse on current events has always been part and parcel of its output. And even though we could create an idea that comics started out closer to such an attitude (say, from Francis Barlow 1682 Popish Plot illustrated ballad, rightly celebrated by David Kunzleto the way 19th century North American newspaper cartoons responded to the social mores of their heyday), then moved away into escapism throughout most of three quarters of the 20th century and then, late in the 1980s, started to move back into realityrelated modes (through autobiographical, biographical, documentary, reportage, historical and essaylike comics), there is always a manner to interrogate comics texts in order to understand it’s contextual ground.  Continue reading “Sabrina. Nick Drnaso (Granta)”

Sadbøi. Berliac (Canicola)

Short disclaimer: some of these thoughts were penned down in mid-2016, when I reviewed Berliac’s Desolation.Exe, then a small zine gathering multiple material, which the author republished later in book format, with my text as a preface.

This a book that conflates a significant number of themes, all of which are considerable in terms of some call “relevance,” almost in a programmatic manner. A comic book that concatenates its elements, tempers them in a hotly fashioned object, and then brandishes it in a weaponized manner.  Continue reading “Sadbøi. Berliac (Canicola)”

Pittsburgh. Frank Santoro (New York Review of Books)

For narrator Frank Santoro, it’s a mind-boggling affair. His parents, now senior citizens, divorced, are working in the same hospital. They cross each other often, but don’t speak to one another. Why is that? Even though there is no mystery waiting to be solved, crime story-style, or a single-event trauma shockingly revealed at the apex of the plot, Pittsburgh is nevertheless a sort of personal meandering psychogeographical walk down the proverbial memory lane in which the author tries to investigate what underlies this standoffnishness.  Continue reading “Pittsburgh. Frank Santoro (New York Review of Books)”

Tremor Dose. Michael Conrad and Noah Bailey (Comixology)

No matter how many steps we have taken towards self-knowledge, or developed the cognitive sciences, or evermore sophisticated manners of understanding the elusive “psyche,” we are not closer today to unravelling the mysteries of dreams as shamans or soothsayers were. Perhaps dreams will always be a step ahead beyond our capability of reducing them to a rational explanation, taunting it and defeating it. Showing us that there will always be something wild and more powerful than the arrogance of thinking that we may reach it with reason and science.

Tremor Dose is about that wild quality of dreams. Its utter indomitability.

Continue reading “Tremor Dose. Michael Conrad and Noah Bailey (Comixology)”

Roi Charbon. Max (Rackham)

Translated from Spanish, this is the French edition of “King Charchoal,” a graphic novellette created by Catalan post-punk comics meister Francesc Capdevilla, known as “Max”, one of the most important names in the Spanish post-democracy scene in the 1980s. His first major famous work was his saga with the funny Peter Pank, and then later the truly Surrealist nightmares he made for Bardín. However, Max always explored other themes and tones, registers and genres, some of which closer to the literary turn of the 1990s, others closer to a freer drawing practice. Capable of navigating the ultra-legible water of the ligne claire, the theatrical flexibility of the rubber hose style, or the high contrast of Indian ink shadows, Max takes on his subject matters with a variety of signatures that become significant in themselves.  Continue reading “Roi Charbon. Max (Rackham)”

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