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Monday, June 10, 2002

I Like Toast -- There's something comforting about a couple of pieces of toast, with a little butter (well, low-fat spread) and some strawberry jam. I don't eat it often, but when I do, I enjoy it. English muffins are nice, too, although those english toaster biscuits are for the effin' birds.

So, I just finished reading Stray Toasters, mostly because d. emerson eddy recommended it on his list of his favourite graphic novels. In fact, it came in at #1 (although he sorta cheated with a #0 -- but that's how he is). Now, I was there when Bill Sienkiewicz first debuted at Marvel, doing Moon Knight back-ups in the glossy Hulk magazine, which later led to the monthly Moon Knight comic, which saw Sienkiewicz quickly go from a good Neal Adams imitator to a manic, fascinating artist who in turn inspired Ashley Wood, which led to Ben Templesmith. Which is my way of foreshadowing a forthcoming review of Steve Niles's and Templesmith's 30 Days of Night, which I just got today. Man, that's some digression.

At any rate, I am in awe of the effort and imagination Sienkiewicz puts into his work. I am amazed at the production values of the Stray Toasters hardcover, which by the way set me back $70.00. But -- ah, I have to say it, no other way around it -- it's not the transcendant work I was hoping for. It certainly stretches the boundaries of comics, just a bit, and it certainly requires the reader to open his mind and try to cohere the sometimes-incomprehensible but always beautiful images into something like a narrative. I feel, honestly, a bit let down. I get that there was a serial killer, and a deranged detective, and a whole lot of toasters, and even some toast (mmm, toast!), but the story didn't come together for me as anything other than an interesting experiment in the career of an artist whose best work may very well still be before him.

I'm not regretting -- exactly -- spending $70.00 on Stray Toasters, but think about it; I could have bought a lot of toast with that money.



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