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Wednesday, January 09, 2008


10 Things I Love About The New Mome -- The tenth volume of the Fantagraphics comics anthology Mome is in my hands, and to celebrate its tenth volume, here are ten things I loved about it:

10. Dash Shaw's mind-fucking backward/forward robot war tragicomedy "Look Forward, First Son of Terra Two." FANTASTIC.

9. The textures in the Jim Woodring piece; the story (continued from Vol. 9) is up to the usual Woodring standard of psychedelic excellence, but the textures on display in the neighbourhood scenes are astonishing.

8. The final panel in the Woodring story: study it carefully. How long have these kids been weeping, and what are they mourning? A lost world of wonder? Their own ability to function in a universe they no longer understand?

7. Tom Kaczynski's interview, conducted by Gary Groth. Groth is one of my personal heroes, whatever his perceived flaws, and no one can doubt his ability to paint fascinating portraits of the people he interviews, virtually every time out. Kaczynski is no exception -- his life story is interesting stuff, and his inclusion in Mome has improved it measurably.

6. No surprise, then, that his story in this volume is one of the highlights. He takes the Clowes/Tomine ball that he references in the Groth interview, and he runs off in unexpected directions with it.

5. Kaczynski's portrait of The Lizard bursting out of Spider-Man's costume is worth noting all on its own.

4. Ten volumes in, and no price increase.

3. The Sophie Crumb full-page portrait right at the front of the issue. I am finding her strips a little out of place in Mome and I wish we'd see more of her solo series Belly Button Comix, but this is a nice piece of art and a stretch from her usual Mome offerings.

2. John Hankiewicz's "Success Comes to Westmont, IL" is a change of pace for the cartoonist, a little more direct than his usual fare, but also using stylistic change-ups to add depth and nuance to the narrator's bitter complaint.

1. Al Columbia's cover -- there are cat people and dog people, and I am a cat people. The front and back covers are both cat portraits by Al Columbia, and both are extraordinary and chilling in very different ways. I think the thing I love the most is the phantom claw just barely visible on the right side of the image; is Columbia showing us a bit of his process, or suggesting the speed with which cats move, or both? Also of note: This is the first original cover the series has featured, instead of a blown-up image from the interior. I liked that idea, but I love Columbia's cover more.

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Blogger Joe Willy said...

I haven't read this issue but I wanted to register my agreement with a few things you said about the cover, the series, Groth's interviews and Sophie Crumb seeming out of place. Sophie's work would totally fit in Hotwire and might help push sales of that book.

I also wonder if sales aren't picking up from word of mouth since the series began with horrible reviews (from what I recall anyway) and has recently had many rave reviews. Besides, I think the price started off steep and would have a hard time buying it for more than it already is. Frankly, I'm fine with a little less nice paper stock since Mome is a periodical and nice paper can be for the hardcover collections of the artists' long form stories!

10 January, 2008 19:43  
Blogger Alan David Doane said...

Thanks for your comments, Joe. I would like to see Sophie in Hotwire, you may be right that that's a better fit...

I would hate to see the paper stock change, though. A lot of these stories may never be collected in discrete graphic novels of their own, and besides, I'm for the best paper stock possible, suitable to the material, on all occasions...

11 January, 2008 06:54  
Blogger Frank Santoro said...

Dash is the new kid to Love or Hate. PW Beat posted something about his webcomics and people immediately began ripping him apart. It's really weird. Glad to hear you dig his stuff. I think he's got an incredibly sharp eye, particularly for color.

Cool way to review this collection also --instead of trying to wrap it all up with a nice little ribbon.

11 January, 2008 09:39  
Blogger Alan David Doane said...

Thanks a lot, Frank! I agree about Dash's use of colour, too, it's exceptional. Much like your own! :-)

11 January, 2008 09:42  
Blogger Eric Reynolds said...

Thank you, Alan. Your enthusiasm means a lot to me...

14 January, 2008 17:23  
Blogger Alan David Doane said...

You're very welcome, Eric. And thanks to you and Gary and Kim and the gang for all you've done for comics, and continue to do. I'd have likely been long gone from the medium by now if not for the inspiration and sustenance provided by the Fantagraphics catalog.

14 January, 2008 17:26  

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