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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