Review: The darker beauty of Cathy G. Johnson’s ‘Gorgeous’

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This short, spare, poetic, emotionally brutal piece from Cathy G. Johnson and Koyama Press captures the intersection of three lives, and the unlikely self realization that two of them enact on one. The story begins with two punks at a music show exhibiting destructive manners that disrupts the shows and gives them an opportunity for […]

Review: Barbara Yelin’s ‘Irmina’ shows how history destroys us in little ways

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Quiet and brooding, while still warm and with a great delicacy, Barbara Yelin’s Irmina takes the author’s own discovery of her grandmother’s World War II era diaries and letters, and applies the resulting biography to higher philosophical heights that really concern the way any of us encounter the world. Irmina is a young German girl […]

Review: Japanese artist Rokudenashiko charts the real obscenity in her memoir

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Just yesterday it was reported that a Japanese court had found artist Rokudenashiko’s vagina figurines to be considered art and not obscenity, but less stressed in the headlines was that the court also found her guilty of “distributing digital data of indecent material” and hit her with a fine. It’s that last case that is […]

Review: Brecht Evens and the complications of growing up

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Unfolding like a children’s book gone horribly wrong, Brecht Evens’ Panther begins with the death of Christine’s cat and the appearance what might be an imaginary friend designed to take its place and ease the sadness of the loss. Panther springs out of Christine’s bottom drawer and into her life with a sly charm that […]

Review: Ludovic Debeurme’s Renee looks right into the abyss

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In 2006’s Lucille, French cartoonist Ludovic Debeurme gave a surreal and somber tone to a doomed love story, following the individual wrecked lives of anorexic Lucille and the emotionally troubled Arthur, and how they come together as a means of escape. Renee, his 2010 follow-up to that work, is a less of a linear book […]

Review: Silent parable The Ark is science fiction as sacred text

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This silent, black and white work from French artist Stephane Levallois, and the publisher Humanoids, best known for his storyboard work on films like Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows and others, is like reading a cryptic, visual sacred text revealing a lost history that can only be understood on a allegorical level. Divided into […]

Review: mini kuš! are diverse, challenging, exciting

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An off-shoot from the Latvian anthology š!, mini kuš! is a series of short single works, released in blocks of four as standalones. As always, this latest batch is a mix of bizarre and somber, outrageous and poetic that worth embracing, even if you find some of the ultimate meanings of the pieces to be distant from […]

Review: Michael DeForge’s ‘Big Kids’ tells us something about ourselves

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Millennials are often portrayed by the older generation – my own, to be clear – as a generation of victims. Like most cross-generational proclamations, this is a self-righteous pile of bull built from Gen Xers’ and Boomers’ stumbling reading of Millennial discourse, as well as some resentment for our own repression and the ability of […]

Review: New York Review of Books’ new comics line is off to an amazing start

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It was a fantastic day for artful, intelligent comics when the New York Review of Books added comics to its publishing line. The focus so far is on making obscure graphic novels available again, and the March 22 release of Mark Beyer’s riotous Agony sets an interesting tone for the line. Beyer’s work, which is about the size […]

Review: Roman Muradov’s ‘The End Of A Fence’ is cryptic, but beautiful

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Immensely talented Russian illustrator Roman Muradov has quickly established himself as one of the most complex cartoonists around, both visually and narratively. In Muradov’s hands, the simplest fable can become a massively abstracted exercise that is usually part giddy, part confounding. If you’ve been alienated from his previous work because of this, The End Of […]