§ We thought we would never, ever again link to an SPX report, but Ed Siemienkowicz‘s is the “Birth of a Nation” of SPX reports, with photos of every single joy and despair, from the high of karaoke to the miseries of no cabs coming. This is what it is like.
200810141044§ Noah Berlatsky reviews the comics of David Heatley:

The piece I read was “My Sexual History,” a story in which David lists (virtually) all of his sexual experiences, from pulling on a friend’s penis as a five-year old to rear-entry intercourse with his pregnant wife as an adult. David has, as it happens, had a lot of sex, and to fit it all in to fifteen pages he resorts to an 8 X 6 grid, with 48 tiny panels per page. This is an unfortunate choice for a cartoonist whose main strength is layout and design. Given a little space, David’s capable of striking illustrations, where complex images and colors resolve into a harmonious whole — as, for example, in his striking cover for My Brain is Hanging Upside Down, his new anthology for Pantheon. Forced to shoehorn his work into repetitive miniscule borders, though, David has to rely on his draftsmanship and character design, which means that what you get is standard, ugly, unstylish alterna-art.

§ Rob Clough reviews the new

As one might expect, the choices here are rather eclectic, and are taken from a number of different sources. As befits an artist with such a long history in independent/alternative weeklies, there are strips here from Derf, Kaz, Matt Groening, and Alison Bechdel. A number of stories are reprinted straight from minicomics. Barry also had a way of rooting out interesting stories that weren’t widely seen by many comics fans. Chris Ware’s Thanksgiving covers for the New Yorker is one example, David Axe & Steve Olexa’s WAR FIX excerpt is another, and Kevin Pyle’s BLINDSPOT excerpt is a third.

§ Richard Gehr writes about the Lynda Barry/Matt Groening summit at the New Yorker Festival:

“Sometime,” said Barry, “I think the only art left for us is slowly peeling a label off a beer bottle while somebody tells you about a dream they had.” This statement served three functions: 1) It made us laugh, 2) it undermined any pretensions you might attribute to the speaker, and 3) it happened to be a fairly profound metaphor for the state of consciousness Barry believes all us artist/writer wannabes need to attain. It’s the way our critical facilities relax while hearing a joke (like the one Barry told us about snoring and testicles) or when plunging into the so-called “Cereal State of Mind,” defined by Barry as the trance a kid enters into while reading the list of ingredients on a box of breakfast.


  1. In reference to “My Brain is Hanging Upside Down”, what’s the point of “My Sexual History?” To quote from Noah Berlatsky’s review, “masturbate, hand job, blow job, f**k, repeat. In detailing his sex life, David has captured the essence of pornography.” In another paragraph, “one woman is good at oral sex, another’s juices taste bad…the big black dildo which he occasionally sodomizes himself has more personality than virtually anyone else in the piece.”

    I’m concerned with where the graphic narrative is headed, what are people’s perception outside of the industry? Isn’t porn, porn? Because it’s wrapped around the idea of a comic book, does that make it less so? I’m not sure why there isn’t more outrage over this type of thing. I’m sure it’s probably not “cool” to raise questions about morals what should be acceptable.

    Another quote from Noah Berlatsky’s article, “…pointlessly tangled continuity, repetitive autobio drek, aggressively ugly art, or reflexively irrelevant literariness”, I couldn’t agree more.

  2. No. Porn isn’t porn. Porn is subjective. (Like “art”.) Each person’s sexual vocabulary is slightly different than everyone else’s. That’s my opinion and for me, that’s what it boils down to. Personally, I’m not interested in people relating their, or anybody else’s, sexual adventures to me one way or another. It’s just boring. On the other hand,…why inhibit the dialog? Why shouldn’t someone who wants to talk about,…or ruminate about,…or draw pictures of,…anything, be able to do so. Someone’s bound to be interested. Mind you, I’m not talking about photos or film here. I’m talking “comics”,…or words. That’s a different can of worms and there’s a gigantic difference.