What I read this past week and how it made me feel
Sweet Tooth #12 - The cover is probably the best part of this issue. It's a striking image that exudes the same kind of originality and effort that's become a trademark of the series. It'll make a great cover for the third trade paperback.
The problem with this issue is that it's too focused on new readers. I realize that every new issue of a series is someone's first issue and if that first issue is too confusing then there's no reason for that person to continue reading. So yes, it's important to help those new readers. The easiest solution is to summarize the story's plot by putting a succinct text piece on the first page and then continue with the story. However in #12 Jeff Lemire uses the entire issue. This whole issue is essentially one of those "Last Time on..." pieces they play at the beginning of TV shows.
The structure of this issue is worth mentioning. This issue opens with Dr. Singh recording the events that lead up to his current situation. His narration is the only form of dialogue in this issue and his words are positioned in the margin of the page. As a result Jeff Lemire is allowed complete artistic freedom due to the lack of word balloons on any of the pages. If I haven't said so before Lemire's artwork is the main reason this book is so engrossing. Lemire's rough, expressionistic penciling helps give the visuals an emotional feel while also separating itself from numerous other post-apocalyptic comics that have come and gone.
Though this issue doesn't further the story's plot (by much, you'll have to read the book to see what I mean), Lemire's consistent artwork more than makes up for it.
Wow, is that seriously all I read this past week? Okay I guess I'm going to have post some random stuff that didn't actually come out this past week.
Lose #1 - I first heard about Michael Deforge on Sean T. Collins' blog. I didn't bother to read the review as all it took was a glance at the cover to know this was the comic for me. Having just recently finished this first issue I can say that this is the work of a unique voice in Canadian comics and you'd be wise to get your own copy.
Lose starts of innocently enough with two humor strips, one called "Dogs in College" about...dogs in college followed by a strip about Deforge hanging out with Green Lantern. The strip that follows is what makes Lose such an interesting experience. It features Michael Deforge contemplating suicide when suddenly a guardian angel named Nesbit attempts to save him except Nesbit quicky realizes he's got the wrong guy and splits. This strip's beginning has that kind of darkly humorous, cynical feel that reminds me of early Dan Clowes. But Deforge doesn't stop with cheap laughs and keeps going with the story and it's what happens that makes this such a weird story.
Because of Nesbit's fuck up he gets cast down into cartoon hell where Deforge draws some of the most darkly imaginative images ever committed to paper and ink. One of my favorite moments sees Nesbit going to a bar that exists on top of a giant replica of the head of Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy. There he's given a crash course on his new life by Bullwinkle. During his speech various images are shown from the original Bullwinkle and Rocky show. I should have felt the warmth of nostalgia during this sequence but given the context I only felt the chill of dread.
from Lose #1
Orc Stain #1-4 - I picked this series up because Yan from Irrelevant Comics was such a big fan. I was maybe halfway through the first issue when I decided that this is one of the best comics coming out and everyone should be reading it. James Stokoe has created an imaginative landscape that proves that fantasy as a genre doesn't have to be such a bad thing.
One of the reasons that Orc Stain works so well is that there's not one element that James Stokoe isn't in charge of. He writes, letters, inks, pencils, and colors Orc Stain which allows for the book to be a singular vision. As a result the setting of Orc Stain is engrossing in ways very few comics can be.
Orc Stain is clearly a labor of love as Stokoe approaches each of these elements with a sense of originality and dedication. On the penciling front Stokoe draws bizarre architecture, even stranger technology (like a bear with a safe in its stomach) and stunning action sequences. Orc Stain's action sequences have the frenetic pacing and genuine feeling of motion that I thought could only be contained in manga.
The other thing that stands out about Orc Stain is Stokoe's use of color. Everything is covered in these rich color that make it look like he mixed exotic fruit into the comic's ink. Even better is that everything looks natural. I don't know what Stokoe's process is but he's able to get these great shades without having that obvious computerized look to his coloring.