Reviews

Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry, by Leanne Shapton
ComixTalk.com, August 2010.
What is the value of a memory?  What is the value of a single moment shared between two people?  Does the worth of an affectionate gesture outweigh the cost of a petty unkindness?  When does the price of love become too high?  These are the central questions of Leanne Shapton’s inventive second book…a book in which each moment in the affair of two lovers comes with a price-tag clearly affixed.

Family Man, by Dylan Meconis
Comixtalk.net, August 2010
When I was flipping through the book, and happened past this panel, I locked eyes with Ariana Nolte, and was startled by her.  This has much to do with the perspective, but also: those eyes.  They stare right out of the page at you in a way that the screen just doesn’t convey.  In that panel, you feel you are looking out through Luther’s eyes, and she is looking straight back at you.  It’s eerie and powerful.

Idiot’s Books, by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr
Comixtalk.net, August 2010
The book that initially won my heart was The Contented, a small spiral-bound booklet, recounting a day in the life of a cloistered monk.  It is a mundane story, as we watch the monk go about his various daily chores: doing the laundry, mending his robes, torturing the prisoners, washing the dishes, and so forth.  The appeal lies predominantly in Behr’s illustration, simple, evocative depictions of the monk in his robe, interacting with similarly simple environments, punctuated with beautiful abstract landscapes that give a sense of the monk’s isolation in his home.  There are, in fact, only six words in the entire story, revealing the monk’s deepest wish.  It is a silly, childish wish—and yet, it leads to a final image that is unexpectedly sad, casting an even greater pall of loneliness over everything that came before.

The Old Made New: The Static Comics of Daniel Merlin Goodbrey
February, 2008
Best known for his impressive formalist experiments, usually featuring Flash interfaces (eventually culminating in his Tarquin Engine), Goodbrey was one of the early pioneers of the new artistic realms that web publishing opened to comics creators. In the past three years, however, Goodbrey has produced only one of his “hypercomics,” the 24-hour comic Never Shoot the Chronopath, which he published this past December. Most of his efforts these days have gone into more traditional seeming fare: two static humor strips and a longform tale of undead cowboys.

B. Shur’s New Rocket
February, 2008
The old guard of boundary-pushing, technologically-empowered, makers of web-native, interactive, experimental comics have largely moved on to other things. Sure, most of them are still involved in making comics, one way or another. But they’ve left the work of exploring just how much farther technology can take us to the next generation.

Happily, B. Shur has stepped up to continue that work, and is busily taking comics in fascinating new directions.

Salamander Dream, by Hope Larson
The Webcomics Examiner, April 2006
Less animal than animal spirit, [Salamander’s] visits to Hailey read as vision quests, helping her through the trials of her burgeoning adulthood…Through these vision quests, she becomes ever more cognizant of the world around her, leading her not toward a world of vague mysticism, but to a world of natural science.

A Review of Nine Planets without Intelligent Life, by Adam Reed
Comixpedia, January 2006
Really, it’s not so surprising that humanity has died out, intent on our own annihilation as we seem to be. What’s surprising is simply how—not in a flash of nuclear war, but rather in a pleasant stupor of fatty foods and affordable sex….Not to worry though: humanity lives on (sort of), perfectly simulated by its former servants, who now have the run of the solar system. Sure, they’re more durable than actual humans, but beyond that, not much has changed.

Review of Superslackers, by Steven Charles Manale
The Webcomics Examiner, March 2005
There’s a nostalgic quality to this humor, reminiscent of old Saturday morning cartoons. Not the full, half-hour episodes, mind you, but the silly 30-second fillers that ran between larger episodes, and invariably ended with all the characters laughing hysterically at jokes that really hadn’t been funny. And yet, Manale’s horrid puns are balanced with the character-driven buildups in just the right way to make the whole thing strangely entertaining.

Review of Nicholas Gurewitch’s The Perry Bible Fellowship
The Webcomics Examiner, March 2005
Gurewitch’s humor is decidedly strange, oftentimes downright morbid. Which isn’t to say that it’s in any way angsty, pessimistic, or gothy. It may be morbid, but it’s cheerfully morbid. In fact, many of Gurewitch’s best moments result from his juxtaposition of the horrific with the wholesome.

Review of Several Daniel Merlin Goodbrey Comics
The Webcomics Examiner, December 2004
While Goodbrey’s world setting for the story is fascinating and his characters are intriguing, it’s his experiments with the narrative mechanics that really made Sixgun the groundbreaking event that it was.