“Comics are not books” or you are a fucking dinosaur.

Sometime back a customer was pointing out to his teenage son something which we believe is not true. The man did not want his son to pick up some comics before we had an instant intervention the man made the mistake of saying really stupid in our store: “Comics are not books”.


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The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey

The concept behind “The Gashlycrumb Tinies or, After the Outing,” by Edward Gorey, is brilliant in its simplicity. It consists of a series of rhymes about small children who suffer various macabre deaths. All the children have name beginning with a different letter of the alphabet, and their grim fates are arranged alphabetically by name. Each fate is also accompanied by one of Gorey’s awesome ink drawings. Sample lines: “E is for Ernest who choked on a peach. F is for Fanny sucked dry by a leech. G is for George smothered under a rug. H is for Hector done in by a thug.”

This book hilarious. Gorey’s children have a proper Victorian look to them which makes their scenarios that much more bizarre. Most of the drawings show the unfortunate children just before their deaths only a few of the pictures actually show explicit death or violence, parental guidance not required.

One could read “Gashlycrumb Tinies” as an outrageous parody of children’s books, it’s a wicked delight.

Gorey is typically described as an illustrator. The Object Lesson have earned serious critical respect as works of surrealist art. His experimentations — creating books that were wordless, books that were literally matchbox-sized, pop-up books, books entirely populated by inanimate objects — complicates matters still further. As Gorey told Richard Dyer of The Boston Globe, “Ideally, if anything [was] any good, it would be indescribable.” Gorey classified his own work as literary nonsense, the genre made most famous by Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear.

In response to being called gothic, he stated, “If you’re doing nonsense it has to be rather awful, because there’d be no point. I’m trying to think if there’s sunny nonsense. Sunny, funny nonsense for children — oh, how boring, boring, boring. As Schubert said, there is no happy music. And that’s true, there really isn’t. And there’s probably no happy nonsense, either.”


The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey

The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey

The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey

KICK-ASS, by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr

If you ever wanted to be a super hero, fantasized of sporting a mask and just heading outside to some kick-ass? Well, this is the book tailored for you – the comic that starts where other super-hero books stop. Kick-Ass is realistic super heroes taken to the next level. Miss out at your own peril! Wolverine: Enemy of the State’s team of Mark Millar (Civil War) and John Romita Jr. (World War Hulk) reunite for probably the best new book of the 21st century. This title collects Kick-Ass numbered 1-8.

And the cinematic adaptation! If you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like if some fool – and an untrained kinda nerdy high school fool, at that – decides to don a superhero costume and prowl the slimy streets in search of mischief, this’ll be an eye-popper-go and watch it!

The central figure is comic-book-reading 16-year-old Dave Lizewski who does not have a tragic a past, no radioactive insects bites, no exposeure to a magic words and he’s not an orphan from an exploded planet. To quote Miesur Lizewski, his origin is he was bored. But under Mark Millar’s insanity, Dave’s story takes on this dark, outrageous, ultra-violent turn while still staying somewhat in the periphery of what’s real.

This trade collects the first eight issues and welcomes you into an urban bloodbath. Don a wet suit and looking for trouble, odds are you’re gonna end up bumping against some seriously hard MOTH%$FUC*&RS. And when your only super powers are perseverance and some talent for soaking up punishment, you’ll most likely end up hurtin real bad. Dave gets severely pounded his first time going up against some thugs, and then he gets bowled over asss over heel by a hurtling car.

Months of recovery from his injuries, and one would think Dave’s learned his lesson. But then Dave puts on the costume again and resumes his night patrols. And then, while bracing some muggers, Dave becomes an overnight online sensation, the first real-life superhero. The Internet even gives him his superhero code name. And soon other costumed freaks are following in his footsteps, including a badasss ten-year-old girl expertly wielding swords. Go throw your hands in the air for the lethal and potty-mouthed Hit-Girl. And, okay, with Hit-Girl, Millar does wander past what’s believable. But she’s such a cool character that we have to, have to give her a pass.

Despite the Rob Liefeld intro, this trade is a pure awesomeness, but it’s horribly suited for children, nuns, and perhaps Armenians. Profanity and nudity are a healthy presence. Let me say that KICK-ASS is bloody and brutal and subversive and simply in your damn f—– face, and Millar shows you why no one’s actually gotten away with putting on a costume and stomping on amoral lowlifes in real life. Artist John Romita, Jr. comes in with some of his best stuff and there’s even a bit of Frank Miller vibe in his art. Saying that this series is violent is to understate matters, kinda like suggesting that Big Daddy exhibits questionable parenting skills. One may go as far as saying Mark Millar is insane, and I’m sticking to that. But the guy is also a master of his craft, and so we eat up his dish of bloody visceral bombast, and I also relish how Dave and, later, Red Mist go about on their new careers (Meanwhile, Big Daddy & Hit-Girl’s relationship is really too dysfunctional to be relatable). So is this an unflinching, credible look at costumed vigilantes in the real world? Probably more so than not. The dialogue, by the way, rings true, as does Dave Lizewski. And the story is funny as well. Dave Lizewski is a compelling character, and the kid is seriously disturbed. Still doesn’t keep me from saying that his alter ego absolutely friggin’ rules!

KICK-ASS, by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr

KICK-ASS, by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr

Moonward George Mathen (AKA Appupen – Old man Grandfather)

A graphic novel filled with characters who are crippled with greed, lonliness and hope live in a world called Halahala. The book starts at the beginning of Halahala and moves forward.

The artwork in Moonward is entirely in black and white. It is well chosen for Halahala — technologically advanced concrete jungle. Every creature is a machine communicating in the language of language money. There are cash-fed obese men who crave more, the common man is a fly on the wall, a crazed farmer becomes an evil scientist, animals become machines and crops become mutant. (GM brinjals anyone?)

George Mathen - Moonward

Moonward George -  Mathen