Posted by: Brian Hibbs on September 28, 2012
Have some funnybook roulette!
THE INFINITE WAIT GN: This is Julia Werz‘s newest book, from Koyama Press, and it hasn’t (yet?) been solicited through Diamond as of yet, and it doesn’t look like it’s for sale on Amazon, etc., so you’re going to need to find a store who buys direct, or buy it from Julia or Koyama yourselves if you’re not shopping at one of the, let’s guess, 100 or so stores that might have it.
I’m a tremendous fan of Julia’s work, but she’s traditionally done short-form work — her three previous collections (FART PARTY v1 & 2, and DRINKING AT THE MOVIES) are pretty just much repackaging of single page stream-of-consciousness gags. DRINKING has maybe a couple of 5-8 page stories? And this new book goes for the full-on “graphic novel” treatment, as there are two distinct stories here, one a 90 page (!) meditation on all of the jobs Julia has ever held in her life, and the other ostensibly about finding out that she has Lupus.
Julia has some serious comedic chops, and is a very skilled observationist, but there is a pretty large difference between an 8 page story, and a 90 page one, and I’m really kind of hard-pressed to say that she has the skills to pull it off. Well, no, that’s not it exactly… but I think she’d be very well suited to having an editor to sharpen and focus her work against. 90 pages of employment history is a bit much, really! Especially when at least parts of it have been discussed before in FP.
But the problem is kind of dramatically magnified in the title story “The Infinite Wait” about her struggle with Lupus. Part of it is from following up after a novella about shitty jobs while at the same time taking place DURING the first novella — that was kind of exhausting, actually, and I felt like the work would have been significantly better if it had been a single story, of about half the total length. The second problem with “TIW” is that Julia kind of abandons any conversation by, about, or related to Lupus at about the halfway point of the story, and it starts being more about her social relationships. I mean, sure, that helps in struggling with a disease, but as a focused story, it totally crashed out at that point.
Julia’s from the “school” where the telling of the story is more important than the exact craft, but she has one cartooning tic that absolutely drives nuts in this book, almost precisely because of the “serious, full length” nature of this book — when drawing a seated person, or really most times when you can’t see the full body, she almost always draws both segments of the arm as being about the length of the torso. Ape people!
There’s a lot of work and sweat, and raw human honesty (and fart jokes) in this book, and it’s a very dense read, but it suffers from a lack of focus, and any kind of editorial pass (typos, grammar, repeating words, etc.), that I’m finding it hard to give it over a high OK.
HAPPY #1: Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson unbound! Or something. Half of me thinks this is Grant’s mind’s revenge for writing Batman and Superman for so long that saying “fuck” a lot is sort of the metal equivalent of taking a crap, the other part says he’s trying to channel Garth Ennis. There’s a properly Morrisonian twist there to all the Ennis-ing going on that suggests that the next three issues might be very amusing. This issue, however, was merely OK.
TOWER CHRONICLES 1: Hurf. This feels just so created by committee to fill a market need (or something like that) — I pretty much hate the physical look of the character as far too “comic booky” or maybe “video gamey” with those straps and pouches, and the rope around him, and the non-purposeful hood, and all of that. On the other hand, the script by Matt Wagner is at the least competent, and while this is not the Simon Bisely-of-old, there’s multiple awesome monster/gory moments in the book that are cool enough (I especially liked the owl-monster thingy climbing out of that person) to give it a pass. The problem might be that this book is maybe above it’s station, with it’s $8 price tag and battleship-steel-thick paper — this prestige format needs to have prestige ideas; and while these may be prestige creators, this isn’t a prestige idea. The problem is, if you’ve watched nearly any amount of sci-fi/fantasy TV/movie/whatever since the turn of the century, then you’ve pretty much read this. Incredibly competent, with a few nice images/beats/moments, but not original enough OR over-the-top enough to get it any better than OK.
(That’s three very different kinds of OK, eh?)
(Man… I want to unreservedly like something here! Wait, here’s one…)
PROPHET #29: The last few issues of Prophet have been pretty rough for me because I’m not super-excited by Giannis Milonogiannis as an artist, but this issue is from the lush-ass pen of Farel Dalrymple. Now, that’s some nice looking science fiction! Crazy, fun, thoughtful, exciting, this is the kind of stuff that, really, only comics can possibly do right. I thought this issue was downright EXCELLENT.
Right, all I have time for today…. what did YOU think?