Eye on Comics

Comics criticism and commentary from Don MacPherson

Archive for the 'Reviews – Fantagraphics' Category

Con Comic

Posted by Don MacPherson on 1st November 2009

The Troublemakers original hardcover graphic novel
Writer/Artist: Gilbert Hernandez
Cover artist: Rick Altergott
Editor: Gary Groth
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Price: $16.95 US

While I’m not as well versed in the works of Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, notably their various Love and Rockets comics over the years, I do occasionally take note of their efforts. I usually prefer the storytelling of Jaime Hernandez over his brother’s, but something about this graphic novel caught my attention (perhaps the title). I’m pleased it did, because in these pages lies a challenging, meticulously crafted story of grifters in the middle of a con. Not surprisingly, Hernandez populates his story with some thoroughly grounded and intriguing figures, but what’s fascinating about the plot is how it criss-crossed over on itself so that not only do the characters remain unaware of who’s conning who but so does the reader. The plot is an intricately woven web of lies and truths, and it’s peppered, of course, with Hernandez’s trademark touch of raw sexuality. Fans of such crime comics as Criminal and 100 Bullets would be well advised to give this graphic novel a chance; they won’t be disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Class Is In Session

Posted by Don MacPherson on 18th January 2009

Love and Rockets Book 24: The Education of Hopey Glass hardcover collection
Writer/Artist/Cover artist: Jaime Hernandez
Editor: Gary Groth
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Price: $19.99 US

I’ve always found approaching any Love and Rockets book such as this one a bit intimidating, as I’ve only a passing familiarity with the property and the characters despite its critical acclaim over the years. Whenever I’ve ventured into a corner of the L&R world, I’ve always found it intriguing and entertaining, but my perception — be it accurate or not — is that there’s no series of master volumes of the classic series. Perhaps there is a series of clearly branded trades for sale out there, but I shop at a comic-book store of good enough quality that it would keep that sort of material in stock. Now, the last page in this book lists all of the 24 volumes of the Love and Rockets collections, so I’m guessing I’m dead wrong about availability of the entire series. Nevertheless, I had the perception, and I wonder if the publisher (or retailers, for that matter) could do more to guide newer readers into this property. The glut of positive reviews of The Education of Hopey Glass in the past year inspired me to venture once again into the realm of Love and Rockets, and I’m pleased I did. I’m well aware that there are a lot of references to past stories that I’m missing, but the strength of the characterization and the down-to-earth scenarios that unfold in Jamie Hernandez’s slightly surreal segment of society really drew me in. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Leechin’ of Super-Pets

Posted by Don MacPherson on 21st November 2008

Petey & Pussy original graphic novel
Writer/Artist/Cover artist: John Kerschbaum
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Price: $19.99 US

Petey & Pussy is weird. Like most comics readers, I learned to know and love the medium through the super-hero genre, so material such as John Kerschbaum’s cartooning is the sort of thing I found alien, confusing and even off-putting in the past. In recent years, though, my curiosity about such storytelling, found more on the periphery of the industry, has grown. Petey & Pussy is often harsh. It’s extreme and arguably non-sensical at times. But you know what? It’s entertaining. And not only that, behind all the cartoon animals, gross-out humor and cursing, there’s some honestly. Kerschbaum explores people at their best and their worst. He explores nature and the undeniability of instinct. Kerschbaum’s use of anthropomorphic animals blurs the line between the traditional cartoons of yesteryear and a modern examination of behavior, both animal and human. Ultimately, his cartooning is pretty funny, once one gets past the more low-brow, base elements that nevertheless seem appropriate for this odd book. Read the rest of this entry »

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