First "frivolous" purchase… comics

If you’ll remember, the fact that I was saving a decent amount came as a bit of a surprise for me. I decided that I would give myself a break and do some frivolous spending, here’s the first example.

 

I hadn’t bought any comic since, I dunno…. my junior year of high school? Actually, the last comic thing I bought was a real extravagance, a hardbound, slipcased collection from Carl Barks. It’s signed, etc. I think I spent upwards of 2 or three hundred dollars on it at the time. I should look into what that might be worth these days… Actually, I continue to buy newspaper comics reprints. I’ve got a ton of the Peanuts strips and I am eagarly awaiting the Pogo compilations as well. I might break down and get the collected Krazy Kat as well.

Anyway, I work with a few guys that are crazy about comics and I’ve started to read about comics again so I decided to buy some and see if I might get into it again. No, I’m not buying any superhero titles. I just can’t shake the adolescent vibe to those. No, instead I’m diving into the so called alternative comics world. A world where comics aren’t about heros and villains, it’s about telling a story via images and text. My first foray into this is “Sammy the Mouse” by Zak Sally.

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This is a pretty weird story, I’m not sure what I think of it yet. I bought the first three issues. The comics themselves, as objects, are lovely. They are on a really heavy stock and stitched together, they even have a slipcover. This title is part of the “Ignatz” series from Fantagraphics. It’s named after the brick throwing mouse from Krazy kat. There is a real pleasure from handling a nice object and I’m getting the idea that this is becoming Fantagraphics thing. From what I understand, they represent the folks that are resisting digital comics, these are people that love the books and love the physicality of them. I can sympathize, but I gotta like what’s inside, you know?

And right now, I’m not so sure. It is a weird, bitter world that Mr. Sally is making. With three books done, I feel like he is still introducing the story. The graphics are very cartoony, they are done in black and white with brown and blue shading. He manages to convey quite a bit of violence without gore. The cover for the second issue is a good example.

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And he also has a real Bergmanesque way of using montage. Comics have the potential for some really different methods of telling stories, it makes it interesting to look at and read. This page ties together 4 different occurrences all going on at the same time.

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This isn’t a Superman comic! Think I’ll continue with the series, it’s interesting enough, and the characters are starting to come to life. Those of you out there that are into this world, let me know what else I should look into, I’m getting intrigued by this world. I’m interested in seeing what is possible with this type of storytelling.

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