Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cranky Book Reviews: Mid-Life and Sin Titulo

Well, I've been away from the internets for a short while. I was busy in the real world working at the store and making more art cards. And futilely looking for a second "real" job. Everything requires a driver's license now for some reason, or just the generic "experience" (experienced bowling alley workers, really?). I'll probably end up washing dishes or something. Whatever middle aged guys with no paper education end up doing.

Everything's just kinda creeping up, financially. Rent in my "high crime" neighborhood is still going up. The city signed a ridiculous deal with a new electricity provider which was supposed to save us all money, but instead we now have a provider and a delivery system both raising their rates. I still have the ACA hanging over my head, trying to force me to buy insurance that I can't afford. C'mon America, I'm not asking to be a rich asshole, I just want to pay my bills on time.

I'm beginning to sound like one of these graphic novel auto-biography guys.


(goodreads)

yeah, I'm still reading books. The libertarians haven't shut down the libraries yet, so I might as well get my readin' in while I have free time. And there's a free wi-fi signal in the air tonight, so...

I probably should swear off this whole genre, but every now and then I'm surprised. Joe Ollmann IS whiny and middle-class and hipster-ish, but he's also genuinely making sacrifices for his family. This isn't a book about what a terrible person he is, but about how he ends up doing the right thing despite sometimes being a terrible person.

He uses a strict nine-panel grid to tell two stories. There's the fictional version of himself, going through mid-life changes while starting a second family. Then there's Sherry Smalls, an alt-rock girl who has made a career out of performing children's songs. She's having her own twenty-something crisis and is a bit desperate for sane male company. Their two stories head toward a merging point, and a possible affair. Soap opera stuff, but good and honest. Check out the publisher's preview here.


(goodreads)


I also read this collection of Sin Titulo. Cameron Stewart is kind of a big name now, and I loved his work with Grant Morrison on Batman and Robin, so I was interested seeing what this artist does on his own.

Apparently, this is a print collection of his (weekly?) web comic series. And it reads like a comic strip collection, albeit a stream-of-consciousness, psychological one. Which is fine, but the bits that work the best are the "flashbacks" to the main character's childhood. The surreal sections kind of lead us around from one episode to the next. For me, the whole effect was spoiled by a Matrix-style explanation towards the end, where someone gives a speech about Platonic ideals and belief. I would have preferred just the weirdness for its own sake in this case, rather than a supervillian's explanation. But, it's not bad, and I look forward to his upcoming Batgirl title.

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