You read Part 1 yesterday, so here’s Part 2, as promised.
Astronaut Elementary – Lessons 5-6-7: Dave Roman
Astronaut Elementary is going to be released by First Second (but retitled as Astronaut Academy) which is definitely “YAY!” but since it’s also not going to be out until Summer 2011, it’s also a little bit of a “BOO!” because I want it now. Yes, I know I can read it online, but it’s not the same, OK? I like books.
This is adorably hilarious and all-ages in the best way (as in, everyone from children to adults will enjoy it equally) and Roman lets himself have all kinds of freedom in his storytelling. He has pandas as faculty members, a school secretary named Mrs. Cupcake and the school sport is called Fireball, which is played with huge spiky scythes that look like weapons out of fighting video games.
Probably the centerpiece story here is about the cyborg, Cybert, and his tireless mission to eliminate Hakata Soy. However, he is thwarted by a mirror-visored, bee-obsessed guidance chancellor
Roman’s art has a very animated style and the whole effect is loose and playful. I mean, seriously, I want the book and I want it now. Am I really supposed to wait a year?
Remake (2010 SPX): Lamar Abrams
I’m not sure what the actual title of this is, so I’m just kind of going by what’s on the back. Max Guy is kind of a cross between Astroboy, Mega Man and every immature guy you’ve met. The other characters, including the no-nonsense Sybil, come across as much smarter and more together than our alleged hero. I have not read Remake (I’ve meant to, OK?) but even though I didn’t know what was going on, I enjoyed this. Lamar has a fabulous sense of design and framing of scenes and while this mostly revolves around a couple of jokes about poop, it also feels pretty innocent.
Geraniums and Bacon 1 & 2: Cathy Leamy
I really enjoyed Leamy’s Green Blooded, but that was more informative pamphlet than comic. These autobiographical comics deal with crises of faith, weird dreams and other every-day occurrences. Leamy’s obviously having a lot of fun (I love her “Writer’s Embellishment” bits) and her art is airy and constantly lovely. There’s a wonderful sense that she didn’t deliberate too long over these drawings but they don’t feel rushed. It’s almost as if she was just drawing a lot of this for her own amusement and that feels really free and great. I am glad she shared, however.
Sticky Rice: A Travelogue Through Bangkok, Thailand: Jeremy Nguyen
Styled like a Moleskine notebook, this short travel journal evokes Craig Thompson’s Carnet De Voyage (which Nguyen does namecheck). It’s fairly short and sometimes lacking in details, but I did like Nguyen’s ability to capture the world around him in his sketches. The portions of the journal he styles as comics (with dialogue in word balloons) come across as more interesting than his text descriptions. It’s maybe a little slight, but in some ways, I’m kind of happy Nguyen was probably enjoying his trip instead of focusing on his travel journal.
Missing Pieces: A Terka Story: Andrea Tsurumi
Tsurumi e-mailed me before SPX and told me to check out her work. I looked at her website, liked what I saw, and definitely knew this was something I wanted to pick up. Tsurumi’s drawings are ambitiously detailed and her aesthetic evokes Tim Burton’s morbidity and sometimes European comic artists like Moebius (and that’s not faint praise). The story is about a girl named Terka who lives in a land of monsters and it may feel incomplete in some ways — it’s obviously the beginning of a longer story — but Tsurumi seems to have all the pieces in place. I am going to look forward to where this story goes and what she does next.
Comics from Mars #2: Paul Pope
A collection of short stories, Pope’s work has a crazy sort of freedom. His style is always gorgeous and complex, and there’s a delightful sense that he’s making all of this up as he goes along. He seems to wear his influences — Jack Kirby, Heavy Metal magazine — on his sleeve, but he does it fearlessly. (And this further proves to me that you can basically buy everything from AdHouse Books sight unseen and not be disappointed.)