Friday, 26 June 2009

Mega Book Review Part One! Comics!

I was thinking recently how I don't read many comics so thought I'd get together all the books I've read in the past 1-2 months to see what I've read....and woah! It turns out I do read quite a lot of comics... and other books. Check this mega pile (and this is just some of them, lots already went back to the library!)-
Which made me think- hey I read a lot I should put some reviews up! I'll only put a short bit about each book but it might give people some ideas if they are looking for something new to read. So I'm going to blog about them in four blog post categories- comics, non fiction/fiction, fashion and stupid. Starting with comics (this is a comic related blog after all) It may be boring and long to read perhaps but I was planning to put more art reviews and such like on here too so that's what I'm going to do. Some people might be interested I guess...and if not um...sorry.


Tales of Woodsman Pete with full particulars By Lille Carre
This book is so excellent that I think I am going to read it again right now. It makes Woodsman Pete and his bunch of friends (Philippe, Paul Bunyan & his Ox, Babe) seem real. So much so that I can still imagine Pete in his wooden cabin talking to his bear rug right now as I type.

Nicolas by Pascal GirardThis is a deceivingly cute book. Autobiographical fragments of Girard's life focusing on the death of his younger brother when he was a child. I was shocked by how powerful this book was, I think somehow the simplistic line drawing style magnified the emotions in the story. I love this book.

Funny Misshapen Body by Jeffrey Brown
This is the latest autobiograpical graphic novel by Jeffrey Brown but he has moved on from just focusing on relationships to more serious issues including his diognosis with Crohn's Disease and his development of his artwork. I think every new book he brings out takes us a bit deeper into his life and I think I personally enjoyed this book because it answered a lot of my questions of how JB got into comics and his journey through the art world from working in a wooden shoe factory to painting at art college to the world of comics. Another classic but I think if you have never read any JB before then this isn't a great one to start with just because it's more interesting given the background of his other books first.

Dreamtoons by Jesse ReklawThis book is awesome. It is a collection of four panel comic strips of dreams that people from all over the world send to Jesse Reklaw. I'm not sure if he still does this weekly comic but I hope so because he has a talent of making this the sort of book it is hard to put down. I think a lot of people think "uh oh" when someone starts a story with "Oh I had a CRAZY dream last night..." and then begins a four hour rendition in which you feel like you want to punch them in the face and the only thing preventing you from doing so is the fear that you might knock them out and then they'll wake up only to have had a few more dreams that they want to bore you to death with. This book takes just the interesting/funny/hilarious/meaningful/random parts of these dreams and actually makes them into something you will be amazed and enthralled by. I've had this copy for years now and I can't remember where it was from but I'm sure main book shops should be able to order it still or it should be on amazon. Go find it because it is great!

Daddy's Little Girl by Debbie DrechslerI discovered this book because I saw an extract of the original artwork at the touring Cult Comics Exhibition a couple of years ago. This is another powerful comic that deals with a serious subject- this time the author's abuse as a child by her father. It is an impressively drawn depiction of her experiences and although upsetting and chilling to read it is also full of hope.

Ethel and Ernest by Raymond BriggsI was amazed by this book when I read it recently. I'd always associated Raymond Briggs with the beautiful drawings of the Snowman and another of his books "When the Wind Blows" about a nuclear attack. However this is a much more personal story of his parent's lives. There is something that he captures that also made it feel like it related to my family and I couldn't stop thinking about this story ages after I'd read it- more so than any of the other real life subject comic books that I've read.

Super F*ckers Issues 271 and 273Exciting hero comics by the same guy who brings us his autobiographocal online comic American Elf. I think these are really great- I actually like them more than American Elf (gasp!) They bring us a whole host of characters including Superdan, Grotessa, Jack Krak, Richard, Radical Randy and more. Funny, colourful and quite a lot of swearing.

Fuff/Guff issues 1-7 and Jeff's Austin Diary by Jeffrey LewisThis is the ongoing collection of Jeffrey Lewis's self published comics which are all great but mostly I like his ongoing European Travel Diary which is continued throughout the comics and the separate Austin travel Diary zine. Every time I read them it makes me want to go on an adventure and he has a way of telling the story as if you are there with him on his journey. I'd really like it if the travel diaries were collected in one volume because it would make a great book to take with you if you were off on your travels. If you are into autobiographical comics and also have an interest in travel as well as enjoying a sprinkle of funny characters and other intelligently told stories these are a great read. Also if you like his music but haven't read the comics then you are stupid and should go and buy them now! You can buy them from his gigs and selected places online (I think I got number 7 from the Tatty Devine online shop for example)

DIY The Rise of Lo-Fi Culture by Amy SpencerThis book was really interesting and I geekily highlighted it as I read it (yeah....) I originally bought it to read it as part of my research for Depressed Cat's Guide to Alternative Press and it made me want to desperately find some of the famous zines mentioned in it. It is a great book for anyone starting in making zines or DIY music, people who already make them or if you just have an interest in lo-fi culture. It contains loads of advice, reviews of previous zines with an in-depth history and loads of recommendations of further reading and festivals etc. It's pretty good.


Phew, sorry that was a long blog. More reviews this week! (oh yeah and my site is STILL down ***cries***)


Jim Medway said...

phew - keep it up!

Gumble Humps..... said...

Hey!! So I love your comics, picked up Sushi Karoake from Gosh a few weeks ago. (The 3D glasses made it a must buy for me).
I'm finally motivating myself to put out my own mini-comic at last. Hopefully be finished this week. Just wanted to let you know your comics motivated me to start my own. keep up the good work!! :)

peekaboo said...

you sure read a lot miss lizz - am impressed by the number of books in the blog post above!
ordered the DIY book yesterday btw - sounds great.

Lizz said...

Thanks everyone! :o)

Alex Ingram said...

Ethel & Ernest was one of those books that really surprised me too. I'd seen it shelved at work for ages before I finally decided to give in and buy it, and it's such a clear and fascinating work as he examines his parents lives and paints such colour into rather ordinary lives. I really must get around to reading Gentlemen Jim some point soon.

I really like the way you've done this post BTW, very stylish. Oh, and I'm still regretting giving the recent Slow Wave collection The Night Of Your Life to my sister because I fear it was just too damn good to give away!

Lizz said...

Thanks Alex, yes Ethel and Ernest surprised me too. It is an amazing book.

I'l putting a new batch of book reviews up (hopefully today!)

Thanks again for the comments- these book review blog posts take ages, it's nice to know people find them interesting!

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