Welcome, lovely listeners, to Issue 33 of Comics Squee. Each podcast our panelists, searching for a distant star/heading off to Iscandar, discuss the comic books, graphic novels, and general sequential art geekery that excites them.
Our superpowers are tangents and tentacles.
Taking the revolving 4th chair this issue is fan guest and friend of the podcast, Dave Tomcik
In this issue of Comics Squee we have: our favorite comics YouTuber; a Harvey and Eisner award winning tale of duality; pulp adventure in a world where superheros are criminals; and adventures in Slumber Land.
April: Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli (starts at 00:02:02.250)
This story centers on Asterios, a paper architect; he likes to draw things that never see the light of day. Very about pure shapes and geometry. He’s a jerk, very rigid, and thinks everyone’s a judgey idiot but him. You won’t like him and that’s okay, you’re not supposed to you. That’s part of his character arc.
This book is told in flashbacks by Asterios’ stillborn/absorbed twin. The colors are all Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow with Purple serving the traditional job of black ink. It’s daring and stunning in execution. The artwork is a mix of styles that come into play as illustrations (literally) of how the characters’ ideals of themselves shape their perception of the world around them.
April’s favorite part is a series of pages that focus on memory. They start with a simple full page of Asterios sitting on the bed, thinking about his wife. The next few pages become more and more populated with random panels that represent the sort of stream of consciousness nature of memory, then taper off and end with Asterios again sitting on the bed.
Dave’s favorite part is in the story of how Asterios met his now ex-Wife. She’s curvy and drawn with realistic hatching, all in magenta. Asterios is all hard lines, geometric shapes, and in cyan (blue). As they meet and talk their styles start to overlap and merge.
Mazzucchelli did everything in Asterios Polyp; the story, the art, the color, the lettering. It’s very much an exploration of the duality of nature and Asterios spends a lot of time talking about Apollonian and Dionysian ideals; cold logic versus warm passion. The book is fabulous and, even though it’s thick, just pulls you in and through.
Chriss: Little Nemo: Return to Slumber Land by Eric Shanower (writer), Gabriel Rodriguez (art), and Nelson Daniel (colors) (starts at 00:13:55.044)
IDW’s current series is a modern continuation of the classic comic created by Winsor McKay in 1905. That original Little Nemo did outrageous and creative things with panels, each story being a single broadsheet size page. And this new Return to Slumber Land comic is a wonderful continuation of that world.
The princess of Slumber Land needs a new playmate and the main character is chosen because he’s literally named after the comic strip character.
Shanower’s scripts are funny and fun. And Rodriquez’s art is as detailed, and planned out, and superb as his Locke & Key work even though the style is different. And Nelson Daniel’s colors are wonderful and perfect. Making Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland whimsical and beautiful. Chriss has laughed out loud reading it each time.
Dave Tomcik: Madame Mirage by Paul Dini (writer & creator) and Kenneth Rocafort (artist) (starts at 00:20:08.133)
This is an action-packed comic in the style of the 1950s pulp with elements of noir and detective fiction. It’s based in a world where human technology has allowed us to create super humans. But with superheroes comes supervillains, so the government outlawed it. And the good guys, being good and dumb, turned themselves in and the bad guys went underground and formed businesses.
The main characters are sisters whose father was one of the super human tech creators. One of the sisters uses their technology to create Madam Mirage after the other sister is murdered by the business-villains who want their new tech. She has a kind of Gem and the Holograms kind of thing going on.
The story doesn’t do anything new or different, but Paul Dini writes great adventure stories and well crafted adventure. And the art is lovely, with lots of rounded women and Adonis-figured men. Nice coloring as well.
John: Weird Girls channel on YouTube (starts at 00:26:39.469)
Oh boy, John had some metaphor malfunction that led us to some odd left turns and extra silliness.
So, Weird Girls is John’s favorite YouTube channel. It’s a collective of women with a range of geeky tastes, from cosplay to D&D to YA lit to comics.
John’s favorite of the group is Dani Danger, who does a weekly comics pull list and commentary each Tuesday, she’s very fun and witty. And then there’s Kelly Nova and her Closet Cosplay. And Zonbi’s quick video game playthroughs with *meow* sounds bleeping out the cursing. Jedimanda does general geeky stuff. Chandler Baker talks about Young Adult fiction.
- 4a) Tangent 1: High hair and missile silos (starts at 00:34:48.873)
Question Time: What’s your favorite surreal comics? (starts at 00:36:05.937)
We posed this question on the Twitters and Book of Face and you chimed in with:
Steve Bryant, creator of ’40s style pulp adventure comic Athena Voltaire, “The AmazingScrew-On Head by Mike Mignola”
Tamahome02000, regular listener who joined us a fan guest on show 25, asked “Frank Bruner’s Doctor Strange, Does that count?. To which I replied, “As long as they’re following Ditko’s blueprints, yeah Doctor Strange is always surreal.”
Doctor Strange, Drumhellar, Robotika, The Goon, Chew
- Dave Tomcik:
Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse
Some of Moebius’ stuff. Original Little Nemo stuff
And we all agreed the MOST surreal comic we’d all read, and least favorite, is the ultra weird Troll King, which is very underground comics and part of Top Shelf’s “Swedish Invasion” line. And something we don’t recommend you check out casually. Some things cannot be unseen and this book is NSFW and very ‘what…did that really just…’.
What We’re Looking Forward to Reading Next (starts at 00:56:21.125)
Creepy Presents: Steve Ditko, which he got for Christmas
The next issue of Little Nemo: Return to Slumber Land
Excited to see how the Boom! purchase of Top Shelf affects the publishing of their back catalog. And the third volume of Alan Moore’s Nemo spinoff from his League of Extraordinary Gentleman series.
- Dave Tomcik:
Second issue of Sandman: Overture. And Saga issue 4.