My local public library has an excellent graphic novel section, but there’s an awful lot of terrible stuff there as well. I thought I’d try some brief reviews, because a lot of people living in Wellington who are interested in comics and graphic novels may not realise this resource exists. So all the books mentioned are available for loan -which is good when you consider that a US$17 (NZ$26) graphic novel can cost NZ$50 (US$33) by the time it gets here.
Clyde Fans Book 1 by Seth
Drawn & Quarterly 2004
Seth fans know what to expect –Clyde Fans is a beautifully designed book leaden with quiet desperation. The first chapter features the retired son of the founder of a defunct fan company as he potters around the old premises, having breakfast, taking a bath, moving from room to room of the company and pointlessly rearranging old stock while relating the entire history of the company and telling old salesman jokes in a monologue that would make an excellent one-act play. He also tells of his agoraphobic older brother Simon and his withdrawal from public life. The second chapter skips back forty years to 1957, when Simon disastrously attempts a sales tour of a small town and fails every challenge. Reprinted from Palookaville, the stories are technically superb, but personally Seth has always left me cold. The duotone illustrations are more emotionally involved than the sterile precision of Chris Ware, but the emotions are still all so sad. Brief one-panel moments of joy exist only to be crushed. It’s taken seven years to collect this first book, so don’t expect the second any time soon.
It’s funny -Brunswick hasn’t appeared in his own strip now since September.
Any similarity between exterior views of Alex and Finn’s houses is entirely coincidence.
“Meh” was the favourite expression of a journalist friend of mine. It’s nearly as annoying as “Feh”, but more modern than “Bah”.
Enderby clutching himself is meant to look like a Vaughn Bode pose, but I was too ill to draw it properly.
Enderby first appeared in 1999 in a strip called Ask Aunty Fitz! which ran beneath Brunswick and was printed separately in many student newspapers. It was an agony aunt column where real students would write in with their problems and be relentlessly mocked by Fitz. Enderby was a long-suffering researcher who was carrying on a secret affair with Fitz while publicly bearing her scorn. Not too autobiographical, then.
I like things that go ‘Bdjjung!’.
Fitz! It’s her 10th birthday this year, so I’ll probably make some nice wallpapers and stuff like that. She’s been a televangelist before, but that was for the Church Of Ass Divinity.
Aww… he so cute. The ‘Zap!’ noise is pink because we now cross to…
Hooray for Mapplethorpe! He first appeared in 1994 in a series of graphics appearing on the letters page of Salient. He was named after the photographer, of course, who wasn’t very famous in New Zealand until a controversial touring exhibition in 1995. Then everyone knew who I was talking about.
The morning after, probably only five hours after the story began a month earlier. The bowl looks like one of those left half-full (for the optimists) after a party. The plant in the background belongs to the popular Wellington stage actress Danielle Mason. If any other celebrities would like their plants to appear in the background of this strip, please contact me.
I thought I got the big dots on the right from sci-fi illustrator Virgil
Finlay, but now I think it might be from Moebius.