Monday, June 24, 2019

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 6/22/19

I should have listed these two books last week; they were birthday presents that I got at a party last Saturday. (That party was already pretty late, since my birthday was at the beginning of the month. On the other hand, I bought them myself and gave to my wife to wrap, so it's not like I was kept in suspense for a long time.)

But things have been a bit hectic at La Casa Hornswoggler; my younger son (who I used to call Thing 2 here) just graduated from high school and got his Eagle Scout, so it's been a flurry of preparations and rehearsals and class trips and gala luncheons and actual graduation ceremonies interrupted by torrents of rain.

So I'm here today instead, a week later, to mention two books I recently bought myself, which I'm afraid might just cement everyone's impression of me as a child of the '80s who only reads comics. If so...oh well.

Mister X: The Archives reprints the first Vortex comics series from 1984-88, written (at least some of the time) by Dean Motter, and always orchestrated and designed by him. Due to the business practices of Vortex owner Bill Marks, and the nature of the comics field at the time, the actual writing and drawing are by a bewildering array of folks, many of whom became famous for other stuff along the way: Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez, Seth, Ty Templeton, Paul Rivoche, Klaus Schonenfeld. As I remember it, there's a lot of good material that doesn't entirely cohere into one narrative: Mister X was always at least as much about the visual image of Radiant City, and the possible stories of that place, as it was about telling this story that it set out to do. But I haven't read these comics in twenty years or more, and I might not have read all of them in order the first time: the '80s were a chaotic, confusing time for comics, and I was a college student while this series was coming out in fits and starts.

Is This How You See Me? is the newest graphic novel by Jaime Hernandez, for another few weeks at least until Tonta comes out. It collects the major Maggie-and-Hopey story from the end of New Stories and the beginning of the current Love and Rockets floppy series -- the big story he did right after "The Love Bungers." (So, y'know, expectations were high.) I've covered this story in serial form ta the end of my big L&R re-read last year, but I expect this version will be different, in subtle and maybe even obvious ways.

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