Monday, April 04, 2022

Reviewing the Mail: Week of April 2, 2022

Hey, remember how I said a couple weeks ago that I ordered some books, and then ordered those books to read first? No? Well, I guess I don't expect you to care that deeply. But this week that somewhat-delayed package arrived, so I've got some stuff I ordered in early March.

(Funny story: I decided to check tracking on March 26th, and noticed that it had a bunch of activity March 8-10, right after the order, but the last thing showing was that it had arrived in a medium-sized city near me. Suddenly, after checking it, more tracking details started appearing that very day, and it showed up on my doorstep  two days later. Makes me wonder if the shippers get notified of tracking inquiries and prioritize those packages.)

Bad Machinery, Vol. 10: The Case of the Severed Alliance by John Allison - This is the latest and last of the books collecting Allison's webcomic of the same name, which ran from from 2009 to a date I can't find anymore. (They're all on GoComics now, rather than Allison's original site, so my guess is 2016ish.) Read it on GoComics, check out my post on the first book, go crazy and dig into the Scarygoround or Bobbins archives if you want a deeper Allison cut, but, if you like comics with humor or Britishness in them at all, read Allison.)

Rain Like Hammers by Brandon Graham - This is a standalone SFnal graphic novel by Graham, who does oddball mostly SF-themed comics with lots of quirky puns and attractively idiosyncratic art. (I get the sense he has a very specific following, which I'm mostly not part of, and may have an equally large number of detractors, but I've never had the energy to investigate. He does interesting comics that I read every few years; that's good enough for me.) See my post on Multiple Warheads, which I think is his best-known book.

Trese, Vol. 3: Mass Murders by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldismo - As you might be able to guess, this is the third in the series of urban fantasy comics about a woman who's called in by the Manila (and maybe other Philippine jurisdictions, but I haven't seen that yet) police when there are quirky, weird, supernatural cases. Both solid urban fantasy and a strong extension of the genre by using really specific, creepy Filippino folklore, with taut stories by Tan and world-class art from Baldismo. See my post on the first book, as published in the US last year.

Blubber by Gilbert Hernandez - Gilbert is the crazy Hernandez brother, in the best possible way. Even his relatively straightforward comics do weird things with presentation and matter, like having "censorship" blocks on his panels or quirkily recursive plots that cover the same idea over and over again. This, as I understand it, is very much not straightforward: this is all the Beto sex & death & squicky fluids that don't fit anywhere else, shoved into one series of semi-random, utterly NSFW, probably occasionally horrifying, stories.

Enigma by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo - A "definitive edition" of the mid-90s Vertigo series, which was...I don't think it was a deconstruction of superhero tropes, since we'd had a dozen of those already at that point. But something in that vague storyspace: taking the stuff of childhood wish-fulfillment and trying to do a story for adults with them. I'm pretty sure I read it at the time, since I was a big Milligan fan before he went all Big Two, but I have absolutely no memory of it.

The Golden Age, Book 2 by Roxanne Moreil and Cyril Pedrosa - Second half of the medievalesque fantasy story, in a fabulistic kingdom that may be about to turn modern - possibly in a good way, possibly in a horrible way. I read the first one just a couple of months ago, and was very impressed (as I always have been by Pedrosa, to be honest). 

The True Story of the Unknown Soldier by Tardi - This, I gather, is more early Tardi, following up on the American publication of his first bande dessinee, Farewell, Brindavoine, last year. (Link goes to my post on it, here.) It seems to be one album in the original French, collecting the title story and "The National Razor." I'm expecting more mid-70s nuttiness.

Looking at the whole list, it's mostly pretty weird, even for the respective creators. That wasn't my intent, but it seems to match what I'm interested in, so take it as an unconscious choice.

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