Archive for the 'Reviews' Category

It Never Happened Again reviewed by Slate!

Sam Alden’s It Never Happened Again received a great review from writer Dan Kois and The Slate Book Review.

Alden’s natural sense of framing and pace, his willingness to use silent panels to tell stories, and his beautiful (yes, beautiful) pencil images combined to open my eyes to a new idea of what a great comic can be. It helps that he’s also an excellent writer—both stories sketch out lonely, lost characters efficiently, and put them each through very different quests for meaning.

Read the whole review here, and order your copy of It Never Happened Again, already. Alright!?

Gabrielle Bell Reviewed on Timesleader

Gabrielle Bell’s Truth Is Fragmentary was reviewed in Timesleader. Here’s a little taste of what they had to say:

Hailed as an alternative cartoonist, Bell is best known for her works The Voyeurs and Lucky, which won the Ignatz Award for Most Outstanding Minicomic in 2003. In her recent work, Bell demonstrates a continued maturity and excellence as one of the best young cartoonists of her time. Using her life and travels as a starting point, Bell, in the most appropriate of ways, draws life through comics.

The rest of the review is here.

Comics for Introverts on Huffington Post

A couple weeks ago Gabrielle Bell and her new book, Truth is Fragmentary were all over Huffington Post. Did you catch it? If you didn’t here’s some of the nice things they said:

How does one reconcile the desire to be alone while simultaneously craving companionship? Throughout her book, Bell is pulled in opposite directions — to connect with others and to retreat.

“People! They are so annoying, yammering away with their opinions and feelings and anecdotes and advice. I sit and wait for them to go away, and even after they do their voices continue to yammer in my head,” she writes. “All the little things they say, they sting and bite and wear you down. I‘d rather be eaten alive by insects.”

While that sounds gloomy, don’t be fooled: Bell’s work is bursting with heart. Her keen eye for detail and empathetic, introspective voice results in comics that are joyful, unexpected and often refreshingly hilarious.

The article also features a very nice interview with Gabrielle, here’s a sample:

Tell me about your diary comics. What is the purpose of recording everything in the diary comics?

I used to always keep a personal comic journal. But doing comics takes so long, I’d end up doing a diary all day long, it was so compulsive, and I’d had to get in so many details, so I started publishing it just to feel like I wasn’t wasting all my time.

I used them to work through things, to try to find meaning in things. Life is so chaotic, so you try to create some system. I have to admit that these diaries that I’ve published are all about my basic coping with being alive.

When I would go on trips, I wanted to have something come out of it. If I went to Oslo for a week, I wanted to have this image of Oslo, this recording of day-to-day life in Oslo. It was a challenge for me to make something funny and interesting.

Read the whole article here and order the new book here.

Truth is Fragmentary Review in The Globe And Mail

Last week, Canada’s The Globe and Mail reviewed Gabrielle Bell’s Truth Is Fragmentary. It’s short but sweet:

At one point in her latest comic-strip memoir, Gabrielle Bell wonders whether she is “one of those people who are afflicted with too much consciousness.” For readers, though, Bell’s affliction – evident in her pensive captions, careful lines, and worried-over shading – is rather more of a blessing. Her comics brim with unpredictable, incisive observation, as she records not just the humming details of daily existence, but the fancies that fill life’s lulls as well.

Read the whole review here.

Truth is Fragmentary Reviewed by Paste Magazine

Paste Magazine reviewed Gabrielle Bell’s Truth is Fragmentary. They have some very nice things to say:

Most of the book’s pages are black-and-white, with an uncomplicated panel structure. This approach is characteristic of the genre, but Bell has a great grasp of body language. In addition, her unique aesthetic never veers into sloppiness or overworks the pages. Mostly, though, her work is strong because of its writing — this includes the way she structures a story from panel to panel. The tone is conversational, self-amused, unstressed and assuredly improvisational, like watching an excellent cook throw a meal together from what’s already on hand in the kitchen.

Read the whole review here.

Truth is Fragmentary on The Comics Journal

Truth is Fragmentary by Gabrielle Bell was reviewed on The Comics Journal! Here’s a bit about the razor thin lines between non-fiction & fantasy that cut across the book:

Bell plays with the line between fiction and autobiography by injecting moments of total fantasy that may well comment on reality better than any actual real moments. These mostly involve encounters with bears and zombie apocalypses, as well as one hilarious segment where she speculates recovering lost memories as revelations to other lives, and fold in psychological truths that might never appear in the work otherwise. The diary ends with an entire section written by a third person, a fictional secretary that Bell has hired to deal with her diary for her. With this, Bell completely crosses over to full fictional character, both herself and her own biographer, bringing so many of her concerns full circle and in a format that transforms her self-deprecation into the insulting perception of someone else, who may or may not be Gabrielle Bell.

Read the rest of the review here.

The Comics Journal Reviews War of Streets and Houses

The reviewers are not yet done with Sophie Yanow’s War of Streets and Houses. A new review just went up on The Comics Journal. Here’s a sample of what reviewer Rob Clough says:

Her rendering choices are a big key as to why the comic succeeds. She has the ability to flip from near-abstraction to a more naturalistic style, depending on the setting. Her figure drawings are exquisite: circles, lines and angles all whirling together and cohering on a panel-to-panel and page-to-page basis. The way she positions her head to indicate a sort of perpetually slumped-shoulder posture is one way she gets at gesture and body language with so much skill; despite the sketchiness of her line, one never feels cheated in terms of visual impact. Indeed, the abstractness of her line combined with the artificial solidity of the zip-a-tone gives the protest scenes a strange quality that would be difficult to capture in a more naturalistic style.

Read the whole review here.

It Never Happened Again on Just Indie Comics

Sam Alden’s It Never Happened Again was reviewed by Italian blog Just Indie Comics. Here’s a taste what they had to say:

If you’ve never looked at Sam Alden’s comics, at first glance you’ll be impressed by the drawings. His pencils show the very nature of the medium and in their purity they give the feeling of looking at the original art. The pages are full of lines, marks, gray and black spots. The line work is neither realistic nor naturalistic. When in Hawaii 1997 the two children are running on the beach, they turn into two abstract figures. The representation of the night sky recalls instead the Impressionists. Alden isn’t seeking the verisimilitude but the emotions of the reader. The emotional and communicative aspect is at the heart of his cartooning. The relationship between artist and audience is incredibly direct and even by merely looking at his panels you’ll have the feeling that they’ve been drawn only for you.

We love the way the author zeroes in on the intimacy at the heart of Sam’s cartooning. Read the rest of the review here. Order Sam’s book here.

It Never Happened Again First Review!

Sam Alden’s It Never Happened Again got it’s first review on Publishers Weekly a while ago! Here’s what they say about one of the two stories, the never before published “Anime”:

The storytelling in “Anime” is a fair bit more complex, and the artwork is more refined, though only slightly. The character study of a Japanophile uncomfortable in her own skin and native country relies more heavily on dialogue to draw a full and sympathetic portrait of its protagonist, but Alden still knows when to let the silence take over. The result is two thematically divergent, but devastatingly human portraits from an emerging cartoonist displaying the sort of storytelling and artistic restraint that often only comes after years of toiling away at the drawing board. Alden is a talent to watch.

Read the whole thing here. Preorder the book here!

Great Books About Comics

Ed vs. Yummy Fur by Brian Evenson is on Publishers Weekly’s list of 8 Great Books About Comics! Here’s what they say about the book:

In this monograph Evenson traces the many versions of Chester Brown’s early work, Yummy Fur […] Over the years, Brown has kept changing the format and even panel arrangement of the work. It’s a fascinating look into one cartoonists restless creative process.

See the whole list here.