October 25, 2009

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Blood Orange #3

Written by Various Authors, including Jeffrey Brown
Illustrated by Various Artists, including Jeffrey Brown
Fantagraphics

I have to admit that I wasn't really impressed by the third edition of Blood Orange, especially compared to the first two.

The first problem is a decision not to tell you exactly who is doing what by page. I don't see the point to that, other than to annoy the reader.

The second is that the first few pieces, which are apparently by Pakito Bolino, Ben Jones, Fabio Zimbres, and Alex Baladi, are so abstract as to lose my interest very quickly, because none of the art gives me anything visually to hang my hat on. If they had been split up, I might have enjoyed the presentation a bit better, but as it was constructed, I was disappointed.

The first piece I actually liked was by Anders Nilsen, whose work I'd read in Mome. This piece is also similar to the other one I'd read, with simple characters discussing an odd form of philosophy. The artistic change is refreshing, and his acid comments on society are always welcome to me.

Jeffrey Brown makes a repeat appearance, with an excerpt from AEIOU. It's a bit weird to see them out of "context" here, after you read the book. However, it's a good sampling of the material in his larger work, and because he chooses a section, it doesn't feel out of place unless you've read the entire story.

The rest of the stories are not bad, but nothing special. Nicolas Mahler gets another one-pager, Ulf K wonders about the differences between humans and birds, and Scott Teplin draws some intricate abstracts.

None of it, however, is must-read material. Blood Orange 3 is a bit of a disappointment for me, but that's the risks you run with an anthology series. Pick up the first two editions and if you like them, go ahead and move to part three. Otherwise, this one's skippable, unfortunately.