** In the graphic novel Beverly, a gesture's worth 1,000 words (The Chicago Reader)-- The Chicago Reader takes a look at Nick Drnaso's new comic Beverly, out now from Drawn & Quarterly.
Beverly, a graphic novel by Chicago cartoonist and illustrator Nick Drnaso, consists of six overlapping stories of suburban life. The bleak tales are told mainly from teenagers' perspectives. The characters, though shapeless and rarely expressive, are recognizable, and their situations are unenviable. The settings verge on the mundane: an after-school job, a house party, a pizza place, soccer practice, the playground where kids smoke. But in this world, the slightest aberration resounds like a shot.
** Trashed (The Comics Journal)-- Rob Kirby writes about Derf Backderf's book Trashed.
In proud underground comix tradition, Backderf gleefully renders panel after panel of revolting scenes in loving detail, including piles of used disposable diapers, leaky bags of wet dog poop from a kennel, and a dirty cat box–complete with a dead cat lying on top. Disgusting in an entirely different way is the fact that nearly 30 percent of our garbage is packaging and containers: “That’s right. The largest part of our crap is the crap that our crap comes in!” Backderf also reminds us that recycling, however noble, has barely made a dent in our vast landfills, those ginormous oceans of waste that pockmark the planet.
** REVIEW: The Autumnlands #9 (The Green Gocrow)-- Mark Dickson reviews Kurt Busiek and Benjamin Dewey's latest issue of The Autumnlands.
Dewey’s design work continues to blow his past self out of the water; in the space of only a few pages, you’re able to acquire a strong sense of what keeps this community going. The explicit tour that the characters receive is dwarfed by all of the information that’s crammed into the background. A world isn’t capable of firmly connecting with an audience without the ability to say that you believe these secondary, even tertiary, characters have lives outside of what we see on the page. All of this is the sign of a tremendous artist who is able to portray such a large amount of information over such a short space of time.
** Palookaville, Twenty-Two by Seth (World Literature Today)-- My Trouble with Comics boss David Alan Doane contributes a review of Seth's latest volume of Palookaville to World Literature Today.
Nostalgia is Seth’s stock-in-trade. It is evident in every ink line he draws, an aching for an unreachable yesterday so palpable that it creates a similar longing in the reader. Through this signature nostalgic style, he transports us to the fictional town of Dominion, Ontario, home of the Clyde Fans company. (Seth has even created a 3D model of the town for his own reference that is so detailed it not only has gone on the road as a museum exhibit but is the subject of a recent documentary film, Seth’s Dominion.) This depiction of a time and place that is no longer accessible, if it ever existed at all, paradoxically creates a verisimilitude in almost all of Seth’s work, and it finds its ideal expression in Clyde Fans. The charming architecture, clever signage, vintage clothing, and classic cars all tell us something about the world in which the Matchcard family was created, nurtured, and ultimately broken. Simon and Abe inhabit their home, their business, and their lives like genteel squatters, refusing to acknowledge the present and bitterly ruminating on old hurts and ancient defeats that they can’t—or won’t—escape.