By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
In comic and cinematic retellings of classic literature, the new work can often compete with and even replace original memories of those books. This may sound like an odd way to begin a favorable review, but it’s a fair caveat, and one that Peter Kuper may have confronted as he conjured the imagery for his adaptation. Kuper’s drawings inject Kafka’s story with a quicker pace and a bit more humor, but all the while preserving the pathos and surrealism of Gregor Samsa’s metaphoric fate. —B.S.
Haven graced the pages of the Weekly’s comic issue a year ago with his story “The Glacier,” which appeared, expanded, in Tales to Demolish 1. He’s back with a story about vehicular manslaughter that will definitely appeal to comic insiders. —B.S.
THE FIXER | By Joe Sacco | Drawn & Quarterly Publications | 106 pages, hardcover | $25
Few newscasts will give you a clearer or more indelible picture of recent global conflict than one of Joe Sacco’s books. Often told in a self-effacing first person, they are not pure journalism — though journalists rarely get as close to their subjects and the truth as Sacco does. The Fixer is no different. As Sacco explains, fixers are locals who are paid by foreign journalists to translate and provide information. They are a necessary and almost never-mentioned component of wartime journalism. Through Sacco’s eyes we meet his fixer, Neven, and through Neven’s eyes we get a subjective but detailed picture of the fighting in Bosnia. This book is a gripping education and leaves you hoping that Sacco will soon buy a ticket to Iraq. See Kristine McKenna’s interview with Joe Sacco in this issue, page 12. —B.S.
Buddha, Volumes 1 & 2
By Osamu Tezuka | Vertical
400 pages each, hardcover | $25
These volumes, first published in Japan in the late ’80s, are finally making it to the U.S. thanks to Vertical. Infused with humor and history, the epic of Siddhartha is perhaps Osamu Tezuka’s crowning achievement and illustrates why, without irony, Tezuka is referred to as “The King of Japanese Comics.” His penwork is remarkable — at times resembling master etchings. Even more remarkable considering the entire story spans over 3,000 pages. Vertical is publishing all eight volumes of this amazing work. —B.S.
SOUTHPAW | By Scott Morse
AdHouse Books | 126 pages, softcover | $10
This is a beautiful little book from comic artist and animator Scott Morse. The story follows a robot-fighting tiger on a path of manipulation, betrayal, friendship and revenge. The art is frenetic and simple, akin to stories by James Kochalka. It’ll take you 10 minutes to read (the first time). You got 10 minutes, don’tcha? —B.S.
INSIDE VINEYLAND | By Lauren Weinstein | Distributed by Alternative Comics | 76 pages, softcover | $6
Is Lauren Weinstein the funniest voice in alternative comics? No, really — we’re asking. Her self-published collection is honest to the point of masochism and is probably the most humorous comic we’ve seen since Michael Kupperman’s Snake ’n’ Bacon’s Cartoon Cabaret. —B.S.
KRAMERS ERGOT 4 | Edited by Sammy Harkham | Avodah Books
300 pages, softcover | $25
We reviewed this book earlier in the year: http://www.laweekly.com/bestofla/03/. Suffice it to say, this is one of the best alternative comic collections in print and the most quality comics you will ever see for 25 bucks. —B.S.
NIGHTMARE ALLEY | By Spain, (adapted from William L. Gresham)
Fantagraphics Books | 136 pages, softcover | $15
Gresham’s tale of a sideshow mentalist’s lust for riches and dames is the perfect vehicle for underground comic legend Spain. The book’s characters are loaded with the psychological depth you’d expect from 1930s noir. Gresham’s prose, though at times clumsy, is given new life in Spain’s fast-moving and titillating adaptation.
Meat Cake Compilation
By Dame Darcy | Fantagraphics Books | 150 pages, hardcover | $23
This attractive book is a collection of Dame Darcy’s Meat Cake issues 1–7. The artwork is deceptively naive, and at times reminiscent, in subject and mood, of Edward Gorey and Richard Sala. But even in their most disturbing and murderous states, Dame Darcy’s characters possess elegance and frailty; her stories, eros and humor.