Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Let’s Talk About Genre

The shelf-space between cops & robbers and dungeons & dragons and political refugees & depressed hipsters in comic shops’ supply and fans’ affections is getting more and more narrow, and two of my faves from the last few weeks staple the art and genre sides together closer than most through overlapping creators and witty, observant concerns.

The Guild is definitely the funniest, and perhaps the wisest comic I’ve read yet this year (or, for those who know the project from having followed it as a popular web series, TGIDTF,APTWCIRYTY). Felicia Day’s script avoids cliché and taps conversational genius by focusing on the human comedy of running rather than the handy melodrama of “escape,” in the story of an incurable nerdgirl who finds that hell is other people you have to actually deal with and heaven can be a multiple-player computer game with no one you have to meet. The dual universes of post-slacker squalor and painted-paperback-cover dreamworld are handled with typical vision by pood’s own Jim Rugg, making me all the happier I can now get this thing to load on paper. A “comment” on its culture and a “critique” of its media maybe, but from a hilarious and humane perspective where there is no outside.

One of my useless rules for existence is that, for some reason, the funky satellite narratives of Marvel’s event series are often full fun to read and the pro-forma main miniseries are totally missable, while at DC your branded, six-issue Final Crises and First Waves are all that’s worth reading and the intrusions into 15 other books are dependably unbearable. Still, like Charlie Brown and his football or Democratic voters, I resolved to give the superb, neo-noir First Wave’s spinoff titles one chance each. I never knew why DC is so anxious to keep the Doc Savage franchise when they have the real Tom Strong :-), and though Doc is handled well in the central First Wave mini his own book was a snoozy action-procedural. I girded for the same from The Spirit, a franchise in freefall since Darwyn Cooke’s historic run ended, but this one does indie patron saint Will Eisner proud. Writer Mark Schultz and artist Moritat’s Central City is like a Valhalla for mid-20th century toughguys, an atmospheric Bermuda Triangle of modern cars and creaky el trains, compromised cops, steely gangstas and PIs, street urchins and hardbitten civic reformers. The theme of social mistakes made eternally and sense of an urban purgatory strangely comforting in its texture and character are pure Eisner in their attitude, and diverge from him significantly in style the way he would’ve encouraged; the original standard-bearer of hit but not-mainstream comics is back in letter and spirit.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Moon Prince page 5

In which a small disclosure precipitates a fit of coughing. Full page is here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What Not to Miss

For now, sadly, circumstances demand that the comic fan not live by pood alone; hence, this occasional accounting of what other truth is out there…

Madness and creativity are each in some measure essential to art, but are notoriously hard to capture with accuracy and sensitivity. Demo Volume 2 is one of the most creative and understanding artistic reflections on madness I’ve seen in any medium (regardless and because of the “supernatural” trappings it’s known for). Mental illness is a disease of the imagination, so imaginativeness in its portrayal and treatment is never a bad idea (and I speak from extensive personal familiarity); writer Brian Wood sketches vignettes of great emotional insight with no exoticism or exploitation -- a woman preoccupied with a falling dream who might be precognitive or perhaps just trapped in a self-fulfilling fugue of perceived helplessness; an obsessive-compulsive who gets through the day with the external captioning of a million affirmative post-it notes prepositioned everywhere -- which re-establish him as the best short story writer and psychological portraitist outside of prose. Artist Becky Cloonan is doing the most astounding work of her career, translating her style to the tone of every setting and situation (feral, bony body-language and intricate dinge for the chilly brownstone Northeast; pop-art simplicity and cheer for the sunny, smoothed-out Pacific coast), and I can’t remember when I’ve seen an indie cartoonist make more fruitful use of Simon & Kirby-ish dynamics of overspilling panel-composition and impactful panoramas, or a mainstream cartoonist key that technique to the service of the story more meaningfully. This book is my imaginary best friend.

The protagonist of Daytripper dies every issue. I should say “the subject” since there are no heroes here, and this is no conventional-comic resurrection cliché. It’s an emotional blockbuster not about the vast scope of the cosmos but the full texture of life. Every moment is a turning point, and Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s intimate epic follows an ordinary man for one day of all life’s seasons on which his story could have -- and through the aleph of the authors’ imagination, does -- come to an end. The Borges allusion is advised; the cultural and psychological fabric of Bá and Moon’s South American homeland is vividly memorialized and instantaneously imparted no matter the background of the reader, and we are placed in the character’s point of view urgently and inescapably. Life is fragile, consequences are complex, but we are robbed not by luck running out but by not following possibility to its conclusion. A quiet crescendo of wise witness and honestly earned tears each issue, Daytripper meets the full force and gentle majesty not of what might have been, but of every road taken to its end.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

pood props

Critic Timothy Callahan has this to say about pood's debut at MoCCA over at comicbookresources:

"the most interesting release - the most "buzzworthy" release of the entire show, really, was "Pood" #1, from Big If Comics. "Pood" is an oversized newsprint anthology, with plenty of great-looking artists featured inside."

Full post here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

pood the movie

HAH! Pood goes Hollywood! HAH!
pass the popcorn--&
hit the link in the title(upper left corner) to get the uncropped version(stupid Blogger) and the full "pood movie" experience!

and for those of you vit de iphone thingy--use dis here version:

pood! in cinemascope!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Page 4 of the Moon Prince

In which Max and Molly go up the hill to deliver a pail of joy juice. Full page is here.

pood love

CBR blogger/critic Sean T. Collins gave pood some sugar yesterday:

"From its striking Sara Edward-Corbett front page on down, this is a compelling collection of comics off-the-beaten-path creators both (relatively) well-known and obscure."

Full post here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Back Where We Don’t Belong

Pood joins the thronging masses in the repopulation of paper! As the miniature monoliths of electronic com accessories glitter in the distance, we squat in the abandoned forests of converted pulp!

It’s zeitgeist o’clock; the advertising circulars of old are replaced by the Desert Island comic-shoppe’s Smoke Signal paper, full of diverse crazy comic pioneering (www.desertislandbrooklyn.com). It’s like the comic section took over the whole paper, and the proprietor told me their printer was thankful for the salvation of the comic millennium as the newspapers they used to produce suffer a spot of extinction.

McSweeney’s bid for re-evolution, The San Francisco Panorama (http://www.mcsweeneys.net/SFPanoramaPR.html), had a great funnypaper filling, with a surprising volume of spaceman & superhero flavoring from unusual suspects like Tomine and Clowes and some character-breaking futility from a hilarious indie-fied Erik Larsen.

The New York Times Magazine has lost its comics section again, but one snuck into the new lit journal Cousin Corinne’s Reminder (http://www.bookcourt.org/cousincorinne/), from the back of the truck straight to the Mocca Fest where pood débyood. A high-culture colony tellingly stocked by inhabitants of the leading webcomics outpost ACT-I-VATE (http://www.act-i-vate.com/), reclaiming print with a great pop-noir cover by Mike Cavallaro, post-Eisner coloring-book memoir and anonymous portraiture by Jonathan Lethem & Dean Haspiel, global-suburb slapstick by Tim Hall & Jennifer Hayden, a quiet odyssey of learning how to let things not fit by Michel Fiffe, a microbial romance comic by Kat Roberts and a post-New Yorker Easter Bunny candid back-cover from Jen Ferguson.

And there’s always pood, blanketing the earth’s parkbench and listening for the trees falling in the woods. Start the presses and full speed aft!

pood roundup

Here's a few links to various pood plugs around the interwebospheres:

The New York Daily News has pood listed as one of the best comics at MoCCA. Click here (we're the 8th one, I think).

Heidi MacDonald takes note of pood over at her Publisher's Weekly blog

Comics Journal blogger/critic Marc Sobel mentions pood over at Trouble With Comics.

Act-i-vate co-founder Michel Fiffe has nice things to say over at his site.

And for those of you wishing they could have made the pood party at ArtLexis gallery, here's a quick shot from back in the office:

PS: here's a bonus shot of pooditors Geoff Grogan and Kevin Mutch (plus Alex Rader's shoulder on the left) counting the giant stacks of cash generated by pood's boffo reception at MoCCA.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The New York Review of pood

Spontaneously generated expression begets self-executing appreciation. Who would be stronger, Jack Kirby or Francis Bacon? Kevin Mutch’s “Super Love People” gets to the brutal simplicity and throbbing inner layers of primal pop battle and classical grotesquery, a distant narrative glimmering like doves of hope tolling inside dark iron shells. The encoded storyline and tactile communication of body memory and evolutionary amnesia course through Henrik Rehr’s bacteriological mural and Hans Rickheit’s visceral catacombs. Not just sequential but simultaneous narrative flashes understanding through every act and quadrant of Bishakh Som’s glacial glass houses and mid-topian family drama and Tobias Tak’s lifecycling world-treehouse. Childhood regained, in its awkwardness and anxieties, that is, offsets a reverse image of comics past’s mischief and innocence in Fintan Taite’s and Lance Hanson’s respective broadsides, the Frank McCourt and David Lynch of the cartoon page; while the farce of history replays itself in the luminous dinge of Geoff Grogan’s “Café Oopzoo”. Who knew there’d be two Westerns on the indie fringe frontier? Andres Vera Martinez and Connor Willumsen, spilling blood-feud epics joined in progress and running forever. Joe Infurnari’s hobos weather the death of America’s religion of limitlessness on weathered newsprint parchment; Jim Rugg & Brian Maruca’s special-op ape goes down shooting with America’s mythic honor in blazing Saturday-animation gels. Paolo Leandri wanders the gray-noir sideroads of a collective memory contracted out to the camera eye, though I can’t comment on his taste in collaborators. Mark Sunshine and Chris Capuozzo, graffiti on the tumbling barriers of pop properness; Sara Edward-Corbett, a calligraphy of comicstrips’ genetic fiber. You can quote me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

MoCCA pix!

Fresh off the ol' iPhone:

Here's Squirrel Machine author and pood contributor Hans Rickheit relaxing pood-side.

And here we see pood authors Henrik Rehr and Adam McGovern drinking in the vastness that is a pood spread.

Henrik and Hans admiring each other's elbows behind piles of pood

pood artist Mark Sunshine (right) crosses forearms with equally tatt'ed 
cartoonist Josh Bayer. Ouch!

poodtributors Tobias Tak and Bishakh Som looking fabulous!

From left: Sara Edward-Corbett, Connor Willumsen, and Tobias Tak, behind piles of pood

pooditors Alex Rader, Kevin Mutch, and Geoff Grogan

and Junior poodster Max Mutch enjoying a plum while flogging his unauthorized Batman epic: Riddler's Revenge!

What I saw at MoCCA 2010

HAH! What I saw at MoCCA 2010 was a lot of pood flying off the table! HAH!
And I did not see more because I was overwhelmed with the demand for pood! HAH! we friggin sold out of pood! So like wow! Thanks everyone!
And then the lines! There were lines, lines!!! Lines of people across from us waiting to see Jaime Hernandez. And then those folks stuck behind those lines bounced into our table and felt guilty and so they bought pood! Excellent!!
Thanks, Jaime! We love you!
And now those guilty ones are now our fans! our people! The pood minority. HAH! And there were a lot of them-because Jaime was really jamming up the aisle!

So that is what I saw--oh --and the ceiling of the armory when I began to feel dizzy from standing too long and all that spring sinus stuff was happening. HAH! Oh--and I spilled water on my shirt and it looked just like a Robert Motherwell "Elegy for the Spanish Republic". that was pretty cool.
there it is then. the pood report.
But what else? I don't know. I'll look at the other blogs to find out.
But today--TODAY!--Kevin is going to put up pictures from the pood experience at MoCCA2010!! So check that out--cos they will be wondrous! Astounding! Unlike any convention pictures in the history of convention pictures! Because a lot was happening at the pood table! I can't even believe I witnessed it all! My eyes-mine eyes! Are they still in my head? I don't know-it was too much! Laughter and sneezing. Coughing and wheezing! IT's true! All of that happened at the pood table. And more! Check back to see the pictures!
So--ok then! bye for now!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


So! HAH! Here is the skinny! The Buzz! the latest dope! the scoop! The up to the Whas-s-s...! there is only one place where you can get pood this weekend--only one place where you can buy for your very ownsome THE BIGGEST COMIC on EARTH- for only 4 bucks! YEAH!
(that is- unless the estimable Lou Wysocki decides to sell the prize copy that is winging its way to him as we speak!)
and that place is 25th and Lex in the BIG APPLE! THE 69th REGIMENT ARMORY--home to all kinds of historical events- the place where Marcel Duchamp exhibited his explosion in a shingle factory in 1913--YES!-home of the MoCCA festival 2010! Which is now and forevermore to be known as the pood festival-- Saturday & Sunday, 11-6! All of your pood pals will be on hand to sign your pood purchases and hold forth on the cultural significance of this watershed moment in the history of planet earth!
and here-as proof--our signing schedule-as they call these things:

12-1 Lance Hansen and Adam McGovern
1-2: Henrik Rehr and Hans Rickheit
2-3 Tobias Tak, Mark Sunshine and Bishakh Som
3-4 Bishakh Som, Connor Willumsen and Sara Edward Corbett

12-1: Andres Vera Martinez & Kevin Mutch( well-we haven't confirmed this with his agent as yet-so it's subject to change)
1-2: Henrik Rehr and Adam McGovern
2-3: Tobias Tak and Hans Rickheit
3-4: Connor Willumsen & Sara Edward Corbett

So We'll See you at the armory! At pood festival 2010!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Off the Grid

Greetings from the halfway there -- the blank spaces that hold the
pictures in place. The plotted grooves between which the scenes are
planted. A net of new roads reaching from idea to image, the terrain
taking shape as its destinations demand. Pathways forming to fit new
thoughts and dreamed experience. Paolo’s and my story in the first
imprint of pood is a roadmap to a phantom landscape, its shapes and
spaces the runes of a lost lexicon of permanence and place. A mirage
itself, materializing in the electronic space between Europe and
America, and the psychic gulf between the misfit frontier and the pop
familiar. This is what eternally matters, as matter dissolves and
reforms -- the borders between the boxes, the white space of permanent
possibility. We’ll see you on the path from edge to edge.