Comics comics and more comics


062) Giraffes on Horseback Salad by Josh Frank, Manuela Pertega, Tim Heidecker; finished August 10

Ah, the lost Salvador Dalí / Marx Bros. movie. The great what-if. And someone took what pieces could be found and turned them into a graphic novel.

I am glad this exists.

But I don't understand many of the choices made, starting with the biggest.

In the back of this volume are a few pages of the source material and they make clear that the biggest conceit of the book---the protagonist has Harpo locked inside him---is wrong. Harpo and the protag are pretty clearly separate characters from those shared bits. And I do not understand this choice. Even if you see it as subtext, why make it text? Surrealism is more than just weird images.

The art is pretty good and the jokes range in quality. The film could be done now (I would use the method from the new Lion King) but ultimately the lesson of this books seems to be let what-ifs remain what-ifs.

(See also Tale of Sand.)

I don't mean that.

I'm glad I read it, but honestly I could have been just as happy reading the entire treatment and letting it play out in my mind. It's good this exists, but let's not confuse it as the original.

The only kind of film I've ever worked on are grotesquely unfinished movies, and that's what Horseback Salad was: grotesquely unfinished. This isn't the Dalí/Marx movie, this is something Josh Frank put together. As long as you remember that, it's a fascinating exercise, absolutely worth the hours put in; it is not canon.

But yay, fandom! I would have absolutely said yes if asked to help. And the end result would still have left me ambivalent. 'Tis the nature of the work.
probably five days with two weeks between the intro and the book proper


063) Snow White by Matt Phelan, finished August 12

I guess this Great Depression-set fairy tale isn't any less developed than a traditional fairy tale, but its one element of magic/madness didn't make much sense (being the one element) and Snow seemed to become an adult rather abruptly.

But the word-light watercolor comics are nice to look at. It's not a weighty entertainment, but it does entertain and does not take long to consume. It's the meringue of comics.
one walk home


064) Billie the Bee by Mary Fleener, finished August 16

This is a great bit of comicry. Fleener's first full book is a departure for her (but her psychedelic skills do get moments to shine), the story of an overlarge honeybee who gets to be friends with a rattlesnake, a coyote, and a coupla crass turtles, but she said at Comic-Con that the book was fueled by her readings about honeybees, so I expect there's more truth in here than I would have guessed had I just picked the book up at random.

She also mentioned that her work here was inspired by Noah Van Sciver---especially his backgrounds---and with that in mind, its easy to see.
three days


065) Manfried the Man by Caitlin Major and Kelly Bastow, finished August 16

I would like to read the six-page gag that was the genesis (and feel like maybe I have...), but I came around to this book by the end. Both main characters (the cat and his man) had satisfying arcs that dovetailed just so, and even though the gagborn concept spent a lot of time in the mundane and the serious, it turned out fine.

The many-mans scenes---am I the only one who found them a tad ... uncomfortably pornographic---?
two days


066) A Fire Story by Brian Fies, finished August 20

I think I may have bumped into Brian Fies's original version of this, done with Santa Rosa ash still in the air, but I don't think I ever ran it down and gave it close study. It's remarkable now, to see how closely the book version follows the quick-and-dirty original done on crap paper with unfancy pens.

The full book version feels just as honest, but it's able to bring in other people's stories---in their own words---and bring us through the months of aftermath.

It's hard to fathom a disaster, even one so close by, one whose fumes we breathed, whose smoke closed our schools, whose ash coated our cars. This personal, visual account goes a long way towards bridging understanding.
a week or so



The other books of 2019

001 – 005
001) Thornhill by Pam Smy, finished January 2
002) How to Be Happy by Eleanor Davis, finished January 3
003) Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, finished Janaury 4
004) Third Wheel: Peculiar Stories of Mormon Women in Love by Melissa Leilani Larson, finished January 6
005) Fox 8 by George Saunders, finished January 6

006 – 010
006) SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, finished January 8*
007) Latter-day Laughs by Stan and Elly Schoenfeld, finished January 16
008) All We Ever Wanted: Stories of a Better World edited by Miner, Palicki, Chin-Tanner; finished January 19
009) Daytripper by Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá, finished January 19
010) Evolving Faith: Wanderings of a Mormon Biologist by Steven L. Peck, finished January 20

011 – 015
011) Kindred by Octavia E. Butler, finished January 22
012) Huck by Mark Millar et al., finished January 24
013) Marketing Precedes the Miracle by Calvin Grondahl, finished January 30
014) Uncle Scrooge:The Seven Cities Of Gold by Carl Barks, finished January 31
015) When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, finished January 31

011 – 015
016) Snotgirl: Green Hair, Don't Care by Bryan Lee O'Malley and Leslie Hung, finished February 16
017) Ghost of the Grotto by Carl Barks, finished February 20
018) When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs, finished February 22
019) Temple and Cosmos by Michael R. Collings, finished February 23
020) The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett, finished February 23
021) Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs, finished February 24

022 – 027
022) One Dirty Tree by Noah Van Sciver, finished February 25
023) Snotgirl: California Screaming by Bryan Lee O'Malley & Leslie Hung, finished February 28
024) Sabrina by Nick Drnaso, finished March 7
025&026) Macbeth by William Shakespeare, finished March 14
026) Fences by August Wilson, finished Ides of March
027) N Is for Noose by Sue Grafton, finished Ides of March

028 – 033
028) Ethel & Ernest by Raymond Briggs, finished March 20
029) Let's Go Exploring by Michael Hingston, finished March 20
030) Gentleman Jim by Raymond Briggs, finished March 20
031) The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis, finished April 2
032) No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay, finished April 8
033) Letters to ta Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, finished April 9

034 – 040
034) King Lear by William Shakespeare, finished April 13
035) Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil by Jeff Smith, finished April 13
036) The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy: Haunting the Hearts and Heaven of Mormon Women and Men by Carol Lynn Pearson, finished April 15
037) Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson, finished April 19
038) a novel by a friend, finished April 23
039) Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, finished April 27
040) Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, finished May 3

041 – 044
041) The Birthday Party and The Room by Harold Pinter, finished May 6
042) When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie & Edwin Balmer, finished May 11
043) Aquaman: Sub Diego by Will Pfeifer / Patrick Gleason / Christian Alamy, finished May 18
044) The Tragedy of King Leere, Goatherd of the La Sals by Steven L. Peck, finished May 22

045 – 051
045) Eric by Terry Pratchett, finished May 31
046) The Library Book by Susan Orlean, finished June 7
047) Sing to It by Amy Hempel, finished June 8
048) The Emma Press Anthology of Fatherhood, finished June 17
049) Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy, finished June 28
050) The Great Pie Robbery and Other Mysteries by Richard Scarry, finished July 1
051) "O" Is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton, finished July 1

052 – 056
052) The Diary of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain, finished July 1
053) Witchy Eye by D.J. Butler, finished July 2
054) The Tree of Life by Terence Malick, finished July 9
055) Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination by Brian Jay Jones, finished July 10
056) Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel edited by Richard H. Minear, finished July 26

057 – 061
057) Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King, finished July 27
058) Your Duck Is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg, finished July 29
059) The Cat Behind the Hat: The Art of Dr. Seuss, finished August 4
060) Please, Please Call Me to the Bishopric by Jett Atwood, finished August 6
061) How to Hide an Empire by Daniel Immerwahr, finished August 8

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