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Over Easy

Posted: October 29, 2014 by Kristilyn Waite in Art, Comicology - Comic Books
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Washing dishes in a restaurant is among the least glamorous of occupations. But not once does Mimi Pond complain or delve into the requisite diatribe on scraping and scrubbing in a perpetual cloud of greasy mist. Time can add a rose colored tint to things, sure, but Pond knew then that she was part of a story worth telling. Thirty years later, here it is, Over Easy.

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photo courtesy of First Second Books

photo courtesy of First Second Books

Every once in a while you’ll read a story that seems to keep converging on itself. In the best possible way. The words are like impressionistic brushstrokes and they come to inform this very rich, and often very beautiful picture. Danica Novgorodoff’s The Undertaking of Lily Chen is one of those books. “The story begins where a young life ends,” the life of Wei Li. Ancient Chinese tradition – and his parents – insist that Wei’s brother, Deshi, must find a young bride to accompany him in eternal sleep. Grieving aside, Deshi’s task is not a simple one. In modern China, demand for corpse brides is high. A journey awaits.

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Unless you’re the Zack Morris type, high school can be less than awesome. And Two-Shoes, the protagonist of Kenan Rubenstein’s Last Train to Old Town, is no Zack Morris. Whether he’s being shoved into a locker, chided for reading for fun, or told to sit somewhere else at lunch, Two-Shoes remains pretty much un-phased. This resilient little nerd marches to his own beat and Stone, a modern James Dean type who heads a band of misfits, has taken notice.

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Gray Horse Hope Larson Oni Press

Light years away from comics that go “thwack” and “pow” is Hope Larson’s Gray Horses, a poetic little book put out by Oni Press. This coming of age tale, an exploration of both the outer and inner aspects of one girl’s journey abroad, is gently executed yet powerfully evocative. Like a diary, due, partially, to its reader’s omniscience, but more so for its soft, dreamy panelscape, Gray Horses is reminiscent – in no way derivative – of Larson’s husband, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Lost at Sea. There’s more than a bit of magic in these pages.

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BOOM! imprint Archaia is doing this cool little series inspired by the Jim Henson Storyteller television series that aired in the late eighties and early nineties. S.M Vidaurri’s The Magic Swan Goose and the Lord of the Forest is the first of four tales in The Storyteller: Witches run. If this is any indication of what’s to come, we’ve got a lot of looking forward to do.

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Despite benevolent intentions, organized religion has facilitated, provoked, and justified acts heinous and horrific enough to make anyone paying attention a bit Godsick. That said, Joanne Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat is a breath of fresh air. Set in 1930’s Algeria, a time and place in which Arabs and Jews were able to coexist, and narrated by Majrum, the cat, this story offers a fresh outsider’s perspective on religion with a healthy dose of humor.

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Chro Noz, the time travel drug. Just pop a capsule, take aim, and the next thing you know, you’re there – wherever, nay, whenever you’ve aimed – within the parameters of your own existence, of course. Addictive as all get out. It’s becoming a problem in Interesting Drug, Shaun Manning’s new graphic novel from BOOM! imprint Archaia.

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The American 1950’s are often remembered through rose-colored glasses. But these were dangerous and tumultuous times. Mounting racial tensions, the Red Scare, and nuclear warfare, constant threats, lurked just below the surface. Day to day life had changed radically and rapidly with the advent of television, the interstate highway system, and the sprawl of suburbia. Under the flimsy facade of tidy innocence, instability and volatility had begun to boil over. Corruption and greed, ever present human qualities, had began to take the lead. John Blacksad, bicolor cat, Private Investigator, and protagonist of Blacksad, has his work cut out for him.

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Cover courtesy of fandomania.com

Cover courtesy of fandomania.com

While each of Aesop’s fables offers a moral lesson, the collective body of work attributed to him paints a comprehensive picture of the human condition that remains remarkably accurate, even today. The Ant and the Grasshopper, circa 550 BCE, juxtaposed the fates of a pragmatic ant and an improvident grasshopper, neither of whose polarized approaches toward living ends very well. In May 1960, Harvey Kurtzman’s take on the tale was published as a tiny strip in Esquire magazine, illustrating the culture clash between the beatnik movement and mainstream society. As with much great art, Kurtzman’s The Grasshopper and the Ant disappeared into the proverbial ether where it remained for over forty years. Lucky for us in the here and now, BOOM! Town has re-released a larger formatted and hard covered edition, much better for posterity.

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Photo Credit: indyplanet.com

Photo Credit: indyplanet.com

 

What would you do with your last moments if the apocalypse were actually occurring, right now? Time is up in Patt Kelley’s The Abridged History of A Moon, and its nameless hero is choosing to live, to really live. There’s a girl, and a roadtrip, and quite a lot of heart in this piece about one little planet’s final hours.

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