Sunday, August 05, 2007


After taking a week off for San Diego, the Blog Extra is back! This weekend, two new books from publisher Jeff Mason (no relation) and Alternative Comics.

First up is HICKEE #3, written and drawn by a large number of talented folks. HICKEE is a humor comic anthology on a smaller scale, presented in standard pamphlet comic format and running 32 pages. What that means is that the concentration of good-to-excellent material is quite high; in fact, a number of the pieces here are real standouts. Graham Annable’s “Frank’s Big Hand” is a sick, twisted riot. Vamberto Maduro’s “The Anna Nicole Smith Board Game” is dark genius. And Razmig Mavlian’s “Joop Joop” is a surprisingly pathos-filled tribute to childhood imagination. At only three yanqui dollars, you easily get your money’s worth here.

Joel Orff writes and draws THUNDERHEAD UNDEGROUND FALLS, a graphic novel focusing on one young man’s life as it’s about to change. His name is Jack, and he’s joined the Army, for better or worse, and he’s about to be sent off to the Middle East. But even as he prepares to go, he journeys with friends, taking an expansive look at his world, all the while finding a love that might be worth deserting for. I finished THUNDERHEAD feeling of two minds about it, really; I respected and understood Orff’s intentions here, finding an emotional core in Jack’s arc that I think works. But at the same time, he takes a very looooooooong time developing it. There’s a lot of silence in this book, which isn’t always a bad thing, but here it overwhelms the plot’s progress and development of the characters’ arcs. Silence can say more than words, but too many times, the silence here says nothing at all. This is an accomplished work, by a talented artist, but I came away from it wanting more on the page than I felt I got.

That’s it for this weekend. Be here through the week for site updates, plus my latest Aisle Seat Extra, featuring actress Karen Cliche. Then be back here next weekend for an all-new Weekend Blog Extra!


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