Sunday, September 26, 2004


Some efforts from Fantagraphics…

Written and Drawn by Roberta Gregory

A moment of silence if you please.

Thank you. Much to my shock and dismay, this turns out to be the final issue of what has been a true gem for quite some time. Gregory’s brutally frank and honest work throughout this series has consistently raised the bar for the cartoonists who have followed her. This final pamphlet issue is no different, with another excellent “Bitchy Bitch” strip covering one aspect of Gregory’s cartooning life and a strip that deals with the passing of her father balancing out the other end of the book. Tender and forthright, it’s all wonderful stuff. NAUGHTY BITS has been one of a kind, and it will be missed.

Written and Drawn by Jessica Abel

I reviewed the earlier issues of this book in my MPS column, as I am a huge fan of Abel’s work. Unfortunately, issue four takes steps backward in a couple of areas that rob the book of some interest in its characters. In the beginning of the series, the main character, Carla, is self-absorbed to the point of sever annoyance, but the reader can look past it because the story is heading in directions that aren’t fully guessable. However this issue takes a turn for the blindingly predictable, and it has the effect of making Carla stupid to the point where you can do little but hate her. Needless to say, that doesn’t do much for the enjoyment of reading the book. The concluding issue five will be pivotal; I hope Abel can rescue the book… and my interest.

Written and Drawn by Johnny Ryan

Johnny Ryan is seriously disturbed. Seriously. Now don’t get me wrong- that doesn’t mean his comics aren’t worth reading. However, I can’t necessarily recommend reading them while you’re having a meal. ANGRY YOUTH focuses on shorter stories of sickness and depravity, while WORKING is apparently a sketchbook of twisted shit that Ryan came up with while… well, while working. Needless to say, the ratio of good to bad material in WORKING is 50/50 at best, but it’s still an ambitious enough idea to publish it at all. If you’re thinking that ratio isn’t quite as good as you would like before you buy the book, I’d recommend smoking up before you sit to read it. It might change to 65/35.