Two D+Q artists listed in Paste's Comic Book & Graphic Novel Round-Up

“Comic Book & Graphic Novel Round-Up ” / Paste Magazine / HILLARY BROWN AND SEAN EDGAR / October 4, 2012

Each week, Paste reviews the most intriguing comic books, graphic novels, graphic memoirs and other illustrated books.

The Hive
by Charles Burns
Pantheon, 2012
Rating: 8.9

I’m not going to tell you that you can’t read The Hive, Charles Burns’s second in a trilogy of shorter comics volumes that began with X’ed Out two years ago, without having read its predecessor. In fact, it may almost be a better place to start than at the beginning because of the disorientation that results from doing so. Where X’ed Out set up its drifting between dream and reality in a more conventional fashion, beginning in our world and setting up clear visual and thematic echoes between it and the realm of the unconscious, The Hive is more unsettling. The first quarter works like nesting dolls of fantasy, adding both dreamworld comics and their “real world” counterparts to the mix, and as you’re jerked among the narratives, you can’t find your footing, an experience both nauseating and somewhat pleasurable. Burns seems to be exploring a theme about the function of visual fantasy, but it’s never obvious. He’s always been a genius at bringing out the gross side of the uncanny as he’s focused on the desires our superegos do their best to quash—a Stephen King who says the horror is in us, not outside us, and more horrifying for that—and this series is no exception. It will provoke both attraction and revulsion, often within the same panel, as well as a deeply felt sadness veering into depression, “the bad thing” David Foster Wallace wrote of. Intelligent, carefully crafted and emphatically not for everyone. (HB)

New York Drawings
by Adrian Tomine
Drawn + Quarterly, 2012
Rating: 7.6

More endearing than many of Tomine’s earlier works, this volume from Drawn + Quarterly collects his illustrations, many made for the New Yorker and all focusing on the city to which he moved about seven years ago. Informative but not overly rich notes in the back provide context for many but not all of the images, which reproduce beautifully and more than make up a nice portfolio. There are a few multi-panel strips in here, some of which are quite lovely, warmer and more vulnerable than I tend to think of Tomine as being. The one in which he circulates at the magazine’s holiday party, endlessly asking if people know where the coat check is to give himself a purpose, is glumly amusing. In some ways, it’s as if Tomine is turning into a Harvey Pekar who can draw, a professional complainer who manages to entertain as he bitches. A whole book of this attitude might get old, though, which is why it’s nice to have his drawings of Bob Pollard, Batman (drawn for Chip Kidd) and others in greater numbers. His sketches of people around New York are perhaps the greatest pleasure, far less polished than his finished work but more relatable because of it. The book’s not going to convert anyone, but it’s a good record of work that otherwise might have been merely ephemeral. (HB)

Share on Facebook
Share on Tumblr
Share via Email