Archive for November, 2007
roller derby comics are the little engine that could. while we await the unveiling, here’s whats new:
simon in australia actually got a whole other pdx exposed tattoo! they say the experience left him scarred…scarred for life!
meanwhile, television #1 is getting some positive reviews! here’s one from mania.com:
Ryan Alexander-Tanner’s Xeric-winning one-shot, Television, serves as a clever and, I think, intentionally-asinine simulation of channel surfing. He begins with a man with a television for a head, who expounds upon the medium as if its worst excesses haven’t already come to pass. He talks about a coming day when “our private jokes are shared with the masses and our intimate dialogue has been diluted by the tide of pop culture!” This has, of course, already occurred in the real world. Alexander-Tanner then interweaves the story of John the Baptist (replaced with James Brown) with a cliché love story about a couple on a bridge, a gangsta-pimp version of Dracula, and an interview with Brian “Kato” Kaelin – in comic form, of course. He returns to the James-Brown-as-John-the-Baptist story a couple of more times before concluding the issue.
I think Television deliberately simulates the act of channel surfing from one cheap, perverted experience to the next. We see a cute-but-meaningless twist on a significant Biblical narrative, a cheesy love story that could easily star Meg Ryan or Reese Witherspoon, a gangsta rap update of a classic character that bears no resemblance to the original text – in this case, Dracula – and an interview with a celebrity, by all rights, shouldn’t be one. It feels like scanning through cable channels in the middle of the night, only to return to the same rubbish again and again – in this case, the James Brown story. Yes, I realize there are quite a few things worth watching on television, but the garbage-to-gold ratio remains disturbingly high. Alexander-Tanner’s comic brings that experience to the comic form, with one excruciating vignette after another. But, instead of the lazy storytelling and bad writing washing over you like an audio-visual acid bath, you experience it word-for-word. It may strike some readers as a straw man argument of sorts, but it seems accurate enough to me.
Alexander-Tanner’s art style changes from story to story, from the patently cartoonish in the James Brown story and The Adventures of Spectacula Dracula to slightly more realistic in That One Song From the 1960s – the romance – and the interview with Kaelin. Appropriately enough, he renders the more outlandish stories in less realistic art, with the more plausible scenarios – and, in the interview, a real scenario – drawn with greater detail. It’s a good-looking comic, and one that proves Alexander-Tanner’s versatility as an artist.
Television is a one-shot. You can pick it up in stores in January or at the website for OHYESVERYNICE COMICS. Note that the actual cover doesn’t look like the thumbnail in this review. It’s just purple with the title in green letters across it. Regardless, look for it.
and i got one from the comics waiting room:
Portland-based Tanner is one of those fortunate souls to have received a Xeric grant, and the result is this first issue of TELEVISION, a collection of single and multiple-page strips of a humorous bent. The gags range from the rich and emotionally subtle “That One Song From the 1960s” to the absurd “James Brown Comics” (which place the soul singer into various pieces of the Christian bible’s timeline. The one thing they all have in common, though, is that they’re executed by a young artist who appears to have some real talent to play with.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, though. the author lists his “Thursday night drawing club” in the thank you section, and it includes other really talented folks like Farel Dalrymple and Alex Cahill (a Waiting Room favorite). What works about Alexander-Tanner’s stuff is that he never overplays the humor; he actively seems to try and underplay his stuff and avoid screaming for attention. Even the one story (“Spectacula Dracula”) that would seem to call for a broad ending sees the artist using a wide-angle shot in the final panel to lessen the impact of the lunacy of the whole bit. It shows an inspired grasp of storytelling.
TELEVISION appears in the current Previews and will ship from Diamond in January. It’s worth your three dollars American.
and then i got one from aintitcool.com!
TELEVISION is a slick and offbeat comedy anthology that shows a lot of promise. I especially liked the self-aware intro that warns readers to soak in the goodness of TELEVISION now so that they can complain when the series later becomes unfunny and jumps the shark. There’s something about the mere mention of that in the first issue that I find pretty damn funny. Delve deeper into this issue and you’ll find a few one pagers depicting James Brown as a religious figure on the same level as Christ, a bizarre meeting between a disguised man and a mysterious woman, the coolness that is Spectacula Dracula, and an entertaining interview with Kato Kaelin. Each entry in this issue was either insightful or completely kookified or both all at once. The book was done by Ryan Alexander-Tanner. He shows promise as both an artist whose style shows a lot of variation and promise as a writer of humorous and oft times surreal material. This is definitely an anthology worth following and even though the intro may be less than optimistic, I’ll bet subsequent issues will be just as fun.
one of my many professions is teaching kids at an elementary school how to draw comics. i really like it except that i always feel really tired afterwards. however, it is always rewarding to see their wonderful drawings!
here’s a jam i did with a few of my kids.
finally, here’s the all-time classic of kids comics, “hobbos swoosh.”