Book shelves series #18, eighteenth Sunday of 2012.
Lots of issues of McSweeney’s on this shelf. I abandoned The Instructions. Some Tintin omnibuses. Crumb-illustrated Kafka bio. Bookended by Will Eisner’s masterwork A Contract with God:
A Chris Ware comic from McSweeney’s #13:
Book shelves series #6, sixth Sunday of 2012: In which we dig into the comix inside the book shelf we looked at last week.
When I was 13, I sold a fairly large collection of superhero comic books and earned enough money to buy an electric guitar—a weird mutant by Fender called the Bullet—and a small practice amp. It was the early nineties, and Marvel was about to burst the comic book bubble big time by flooding the market with gimmicky covers, hologram cards, and other nonsense.
I continued to buy comics (or comix, if you prefer) over the years, although eventually economic concerns led me to just wait for graphic novel editions. Anyway, the book shelf above now contains most of the “underground” comix that I own. A few samples:
Most of the comix in this unit though are issues of Dave Sim’s epic (and insane) series Cerebus. I bought issues of Cerebus intermittently for years at a time, usually getting frustrated and then waiting for the “phone book” graphic novel editions of the series. Sim, along with background artist Gerhard, produced 300 issues of Cerebus over 25 years. The issues from the early ’80s to the early ’90s are brilliant; eventually Sim cracked though and went on an insane, reactionary (and arguably deeply misogynistic) bent. He created his own religion, a mix of hardline Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and the later books in the series suffered greatly, as the book detoured to chronicle projects that seemed far outside its original scope (including strange, long satires of Hemingway and Fitzgerald). Anyway, some issues:
Cerebus Jam, a one-off collaboration with a cover by one of my favorite artists Bill Sienkiewicz (I still have his entire run on Marvel’s The New Mutants in a box somewhere):
A panel from the issue’s collaboration with comic book legend Will Eisner, featuring his seminal character The Spirit:
Will Eisner’s adaptation of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick was one of his last works, completed in 2001 just four years before his death. While no comic book adaptation can match Ishmael’s expansive voice, Eisner’s work here does capture the spirit of adventure and the wish for communion that underpins Melville’s tome. We think it would make a great introduction for younger readers to Melville’s massive book, and will surely interest older readers apprehensive of Moby-Dick. Great stuff.