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Sean T. Collins has written about comics and popular culture professionally since 2001 and on this very blog since 2003. He has written for Maxim, The Comics Journal, Stuff, Wizard, A&F Quarterly, Comic Book Resources, Giant, ToyFare, The Onion, The Comics Reporter and more. His comics have been published by Top Shelf, Partyka, and Family Style. He blogs here and at Robot 6.

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Murder

An anthology of comics written by Sean T. Collins
Art by Matt Wiegle, Matt Rota, and Josiah Leighton
Designed by Matt Wiegle


Elfworld

An indie fantasy anthology
Featuring a comic by Sean T. Collins & Matt Wiegle



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The Sean Collins Media Empire
Comics
Destructor Comes to Croc Town
story: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Wiegle


1995 (NSFW)
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Raymond Suzuhara


Pornography
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Wiegle


It Brought Me Some Peace of Mind
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota
edit: Brett Warnock


A Real Gentle Knife
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Josiah Leighton
lyrics: "Rippin Kittin" by Golden Boy & Miss Kittin


The Real Killers Are Still Out There
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Wiegle


Destructor in: Prison Break
story: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Wiegle


Cage Variations: Kitchen Sink
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota


Cage Variations: 1998 High Street
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota


Cage Variations: We Had No Idea
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota


The Side Effects of the Cocaine
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Isaac Moylan
(bibliography)


Cage Variations: No
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota



Best Of
The Amazing! Incredible! Uncanny Oral History of Marvel Comics

The Outbreak: An Autobiographical Horror Blog

Where the Monsters Go: A 31-Day Horrorblogging Marathon, October 2003

Blog of Blood: A Marathon Examination of Clive Barker's Books of Blood, October 2005

The Blogslinger: Blogging Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, October-November 2007

The Things That Should Not Be: The Monumental Horror-Image and Its Relation to the Contemporary Horror Film (introduction)
PDF

My 35 Favorite Horror Films of All Time (at the moment)

My David Bowie Sketchbook

The Manly Movie Mamajama

Presidential Milkshakes

Horror and Certainty I

Horror and Certainty II

En Garde--I'll Let You Try My New Dumb Avant Garde Style, Part I
Part II

Evil for Thee, Not Me

Phobophobia

The 7 Best Horror Movies of the Past 7 Years (give or take a few films)

Keep Horror NSFW, Part I
Part II

Meet the New Boss: The Politics of Killing, Part I
Part II

130 Things I Loved About The Sopranos

In Defense of "Torture Porn," Part I
Part II

At a Loss: Lost fandom and its discontents

I Got Dem Ol' Konfuzin' Event-Komik Blues Again, Mama

Losing My Edge (DFADDTF Comix Remix)

GusGus, the Universe, and Everything

"I'd Rather Die Than Give You Control" (or Adolf Hitler, Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth, and Trent Reznor walk into a blog)

The 11 Most Awful Songs from Geek Movie Soundtracks

The 11 Most Awesome Songs from Geek Movie Soundtracks

11 More Awesome Songs from Geek Movie Soundtracks

The 15 Greatest Science Fiction-Based Pop/Rock/Hip-Hop Songs

My Loch Ness Adventure

The Best Comics of 2003

The Best Albums of 2003

The Best Albums of 2004

The Best Comics of 2005

The Best Comics of 2006

The Best Comics, Films, Albums, Songs, and Television Programs of 2007

The Best Comics of 2008

The Best Comics of 2009

The Best Songs of 2009

80 Great Tracks from the 1990s


Interviews with Sean
Interviews by Sean
Movie Reviews
Avatar (Cameron, 2009)

Barton Fink (Coen, 1991)

Batman Begins (Nolan, 2005)

Battlestar Galactica: Razor (Alcala/Rose, 2007)

Battlestar Galactica: "Revelations" (Rymer, 2008)

Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5 (Moore et al, 2009)

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan (Olmos, 2009)

Beowulf (Zemeckis, 2007)

The Birds (Hitchcock, 1963)

The Blair Witch Project (Myrick & Sanchez, 1999)

The Bourne Identity (Liman, 2002)

The Bourne Supremacy (Greengrass, 2004)

The Bourne Ultimatum (Greengrass, 2007)

Casino Royale (Campbell, 2006)

Caprica: "Pilot" (Reiner, 2009)

Caprica S1 E1-6 (Moore et al, 2010)

Children of Men (Cuaron, 2006)

Cigarette Burns (Carpenter, 2005)

Clash of the Titans (Leterrier, 2010)

Cloverfield (Reeves, 2008), Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

Crank: High Voltage (Neveldine/Taylor, 2009)

Daredevil (Johnson, 2003)

The Dark Knight (Nolan, 2008)

Dawn of the Dead (Snyder, 2004)

Della'morte, Dell'amore [Cemetery Man] (Soavi, 1994)

The Diary of a Teenage Girl: The Play (Eckerling & Sunde, 2010)

District 9 (Blomkamp, 2009)

Doomsday (Marshall, 2008)

Dragon Wars [D-War] (Shim, 2007)

Eastern Promises (Cronenberg, 2007)

The Exorcist (Friedkin, 1973)

The Expendables (Stallone, 2010)

Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick, 1999)

Eyes Wide Shut revisited, Part I
Part II
Part III

Garden State (Braff, 2004)

Gossip Girl Seasons 1-2 (Savage, Schwartz et al, 2007-08)

Gossip Girl Season Three (Savage, Schwartz et al, 2009-2010)

Grindhouse [Planet Terror/Death Proof] (Rodriguez & Tarantino, 2007)

Heavenly Creatures (Jackson, 1994)

Hellboy (Del Toro, 2004)

Hellraiser (Barker, 1987)

A History of Violence (Cronenberg, 2005), Part I
Part II

The Host (Bong, 2006)

Hostel (Roth, 2005)

Hostel: Part II (Roth, 2007)

Hulk (Lee, 2003)

The Hurt Locker (Bigelow, 2009)

I Am Legend (Lawrence, 2007)

The Incredible Hulk (Leterrier, 2008)

Inglourious Basterds (Tarantino, 2009)

Inside (Maury & Bustillo, 2007)

Iron Man (Favreau, 2008)

Iron Man II (Favreau, 2010)

It (Wallace, 1990)

Jeepers Creepers (Salva, 2001)

King Kong (Jackson, 2005), Part I
Part II
Part III

Land of the Dead (Romero, 2005)

Let the Right One In (Alfredson, 2008)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Jackson, 2003)

Lost: the first five episodes (Abrams, Lindelof et al, 2004)

Lost Season Five (Lindelof, Cuse, Bender et al, 2009)

Lost Season Six (Lindelof, Cuse, Bender et al, 2010)

Lost Highway (Lynch, 1997)

The Lovely Bones (Jackson, 2009)

Match Point (Allen, 2006)

The Matrix Revolutions (Wachowski, 2003)

Metropolis (Lang, 1927)

The Mist (Darabont, 2007), Part I
Part II

Moon (Jones, 2009)

Mulholland Drive (Lynch, 2001)

My Bloody Valentine 3D (Lussier, 2009)

The Mystic Hands of Doctor Strange #1 (various, 2010)

Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968)

Pan's Labyrinth (Del Toro, 2006)

Paperhouse (Rose, 1988)

Paranormal Activity (Peli, 2009)

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Verbinski, 2007) Part I
Part II

Poltergeist (Hooper/Spielberg, 1982)

Quantum of Solace (Forster, 2008)

Rambo (Stallone, 2008)

[REC] (Balaguero & Plaza, 2007)

The Ring (Verbinski, 2002)

The Road (Hillcoat, 2009)

The Ruins (Smith, 2008)

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Wright, 2010)

Secretary (Shainberg, 2002)

A Serious Man (Coen, 2009)

The Shining (Kubrick, 1980)

Shoot 'Em Up (Davis, 2007)

Shutter Island (Scorses, 2010)

The Silence of the Lambs (Demme, 1991)

The Sopranos (Chase et al, 1999-2007)

Speed Racer (Wachowski, 2008)

The Stand (Garris, 1994), Part I
Part II

The Terminator (Cameron, 1984) Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Cameron, 1991)

Terminator Salvation (McG, 2009)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Hooper, 1974)

There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007)

The Thing (Carpenter, 1983)

300 (Snyder, 2007)

"Thriller" (Jackson & Landis, 1984)

28 Days Later (Boyle, 2002)

28 Weeks Later (Fresnadillo, 2007)Part I
Part II

Twilight (Hardwicke, 2008)

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Slade, 2010)

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Weitz, 2009)

Up in the Air (J. Reitman, 2009)

War of the Worlds (Spielberg, 2005)

Watchmen (Snyder, 2009) Part I
Part II

The Wicker Man (Hardy, 1973)

The Wire (Simon et al, 2002-2008)

Zombi 2 [Zombie] (Fulci, 1980)

Zombieland (Fleischer, 2009)


Book Reviews
Music Reviews
Comics Reviews
Abe Sapien: The Drowning (Mignola & Alexander, 2008)

Abstract Comics (various, 2009)

The ACME Novelty Library #18 (Ware, 2007)

The ACME Novelty Library #19 (Ware, 2008)

Across the Universe: The DC Universe Stories of Alan Moore (Moore et al, 2003)

Action Comics #870 (Johns & Frank, 2008)

The Adventures of Tintin: The Seven Crystal Balls (Herge, 1975)

Afrodisiac (Rugg & Maruca, 2010)

Against Pain (Rege Jr., 2008)

Agents of Atlas #10 (Parker, Hardman, Rivoche, 2009)

The Airy Tales (Volozova, 2008)

Al Burian Goes to Hell (Burian, 1993)

Alan's War (Guibert, 2008)

Alex Robinson's Lower Regions (Robinson, 2007)

Aline and the Others (Delisle, 2006)

All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder Vol. 1 (Miller & Lee, 2009)

All-Star Superman (Morrison & Quitely, 2008-2010)

American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar (Pekar et al, 2003)

An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons and True Stories (Brunetti et al, 2006)

An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons and True Stories Vol. 2 (Brunetti et al, 2008)

Aqua Leung Vol. 1 (Smith & Maybury, 2008)

Archaeology (McShane, 2009)

The Arrival (Tan, 2006)

Artichoke Tales (Kelso, 2010)

Asterios Polyp (Mazzucchelli, 2009)

The Aviary (Tanner, 2007)

The Awake Field (Rege Jr., 2006)

Axe Cop (Nicolle & Nicolle, 2009-2010)

Bacter-Area (Keith Jones, 2005)

Bald Knob (Hankiewicz, 2007)

Batman (Simmons, 2007)

Batman #664-669, 672-675 (Morrison et al, 2007-2008)

Batman #681 (Morrison & Daniel, 2008)

Batman and the Monster Men (Wagner, 2006)

Batman and Robin #1 (Morrison & Quitely, 2009)

Batman and Robin #9 (Morrison & Stewart, 2010)

Batman: Hush (Loeb & Lee, 2002-03)

Batman: Knightfall Part One: Broken Bat (Dixon, Moench, Aparo, Balent, Breyfogle, Nolan, 1993)

Batman R.I.P. (Morrison, Daniel, Garbett, 2010)

Batman: The Story of the Dark Knight (Cosentino, 2008)

Batman Year 100 (Pope, 2007)

Battlestack Galacti-crap (Chippendale, 2005)

The Beast Mother (Davis, 2006)

The Best American Comics 2006 (A.E. Moore, Pekar et al, 2006)

The Best of the Spirit (Eisner, 2005)

Between Four Walls/The Room (Mattotti, 2003)

Big Questions #10 (Nilsen, 2007)

Big Questions #11: Sweetness and Light (Nilsen, 2008)

Big Questions #12: A Young Crow's Guide to Hunting (Nilsen, 2009)

Big Questions #13: A House That Floats (Nilsen, 2009)

Big Questions #14: Title and Deed (Nilsen, 2010)

The Black Diamond Detective Agency (E. Campbell & Mitchell, 2007)

Black Ghost Apple Factory (Tinder, 2006)

Black Hole (Burns, 2005) Giant Magazine version

Black Hole (Burns, 2005) Savage Critics version, Part I
Part II

Blackest Night #0-2 (Johns & Reis, 2009)

Blankets (Thompson, 2003)

Blankets revisited

Blar (Weing, 2005)

Bone (Smith, 2005)

Bonus ? Comics (Huizenga, 2009)

The Book of Genesis Illustrated (Crumb, 2009)

Bottomless Bellybutton (Shaw, 2008)

Boy's Club (Furie, 2006)

Boy's Club 2 (Furie, 2008)

Boy's Club 3 (Furie, 2009)

B.P.R.D. Vol. 9: 1946 (Mignola, Dysart, Azaceta, 2008)

B.P.R.D.: War on Frogs #4 (Arcudi & Snejbjerg, 2009)

Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! (Spiegelman, 2008)

Brilliantly Ham-fisted (Neely, 2008)

Burma Chronicles (Delisle, 2008)

Capacity (Ellsworth, 2008)

Captain America (Brubaker, Epting, Perkins et al, 2004-2008)

Captain America #33-34 (Brubaker & Epting, 2007-08)

Captain America: Reborn #4 (Brubaker & Hitch, 2009)

Captain Britain & MI:13 #5 (Cornell & Oliffe, 2008)

Cartoon Dialectics Vol. 1 (Kaczynski, 2007)

Chance in Hell (G. Hernandez, 2007)

Chester 5000 XYV (Fink, 2008-2009)

Chrome Fetus Comics #7 (Rickheit, 2009)

City-Hunter Magazine #1 (C.F., 2009)

Clive Barker's Seduth (Barker, Monfette, Rodriguez, Zone, 2009)

Clive Barker's The Thief of Always (Oprisko & Hernandez, 2005)

Closed Caption Comics #8 (various, 2009)

Cockbone (Simmons, 2009)

Cold Heat #1 (BJ & Santoro, 2006)

Cold Heat #2 (BJ & Santoro, 2006)

Cold Heat #4 (BJ & Santoro, 2007)

Cold Heat #5/6 (BJ & Santoro, 2009)

Cold Heat #7/8 (BJ & Santoro, 2009)

Cold Heat Special #2: The Chunky Gnars (Cornwell, 2007)

Cold Heat Special #3 (Santoro & Shaw, 2008)

Cold Heat Special #5 (Santoro & Smith, 2008)

Cold Heat Special #6 (Cornwell, 2009)

Cold Heat Special #7 (DeForge, 2009)

Cold Heat Special #8 (Santoro & Milburn, 2008)

Cold Heat Special #9 (Santoro & Milburn, 2009)

Comics Are For Idiots!: Blecky Yuckerella Vol. 3 (Ryan, 2008)

The Complete Persepolis (Satrapi, 2007)

Core of Caligula (C.F., 2008)

Crossing the Empty Quarter and Other Stories (Swain, 2009)

Cry Yourself to Sleep (Tinder, 2006)

Curio Cabinet (Brodowski, 2010)

Cyclone Bill & the Tall Tales (Dougherty, 2006)

Daredevil #103-104 (Brubaker & Lark, 2007-08)

Daredevil #110 (Brubaker, Rucka, Lark, Gaudiano, 2008)

The Dark Knight Strikes Again (Miller & Varley, 2003)

Dark Reign: The List #7--Wolverine (Aaron & Ribic, 2009)

Daybreak Episode Three (Ralph, 2008)

DC Universe #0 (Morrison, Johns et al, 2008)

The Death of Superman (Jurgens et al, 1993)

Death Note Vol. 1 (Ohba & Obata, 2005)

Death Note Vol. 2 (Ohba & Obata, 2005)

Death Trap (Milburn, 2010)

Detective Comics #854-860 (Rucka & Williams III, 2009-2010)

The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Gloeckner, 2002)

Dirtbags, Mallchicks & Motorbikes (Kiersh, 2009)

Don't Go Where I Can't Follow (Nilsen & Weaver, 2006)

Doom Force #1 (Morrison et al, 1992)

Doomwar #1 (Maberry & Eaton, 2010)

Dr. Seuss Goes to War (Seuss/Minear, 2001)

Dragon Head Vols. 1-5 (Mochizuki, 2005-2007)

A Drifting Life (Tatsumi, 2009)

Driven by Lemons (Cotter, 2009)

Eightball #23 (Clowes, 2004)

Ex Machina Vols. 1-9 (Vaughan, Harris et al, 2005-2010)

Exit Wounds (Modan, 2007)

The Exterminators Vol. 1: Bug Brothers (Oliver & Moore, 2006)

Fallen Angel (Robel, 2006)

Fandancer (Grogan, 2010)

Fatal Faux-Pas (Gaskin, 2008)

FCHS (Delsante & Freire, 2010)

Feeble Minded Funnies/My Best Pet (Milburn/Freibert, 2009)

Fight or Run: Shadow of the Chopper (Huizenga, 2008)

Final Crisis #1 (Morrison & Jones, 2008)

Final Crisis #1-7 (Morrison, Jones, Pacheco, Rudy, Mahnke et al, 2008-2009)

Fires (Mattotti, 1991)

First Time (Sibylline et al, 2009)

Flash: Rebirth #4 (Johns & Van Sciver, 2009)

Follow Me (Moynihan, 2009)

Footnotes in Gaza (Sacco, 2009)

Forbidden Worlds #114: "A Little Fat Nothing Named Herbie!" (O'Shea [Hughes] & Whitney, 1963)

Forlorn Funnies #5 (Hornschemeier, 2004)

Forming (Moynihan, 2009-2010)

Fox Bunny Funny (Hartzell, 2007)

Funny Misshapen Body (Brown, 2009)

Gags (DeForge)

Galactikrap 2 (Chippendale, 2007)

Ganges #2 (Huizenga, 2008)

Ganges #3 (Huizenga, 2009)

Gangsta Rap Posse #1 (Marra, 2009)

The Gigantic Robot (Gauld, 2009)

Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life (Paley & Swain, 2009)

A God Somewhere (Arcudi & Snejbjerg, 2010)

Goddess Head (Shaw, 2006)

The Goddess of War, Vol. 1 (Weinstein, 2008)

GoGo Monster (Matsumoto, 2009)

The Goon Vols. 0-2 (Powell, 2003-2004)

Green Lantern #43-51 (Johns, Mahnke, Benes, 2009-2010)

Held Sinister (Stechschulte, 2009)

Hellboy Junior (Mignola, Wray et al, 2004)

Hellboy Vol. 8: Darkness Calls (Mignola & Fegredo, 2008)

Henry & Glenn Forever (Neely et al, 2010)

High Moon Vol. 1 (Gallaher & Ellis, 2009)

Ho! (Brunetti, 2009)

How We Sleep (Davis, 2006)

I Killed Adolf Hitler (Jason, 2007)

I Live Here (Kirshner, MacKinnon, Shoebridge, Simons et al, 2008)

I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets! (Hanks, Karasik, 2007)

Image United #1 (Kirkman, Liefeld et al, 2009)

The Immortal Iron Fist #12 (Brubaker, Fraction, Aja, Kano, Pulido, 2008)

The Immortal Iron Fist #21 (Swierczynski & Green, 2008)

Immortal Weapons #1 (Aaron, Swierczynski et al, 2009)

In a Land of Magic (Simmons, 2009)

In the Flesh: Stories (Shadmi, 2009)

Incanto (Santoro, 2006)

Incredible Change-Bots (Brown, 2007)

The Incredible Hercules #114-115 (Pak, Van Lente, Pham, 2008)

Inkweed (Wright, 2008)

Invincible Vols. 1-9 (Kirkman, Walker, Ottley, 2003-2008)

Invincible Iron Man #1-4 (Fraction & Larroca, 2008)

Invincible Iron Man #8 (Fraction & Larroca, 2008)

Invincible Iron Man #19 (Fraction & Larroca, 2009)

It Was the War of the Trenches (Tardi, 2010)

It's Sexy When People Know Your Name (Hannawalt, 2007)

Jessica Farm Vol. 1 (Simmons, 2008)

Jin & Jam #1 (Jo, 2009)

JLA Classified: Ultramarine Corps (Morrison & McGuinness, 2002)

Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer (Katchor, 1996)

Jumbly Junkery #8-9 (Nichols, 2009-2010)

Just a Man #1 (Mitchell & White, 2009)

Justice League: The New Frontier Special (Cooke, Bone, Bullock, 2008)

Keeping Two (Crane, 2001-)

Kick-Ass #1-4 (Millar & Romita Jr., 2008)

Kid Eternity (Morrison & Fegredo, 1991)

Kill Your Boyfriend (Morrison & Bond, 1995)

King-Cat Comics and Stories #69 (Porcellino, 2008)

Kramers Ergot 4 (Harkham et al, 2003)

Kramers Ergot 5 (Harkham et al, 2004)

Kramers Ergot 6 (Harkham et al, 2006)

Kramers Ergot 7 (Harkham et al, 2008)

The Lagoon (Carre, 2008)

The Last Call Vol. 1 (Lolos, 2007)

The Last Lonely Saturday (Crane, 2000)

The Last Musketeer (Jason, 2008)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier (Moore & O'Neill, 2007)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 3: Century #1: 1910 (Moore & O'Neill, 2009)

Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga (Levitz, Giffen, Mahlstedt, Bruning, 1991)

Little Things (Brown, 2008)

Look Out!! Monsters #1 (Grogan, 2008)

Lose #1-2 (DeForge, 2009-2010)

Lost Kisses #9 & 10 (Mitchell, 2009)

Love and Rockets: New Stories #1 (Los Bros Hernandez, 2008)

Low Moon (Jason, 2009)

The Mage's Tower (Milburn, 2008)

Maggots (Chippendale, 2007)

The Man with the Getaway Face (Cooke, 2010)

Mattie & Dodi (Davis, 2006)

McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #13 (Ware et al, 2004)

Mercury (Larson, 2010)

Mesmo Delivery (Grampa, 2008)

Micrographica (French, 2007)

Mister Wonderful (Clowes, 2007-2008)

Mome Vol. 4: Spring/Summer 2006 (various, 2006)

Mome Vol. 9: Fall 2007 (various, 2007)

Mome Vol. 10: Winter/Spring 2008 (various, 2008)

Mome Vol. 11: Summer 2008 (various, 2008)

Mome Vol. 12: Fall 2008 (various, 2008)

Mome Vol. 13: Winter 2009 (various, 2008)

Mome Vol. 14: Spring 2009 (various, 2009)

Mome Vol. 15: Summer 2009 (various, 2009)

Mome Vol. 16: Fall 2009 (various, 2009)

Mome Vol. 17: Winter 2010 (various, 2009)

Mome Vol. 18: Spring 2010 (various, 2010)

Mome Vol. 19: Summer 2010 (various, 2010)

Monkey & Spoon (Lia, 2004)

Monster Men Bureiko Lullaby (Nemoto, 2008)

Monsters (Dahl, 2009)

Monsters & Condiments (Wiegle, 2009)

Monstrosity Mini (Diaz, 2010)

Mother, Come Home (Hornschemeier, 2003)

The Mourning Star Vols. 1 & 2 (Strzepek, 2006 & 2009)

Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 (Petersen, 2008)

Mr. Cellar's Attic (Freibert, 2010)

Multiforce (Brinkman, 2009)

Multiple Warheads #1 (Graham, 2007)

My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Heatley, 2008)

The Mystery of Woolverine Woo-Bait (Coleman, 2004)

Naoki Urasawa's Monster Vols. 1-3 (Urasawa, 2006)

Naoki Urasawa's Monster Vols. 4-5 (Urasawa, 2006)

Naoki Urasawa's Monster Vols. 6-18 (Urasawa, 2006-2008)

Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys Vols. 1-3 (Urasawa, 2009)

Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys Vols. 4 & 5 (Urasawa, 2009)

Neely Covers Comics to Give You the Creeps! (Neely, 2010)

Neighbourhood Sacrifice (Davidson, DeForge, Gill, 2009)

Never Ending Summer (Cole, 2004)

Never Learn Anything from History (Beaton, 2009)

Neverland (Kiersh, 2008)

New Avengers #44 (Bendis & Tan, 2008)

New Construction #2 (Huizenga, May, Zettwoch, 2008)

New Engineering (Yokoyama, 2007)

New Painting and Drawing (Jones, 2008)

New X-Men Vol. 6: Planet X (Morrison & Jimenez, 2004)

New X-Men Vol. 7: Here Comes Tomorrow (Morrison & Silvestri, 2004)

Nicolas (Girard, 2008)

Night Business #1 & 2 (Marra, 2008 & 2009)

Night Business #3 (Marra, 2010)

Nil: A Land Beyond Belief (Turner, 2007)

Ninja (Chippendale, 2006)

Nocturnal Conspiracies (David B., 2008)

not simple (Ono, 2010)

The Numbers of the Beasts (Cheng, 2010)

Ojingogo (Forsythe, 2008)

Olde Tales Vol. II (Milburn, 2007)

One Model Nation (Taylor, Leitch, Rugg, Porter, 2009)

Or Else #5 (Huizenga, 2008)

The Other Side #1-2 (Aaron & Stewart, 2005)

Owly Vol. 4: A Time to Be Brave (Runton, 2007)

Owly Vol. 5: Tiny Tales (Runton, 2008)

Paper Blog Update Supplemental Postcard Set Sticker Pack (Nilsen, 2009)

Paradise Kiss Vols. 1-5 (Yazawa, 2002-2004)

The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack (Gurewitch, 2009)

Peter's Muscle (DeForge, 2010)

Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days (Columbia, 2009)

Pixu I (Ba, Cloonan, Lolos, Moon, 2008)

Pizzeria Kamikaze (Keret & A. Hanuka, 2006)

Plague Hero (Adebimpe, 2009)

Planetary Book 3: Leaving the 20th Century (Ellis & Cassaday, 2005)

Planetes Vols. 1-3 (Yukimura, 2003-2004)

The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Eisner, 2005)

Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka Vols. 1-3 (Urasawa, Nagasaki, Tezuka, 2009)

Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka Vols. 1-8 (Urasawa, Nagasaki, Tezuka, 2009-2010)

Pocket Full of Rain and Other Stories (Jason, 2008)

pood #1 (various, 2010)

Powr Mastrs Vol. 1 (C.F., 2007)

Powr Mastrs Vol. 2 (C.F., 2008)

Prison Pit: Book 1 (Ryan, 2009)

Prison Pit: Book 2 (Ryan, 2010)

Real Stuff (Eichhorn et al, 2004)

Red Riding Hood Redux (Krug, 2009)

Refresh, Refresh (Novgorodoff, Ponsoldt, Pierce, 2009)

Remake (Abrams, 2009)

Reykjavik (Rehr, 2009)

Ronin (Miller, 1984)

Rumbling Chapter Two (Huizenga, 2009)

The San Francisco Panorama Comics Section (various, 2010)

Scott Pilgrim Full-Colour Odds & Ends 2008 (O'Malley, 2008)

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together (O'Malley, 2007)

Scott Piglrim Vol. 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe (O'Malley, 2009)

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour (O'Malley, 2010)

Second Thoughts (Asker, 2009)

Service Industry (Bak, 2007)

Set to Sea (Weing, 2010)

Seven Soldiers of Victory Vols. 1-4 (Morrison et al, 2004)

Shenzhen (Delisle, 2008)

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 (Hickman & Weaver, 2010)

Shitbeams on the Loose #2 (various, 2010)

Show Off (Burrier, 2009)

Siege (Bendis & Coipel, 2010)

Siberia (Maslov, 2008)

Skim (Tamaki & Tamaki, 2008)

Skyscrapers of the Midwest (Cotter, 2008)

Skyscrapers of the Midwest #4 (Cotter, 2007)

Sleeper Car (Ellsworth, 2009)

Sloe Black (DeForge)

Slow Storm (Novgorodoff, 2008)

Snake 'n' Bacon's Cartoon Cabaret (Kupperman, 2000)

Snake Oil #5: Wolf (Forsman, 2009)

Snow Time (Krug, 2010)

Solanin (Asano, 2008)

Soldier X #1-8 (Macan & Kordey, 2002-2003)

Speak of the Devil (G. Hernandez, 2008)

Spider-Man: Fever #1 (McCarthy, 2010)

Split Lip Vol. 1 (Costello et al, 2009)

Squadron Supreme (Gruenwald et al, 1986)

The Squirrel Machine (Rickheit, 2009)

Stay Away from Other People (Hannawalt, 2008)

Storeyville (Santoro, 2007)

Strangeways: Murder Moon (Maxwell, Garagna, Gervasio, Jok, 2008)

Studio Visit (McShane, 2010)

Stuffed! (Eichler & Bertozzi, 2009)

Sulk Vol. 1: Bighead & Friends (J. Brown, 2009)

Sulk Vol. 2: Deadly Awesome (J. Brown, 2009)

Sulk Vol. 3: The Kind of Strength That Comes from Madness (Brown, 2009)

Superman #677-680 (Robinson & Guedes, 2008)

Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941 (Sadowski et al, 2009)

Sweet Tooth #1 (Lemire, 2009)

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #4 (Kupperman, 2008)

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #5 (Kupperman, 2009)

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #6 (Kupperman, 2010)

Tales of Woodsman Pete (Carre, 2006)

Tekkon Kinkreet: Black and White (Matsumoto, 2007)

Teratoid Heights (Brinkman, 2003) ADDTF version

Teratoid Heights (Brinkman, 2003) TCJ version

They Moved My Bowl (Barsotti, 2007)

Thor: Ages of Thunder (Fraction, Zircher, Evans, 2008)

Three Shadows (Pedrosa, 2008)

Tokyo Tribes Vols. 1 & 2 (Inoue, 2005)

Top 10: The Forty-Niners (Moore & Ha, 2005)

Travel (Yokoyama, 2008)

Trigger #1 (Bertino, 2010)

The Troll King (Karlsson, 2010)

Two Eyes of the Beautiful (Smith, 2010)

Ultimate Comics Avengers #1 (Millar & Pacheco, 2009)

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 (Bendis & LaFuente, 2009)

Ultimate Spider-Man #131 (Bendis & Immonen, 2009)

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite (Way & Ba, 2008)

Uptight #3 (Crane, 2009)

Wally Gropius (Hensley, 2010)

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Water Baby (R. Campbell, 2008)

Weathercraft (Woodring, 2010)

Werewolves of Montpellier (Jason, 2010)

Wednesday Comics #1 (various, 2009)

West Coast Blues (Tardi & Manchette, 2009)

Wet Moon, Book 1: Feeble Wanderings (Campbell, 2004)

Wet Moon, Book 2: Unseen Feet (Campbell, 2006)

Weird Schmeird #2 (Smith, 2010)

What Had Happened Was... (Collardey, 2009)

Where Demented Wented (Hayes, 2008)

Where's Waldo? The Fantastic Journey (Handford, 2007)

Whiskey Jack & Kid Coyote Meet the King of Stink (Cheng, 2009)

Wiegle for Tarzan (Wiegle, 2010)

Wilson (Clowes, 2010)

The Winter Men (Lewis & Leon, 2010)

The Witness (Hob, 2008)

Wormdye (Espey, 2008)

Worms #4 (Mitchell & Traub, 2009)

Worn Tuff Elbow (Marc Bell, 2004)

The Would-Be Bridegrooms (Cheng, 2007)

XO #5 (Mitchell & Gardner, 2009)

You Are There (Forest & Tardi, 2009)

You'll Never Know Book One: A Good and Decent Man (Tyler, 2009)

Young Lions (Larmee, 2010)

Your Disease Spread Quick (Neely, 2008)

The Trouble with The Comics Journal's News Watch, Part I
Part II


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KEEP COMICS EVIL


Comics Time: Locas, or Announcing LOVE AND ROCKTOBER (Attentiondeficitdisorderly Too Flat)

October 1, 2010

Comics Time: Locas, or Announcing LOVE AND ROCKTOBER

NOTE: Nearly six years ago, I panned Jaime Hernandez's life's work in The Comics Journal. Though this is probably the Comics Journal-est thing I've ever done, for the Journal or anywhere else, it's not one of my prouder moments as a critic. At the time I was coming down from the high of brother Gilbert's epic Palomar hardcover and his two stand-alone masterpieces Poison River and Love and Rockets X. By comparison, Jaime's stuff, though prettier on the outside, was basically about the female Latina punk versions of Beavis and Butt-Head. Unable to see past the fact that Maggie and Hopey were annoying and did stupid shit a lot of the time, I gave Locas, which collected all their stories from Love and Rockets v1, a bad review.

Here's where I make up for it.

I happy to announce the start of LOVE AND ROCKTOBER here at Attentiondeficitdisorderly. For the next month, I'll be devoting my regularly scheduled Comics Time reviews to as much of Los Bros Hernandez' work as I can get through, starting with the Jaime material I misguidedly maligned. I believe that Love and Rockets is all but unique in comics in the way it has taken advantage of serialization to slowly create a rich and enveloping world peopled with multifaceted characters who seem to be living lives on and off the page. And it did this twice, simultaneously! With this in mind I think it's a book that's best consumed the way great TV shows are best consumed: In huge, weeks-long binges. It may be Fantagraphics' wonderful Love and Rockets digests facilitating this rather than Netflix, but the principle is the same.

So, first up, Jaime and the Locas stories. After that? I might continue forward with Xaime till I'm caught up. I might switch over to Beto's stuff. (And Mario's too!) I might do both (which I imagine would necessitate LOVEMBER AND ROCKETS). I might do neither. But whatever I do, I'm going to enjoy the hell out of it, and I hope you do too.

First, let's start by revisiting sins past: My Comics Journal review of Locas, which I'd avoided re-posting here on the blog for years, waiting for precisely this sort of opportunity to serve as a corrective. Please take everything you are about to read with a grain of salt, as much of what I once saw to be weaknesses I now recognize as strengths. And Jaime, if you're out there: Sorry, man!

---

Photobucket

Locas
Jaime Hernandez, writer/artist
Fantagraphics Books, October 2004
712 pages, hardcover
$49.95
Buy it from Fantagraphics
Buy it from Amazon.com

The first collection to span one of Los Bros Hernandez' major output during the first 20-year run of their umbrella title Love and Rockets was Palomar, an anthology of brother Gilbert's chronicles of the titular Mexican town. Aside from a few frustrating attempts to muddle through the multi-genre mishmash of Music for Mechanics, L&R's first softcover volume, Palomar was my first real exposure to Los Bros' series. To say "it's a tough act to follow" would be to imply that one of maybe the three or four greatest achievements in comics history could be followed at all, so instead I'll say that I was almost totally unprepared for how thoroughly the book would floor me. Gilbert's uncanny grasp of the totality of each of his characters allowed him to jump back and forth in time with ease, showing us different periods in their lives that for all their temporal disconnect never made anything but perfect sense for each indelible creation. His senses of humor, horror, and eroticism would each be enough to sustain the career of a lesser cartoonist for years at a stretch. The book succeeded as maybe the great long-form narrative in comics, even (as I learned later) despite the fact that it for some reason omitted major related works like Love and Rockets X and especially Poison River, without which much of the book's concluding section was difficult to follow. Perhaps most impressively, Gilbert's mastery of the formal stuff of cartooning -- of line, design, characterization, caricature, panel transitions, the whole shmear -- was so complete that I had to wonder (partially in skepticism, partially in giddy anticipation of fresh discoveries), "The other brother's supposed to be the better artist?"

Locas, Love and Rockets' second definitive hardcover collection, focuses on the work of that other brother, the "better artist," Jaime -- and I'm not sure if I can remember a more awkward comics-reading experience than my recent sojourn through its 700-plus pages. I say this not because of the book's unwieldy length. I say it rather because of the dual irony that this massive collection could consist of material that feels so slight, and that after reading the single longest comic book I've ever come across I should find myself with so little to say.

One thing I will say, since it's unavoidable, is that the book is nowhere near the masterpiece that Palomar is. It could be argued that it's unfair to compare the two works simply because their authors are brothers. Now, I don't think it could be argued persuasively -- when one spends years and years sharing funnybook real estate with one's sibling and indeed adopts a collective moniker, one invites such comparisons -- but that's not even the point. Locas suffers in comparison to Palomar, but so do most comics. The point is that it suffers from much more than that as well.

Things get off to a rough start with the uneasy blend of sci-fi, soap opera and cheeky revolutionary politics found in "Mechanix" and "Las Mujeres Perdidas," the two big storylines that begin the collection. This is not to say that even these unrepresentative, shaky stories do not have much to recommend them. Here Jaime's art most clearly displays his classic influences, imbuing the dinosaur-fighting and rocket-flying action with beauty and dynamism. "Mechanix"' unusual structure -- a series of letters from traveling mechanic Maggie to her best friend and fellow punk Hopey, punctuated with predominantly stand-alone panels which illustrate the text -- serves as an early indication of Jaime's great strength, that of graphic design. The title panels/pages Jaime constructs are inevitably the best looking part of any of his stories, as they allow his gifted use of high contrast and his inventive and iconic lettering and portraiture to shine; since "Mechanix" is essentially a series of such images, it's awfully nice to look at.

Yet already the flippant tone Jaime adopts for writing his characters, one he will be unable to shake off throughout the book, works to his detriment. Maggie essentially has two settings for looking at the world: Everything's either a goof or a tragedy. This gives these early stories, in which the lives of thousands of people, including our heroine and her friends, are often at stake in power struggles between crazed plutocrats, an air of frantic, bipolar absurdity that does not at all suit them. Perhaps the intention was a sort of Duck Soup-style lampooning of love and life in the nuclear age, but the stories come off as inconsistent and unsure of what they want to be and how they want to be it.

Before long the sci-fi trappings are shed entirely, seemingly more out of embarrassment than aesthetic evolution. The high-decibel hijinx, however, remain. Maggie and her sometime-girlfriend, sometime-best friend Hopey spend the bulk of the book fuming, with exclamation points and distorted kabuki-mask faces abounding. Listen, I've certainly known people who've spent years and years dancing around their true feelings for each other, but never so loudly! It's like a soap opera scripted by Fourth World-era Jack Kirby! When quieter characters like Hopey's ex-girlfriend and current bandmate Terry or witchy, death-haunted Izzy appear, I swear I can hear my ears ringing in the relative silence.

If Jaime has a claim to greatness in these pages, it's in his creation of those two comparatively minor characters. Terry Downe looks so much like The Amazing Spider-Man's Mary Jane Watson that she might as well be a fanfic version of her: "What if Gwen Stacy had lived, and M.J. moved to California, got into punk rock, and became a lesbian?" But behind her resolute, John Romita-derived wall of punk cool, there's just oceans of pain, observable both in her relentless quest for musical success (given what we know of her, this may well be possible) and for Hopey (given what we know of Hopey, this isn't). She's easily the book's most compelling character, and the story in which she stars, "Tear It Up, Terry Downe," is easily its most compelling sequence. With alarming proficiency not in evidence elsewhere in the book, Jaime constructs a riveting story out of disjointed panels, each depicting a scene from different stages in Terry's life or a comment from someone who knows or knew her, each offering a vital glimpse of the origins of her reserved persona. Clearly, it's one born out of trauma rather than pretension. (Would that this could be said for the object of her unrequited love: Hopey's early relationship with Terry is undoubtedly tumultuous, but it feels as though this simply brought out obnoxious qualities in the character that were already extant.)

Black-clad psychic Izzy is also a revelation. Her premonition of disaster in "The Death of Speedy Ortiz" is the truly haunting moment in a story I found to be otherwise quite oversold by its admirers (who are many, and vocal); her fascination with the missing-persons ad Hopey eventually finds herself on is equally memorable, as is her quietly built-up battle with cancer, and indeed the simple presence of her stoic countenance in a book that's full to bursting with mugging. But Izzy's great shining moment, "Flies on the Ceiling," isn't even included in the collection. Meanwhile, a zany, Warner Bros.-style Maggie'n'Hopey romp redrawn from a comic made when the brothers were little kids is included, proving that the parameters of the collection -- "The Maggie and Hopey Stories" -- may have been more than a little short-sighted.

Jaime's technical skills as an artist are not to be scoffed at, obviously. This is a beautiful book. Each of his characters is a wonder in design, and even as Jaime's style shifts from the rendered EC-isms of the early stories into a sort of graphic-design shorthand by book's end, you simply have to marvel at his skill in creating recognizable characters who maintain their essence through over a decade of hairstyle and hair-color changes, weight gain and loss, and radically shifting stations in life. (This last, too, is a strength of the book: Locas is one of comics' more interesting explorations of the simultaneous fluidity and rigidity of America's class-and-race caste system, all the more so since the topic seems to get explored almost incidentally.) The art's strongest moments come during several pin-up style panels depicting Hopey and Terry's band on stage during their ill-fated tour. Simply put: If there are better depictions in this medium of the allure of punk rock than the page-spanning panels in "Jerusalem Crickets 1987," I'd like to see 'em. Too bad that so few of the characters seem to have gotten much more out of punk than an excuse to act like jerks and push their loved ones away -- and too bad we're supposed to think that the band's drummer is an idiot for wanting to play like John Bonham. Odd that an artist's love of technical proficiency would be mocked in a Jaime Hernandez comic!

Meanwhile, Jaime's temporal jump-cuts demonstrate a wonderful faith in the intelligence of the reader to follow the increasingly complex lives of the characters. The problem here, though, is that the characters lack the strength of characterization to back these jumps up. As presented within Locas, too many characters suddenly appear from nowhere and are given prominence that their development itself won't bear. The character of Tex, for example, emerges suddenly to become a pivotal player during some of the book's central stories: He helps Hopey escape from her band's rapidly imploding tour, then ends up impregnating both Hopey and her larger-than-life trophy-wife friend Penny Century before just kind of petering out of the storyline. Now, I can already hear people say "but this is how life works," and indeed I've got a roster of ex-friends as long as your arm to prove it, but life also includes two hour visits to the DMV. Trueness to life is a potential means to the end of great art, not a guarantor of it. (At any rate, few people's true-life trajectory involves knocking up two lipstick lesbians in one of said lipstick lesbians' so-big-there-are-whole-wings-no-one-sets-foot-in mansion, owned by said lipstick lesbian's horned husband.) A natural-feeling rapport between familiar and out-of-nowhere characters can be established -- see Ralph Cifaretto's introduction in The Sopranos, Wolverine's conversation with Doop in Milligan and Allred's X-Force (I shit you not), or really any such incident in Palomar -- but in Locas the continuous accrual of sisters, cousins, roommates, co-workers, ex-girlfriends, bandmates, tag-team partners and so on feels forced and arbitrary, and at its worst like a convenient distraction from the voids at the centers of the two main characters.

That, too, is the problem. Yes, I'm sure we all know basket cases like Maggie and angry youth like Hopey, but so what? I also know several people (say) with masters degrees in engineering, and if they weren't also interesting people, no degree of accuracy in the depiction of their lives would save a comic I might make about them from being rather pointless. Near as I can tell, there's simply not much to Maggie and Hopey. The funny thing is they are so very often held up to be the pinnacle of multi-dimensional female characters in the male-dominated world of comics. Now, I'm not sure I see the feminist victory present in the ongoing chronicles of beautiful, bed-hopping, punked-out teenage lesbians; otherwise I guess we could all trade in our P.J. Harvey records for those Tatu girls. (And let's not even get started on Penny Century, a character whose sole purpose seems to be to conveniently deploy her tits, mansions, or both, depending on the needs of a given story.) But even putting all that aside, what is so wonderfully multi-dimensional about a girl who is continuously pining, fuming, or (to steal a line from Tina Fey's Mean Girls) eating her feelings, or a girl whose sole, and I do mean sole, means of interacting with the world is to embrace terrible behavior on the part of herself and those around her toward anyone she might be tempted to care about? The torpedoing of one's own chances at happiness is often a fascinating topic for comics, yet only if the character doing the torpedoing seems to have some inner life worth preserving does that fascination arise. Hopey, a character who among other things bounces back from a miscarriage like it was the common cold, ostentatiously applauds the sexual depravity of a group of wealthy acquaintances until it inevitably erupts into violence, kicks the snot out of her ex-best friend for no good reason, and (during a flashback) delivers her new friend Daffy into a terrifying encounter with an unhinged, nymphomaniacal pro-wrestler just for gits and shiggles, does not have such an inner life. Hopey is at her most interesting in the story "A Date with Hopey." Told from the point of view of a character that we never see before or again, it describes the instant rapport like-minded, alienated youth feel for one another, and the mysterious way in which such instant closeness evaporates. With Hopey, evaporate is all it can do. (Maggie, saddled as she is with years spent in love with this woman, is rendered uninteresting by osmosis.) Like Daffy after that pro-wrestler flashback, we're left wondering: Is the woman we've spent years (or the page-count equivalent thereof) questing after like some combination of Dulcinea and Moby Dick really just kind of a boring asshole? And has punk -- along with Latino culture and professional woman's wrestling, milieus Jaime chronicles with a great deal of self-evident passion and love -- taught her anything aside from how to be professionally unpleasant, to the detriment of herself, her friends, and us readers?

A little over a year ago, before the release of Palomar and Locas rendered such questions irrelevant, I wondered where was the best place for a Love and Rockets neophyte to start reading the series. As a result I posted a thread to this publication's Internet message board, entitled "Help me learn to like Love and Rockets." The gist of the post was this: As a stickler for reading any given series in the chronological order of its release, I'd found myself stymied at the logical starting place, Music for Mechanics, which I'd tried and failed to get through three or four times now. My hope was that an alternate option would be proposed. Little did I expect the combination of bafflement, indignation and fury that would be aimed in the post's direction. Though I did receive a number of considered and considerate recommendations, the general attitude displayed by the board toward those who had not already pledged allegiance to Los Bros could be likened to those T-shirts you sometimes see straightedge hardcore kids wearing, the ones that say "If you're not now, you never were!" If I didn't already love Love and Rockets, if I didn't already see why it deserved its two decades of plaudits, it's probably best if I just shut the fuck up about it. In other words, "If you're not now, you never will be!"

I wanted to like the Maggie and Hopey stories as much as I was supposed to. I wanted to let the strength of "Tear It Up, Terry Downe" and "A Date with Hopey" and parts of "Chester Square," "Wigwam Bam" and "The Death of Speedy Ortiz" convince me of the near-messianic value of the volume's remaining 650 pages. But in the end, maybe Maggie, Hopey, and Jaime's whole half of L&R are like the early gigs of the band Ape Sex that the pair reminisce over, heaping scorn on those who weren't in attendance. Maybe you had to be there.

Comments (13)

I fully support and endorse LOVE AND ROCKTOBERFEST.

I've been meaning to do a reread through the material as well so I might join you. (In between volumes of A Song of Ice and Fire.)

I would recommend doing all the Jaime Locas material (v1 + v2) then all the Gilbert Palomar material (v1 + v2), then Mario + odds and ends, then v3.


COOP:

I gotta say, you might be better off reading this stuff in the original floppy format. There was something about the wonderful chemistry of Los. Bros. stories side by side, in semi-regular chunks, that might be lessened by the omnibus format. Anyway, that's how I read 'em. I grew up with those characters; their lives ran parallel to mine.


Hey man, looks like we're both undertaking some long form stuff this month. Seriously though, this is a great idea and I really enjoy it when you do extended reads on things like Barker's work and The Dark Tower stuff. I love this series unabashedly and can't wait to follow along with you.

That said, man, that LOCAS review was tough, for this fan anyway. Happy to see you're going back and giving it another shot.


B.W. Costello:

In some ways, I think this review holds up pretty well as a critique of LOCAS as opposed to of L&R or of Jaime's work generally. As COOP notes, this isn't really how they were meant to be read, and leaving out stories like "Flies on the Ceiling" and (I presume) "Spring 1982" and other ones focusing on the rest of the cast -- I almost called them peripheral characters, but that's buying into the logic of the collection, which is what I'm arguing we shouldn't do -- intensifies the focus on Maggie and Hopey in a way that isn't always to the benefit of their stories. Texas showing up and then bowing out somehow doesn't seem as arbitrary if it's in the context of stories that are also about Ray, Doyle, etc.

It's been interesting to watch Fantagraphics struggle with the challenge of collecting L&R. I think the new-format digest collections work great for Jaime but not always very well for Gilbert -- especially in the second volume, there's something jarring about jumping from the end of "Human Diastrophism" (the story) to "Farewell My Palomar" and the other later material without the benefit of the info in (and the experience of reading) "Poison River."


B.W. Costello:

Extending my earlier comment a bit, I think it's possible to read LOCAS as an artifact of its particular moment in the evolution of comics readership and how that evolution shapes the print culture of comics: That is, the effect of LOCAS is not only to make a big chunk of Jaime's comics accessible in one package, but also to shape the messy sprawl of L&R into something resembling the "graphic novel" of the sort reviewed in the New York Times Book Review, etc. Although I'm not suggesting it was Fantagraphics' or Jaime's intent, LOCAS, as a package, is as much a bid for legitimacy and recognition as it is celebration of Jaime's work or a handy way of accessing it. And I think your review points out what is lost in the transition from "comic book" to "graphic novel," when a linear story is privileged over the branching and dividing that is a real part of the comic's appeal.


Hob:

They left out "Flies on the Ceiling" and "Spring 1982"????

Wha... why... huh?


Hob, for reasons I cannot begin to explain, the big LOCAS and PALOMAR hardcovers are not complete. Another reason I prefer the more recent paperback omnibus versions.

(Although I am assured that the big LOCAS II hardcover is complete for vol 2.)


I think the fact that I clicked in here expecting at least 5 of the 7 comments to be either spam or one person's comment accidentally triple-posted and instead got 7 actual comments tells me that this is going to be a fairly successful project. :)


Heh, I remember reading that TCJ piece a couple of years ago and wondering how the Sean T Collins who showed such impeccable taste on his website could possibly be the same Sean T Collins who wrote off one of my favourite comics of all time with a sneer and a shrug, while falling into the oldest, lamest trick in the book by comparing the two brother's work. (Fun fact: they're BOTH awesome.) I feel almost vindicated by the fact that it's been bothering you ever since.

I still go through periodic L&R binges, usually when I grab one issue at random, which inevitably leads to more and more, bouncing around a quarter-century of dense, funny and moving narrative. I'm really looking forward to seeing what else you have to say, Sean, especially on the post-v1 Jaime stuff, which is criminally under-rated.


Heidi M.:

No "Flies on the Ceiling" or "Spring 1982" is a serious flaw. But I'm glad to see you are atoning for your youthful sins, Sean.


We've talked about this at length before, of course (in person even!), but coming to L&R late as you did, I had much the same reaction as I began to work my way through the Jaime stuff. Unlike you, though, I had the benefit of reading it in these new phonebook editions, and so got the full experience of all the stories about the non-Maggie and Hopey characters that kept me in it. M&H annoyed me too, but I stuck around because of Ray, Doyle, Izzy, Terry, Danita, etc. The second book ends with "Flies on the Ceiling" and the third begins with "Wigwam Bam," which are pretty much my high points for the series (vol.1 anyway), so how you gonna put it down then?

What's interesting about Wigwam Bam is how M&H are sort of the lacuna at the center of the story - how they're there but not there, central but somehow peripheral. That blew me away, while mirroring my feelings about the stories in a strange way.

Since then I've read all three books again, all the way through. While I'm never going to have the "OMG MAGGIE AND HOPEY ARE LIKE MY BEST FRIENDS EVER" reaction that so many people have (and still confounds me) I've been able to absorb the full scope of Jaime's genius.


Doyle's omission from LOCAS was nigh unto criminal. Doyle remains a favorite-- the Hopey to Ray's Maggie. (I love how Jaime's characters 'flock': they recognize the need for psychic balance; who we pick to complement ourselves, and why, etc.)

Thirded the floppy opinion. There are Great Beto Issues, Great Jaime Issues, and Los Bros. Jamz-- to say nothing of the historical curio value to be found comparing the serialized chs. of 'L&RX' & 'Poison River' to their GN incarnations. You get interesting glimpses into Beto's creative process, viz. what pages (or panels) he chose to whittle, chop & rearrange.


MAD:

Hey Sean, I'm late to this post but still glad to see you revisiting (and re-evaluating) this great body of work. I'm doing the same myself (almost done with the first Locas volume, I'll follow it with Locas II) and enjoying it immensely (these are stories I haven't read in years). They resonate well in light of New Stories #3, which contains Jaime's greatest masterpiece in storytelling.

And, by the way, that was my post that accidentally posted three times in your Ex Machina review. Damned if I know how that happened. I'm still surprised that you deleted all of them, though. Didn't think it was *that* bad of a comment.


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