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MomeReview - Mome
Summer 2005
by Gary Groth and Eric Reynolds (Editors)
Fantagraphics, 2005
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D.
Aug 16th 2005 (Volume 9, Issue 33)

Mome is a new quarterly release from Fantagraphics featuring work by some of the best new graphic artists around.  Some of the pieces will be in serial form, and so the continuations of their stories will appear in future issues.  Among the artists featured in the first issue are Gabrielle Bell, author of When I'm Old and Other Stories; Kurt Wolfgang; Paul Hornschemeier, author of Forlorn Funnies; Anders Nilsen, author of Ballad of the Two Headed Boy; Sophie Crumb; John Pham; Jeffrey Brown, author of Clumsy and AEIOU, David Heatley, publisher of Deadpan; and Andrice Arp, publisher of Hi-Horse.   Some of the pieces are in black and white, while other are in color, and the format of different contributions is quite varied, including an interview with Paul Hornschemeier by Gary Groth.

The first piece in the book, by Bell, is one of the best.  A wealthy man living in an apartment building invites a young female artist who lives down below him to drink with him.  He offers her cocaine and then suggests that she call in sick at her job in the video store so she can keep him company.  He even offers her all the money in his wallet for her to do this, which is much more than she would earn by going to work.  But she imagines her life if she accepted his offer, and declines.  It is a subtle piece from a woman's perspective, giving the sense of the options and choices available to her.  All the time, she remains impassive and unimpressed by the man who treats her with such little respect while still flattering her.  The drawing works very well to enhance the depersonalized sense of her existence.

David Heatley's "Overpeck" is a more bizarre work, narrated by a girl who is a duck and was forced by her father to have sex with a dog.  She endures the taunts of children and has a panic attack.  The vivid colors and idiosyncratic art make the work really distinctive, and one could see it as a post-modern surrealism.  Jon Pham's "Mildred Lee" crisply drawn and colored in orange and blue, is equally bizarre, especially because in Mildred's apartment is a guy, Terrence, sitting on her couch, who looks like he is just sausage cylinder with legs.  He doesn't say much.  Mildred needs money and she sneaks into Terrence's room and gets his piggy bank.  The piece is disconcerting because it isn't at all clear what is going on.  Presumably the story will clarify some of its mysteries in future issues. 

The contribution by Anders Nilsen, is one of the most conceptually ambitious, although it is also very puzzling.  Over a background of photographs, simple drawings show a man puzzling over his existence.  He starts talking about his aesthetic philosophy, yet then he shows that he is unclear about his identity, and he is slow to explain why he is wearing handcuffs.  Then it gets really strange.  It is hard to say what connects the photographs of mountains, city skyscrapers, a dead forest, and other striking images, or how they illuminate the content of the text.  They do provide a very distinctive feel to the piece though. 

Mome is an exciting new project in comic book art that should make more people aware of the talented young artists who are doing exciting work.  All the work here is good, and some of it is really memorable.   Fantagraphics is doing a great service in putting this together, and the editors should be congratulated on doing a fine job. 

 

Link: Mome at Fantagraphics

 

© 2005 Christian Perring. All rights reserved. 

 

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Review.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.


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