“It’s one of the few series that vaults to the head of the reading pile whenever it shows up in the mailbox. For whatever reason, Trondheim’s diary comics play to a number of things I nearly always find enjoyable in comics: an acerbic and idiosyncratic world view, pretty pictures, frequent gags, places I’ve never visited, comics industry backstage anecdotes made real. It’s smart and well-executed, and I always laugh despite myself at least once — in this volume it was the punchline to the strip about how cool it might be to be a caveman.
We don’t really have anything else like this comic right now, not in North America, not someone this talented working this particular territory with such reliable clarity.”
Now, if only he would review our other books… mumblmumbl.
“The Year of Loving Dangerously is just the second book I’ve read of Ted Rall’s, the first being his account of his travels along the Silk Road in Silk Road to Ruin. I quite enjoyed the latter, how he combined his memories of the trip with accurate descriptions of the people and political climes of the countries he visited along the Silk Road. This book didn’t disappoint, either. A graphic memoir that presents this one particular year, a year of many hardships to Ted Rall, realistically and often humorously, it shows what a person can do if he or she doesn’t give up when faced with a seemingly insurmountable roadblock. Though Rall considered suicide at one point in the book, he fortunately toughed it out and carried on. This story gives hope to us all.”
So says Curled Up with a Good Book
The next one, from Andrew Wheeler, is more nuanced:
“Rall’s story of the summer of 1984 is worthy of a graphic novel.” He starts to say but: “It does have a tendency to come across as bragging. But Rall’s dialogue and narration keep the story flowing, and Callejo (artist of Bluesman) draws a lot of very attractive women in and out of bed with the young Ted Rall. I still have the feeling that Rall is telling this story in a very slanted way — that he’s very carefully chosen how to present this time in his life to make himself look as glamorous and positive as possible — but it’s a very readable graphic memoir that will make all men close to Rall’s age either remember their own youth fondly or wish fervently that they’d been more “active” back in the day.”
The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
And there have been some much more scathing reviews of late on that note of Rall just showing off, including Rob Clough on The Comics Journal’s site where the art was also criticized which surprises us:
“A book that was all over the place: frequently entertaining, often baffling and contradicting itself at any number of turns. If only it had been Rall’s own hand depicting these events, then this messiness might have held a greater appeal.”
Most love the art but some just can’t get into the more realistic style Callejo chose, apparently. Also, interesting that all women who reviewed this, and there were many, didn’t see Rall as bragging, in fact they admired his survival skills!
“The works, complete and often accompanied with some of the initial drawings that led to the finished piece, are hauntingly beautiful. The poetry and power of the images depicted are timeless in their quality and the dark subject matter resonates in this age of Twilight. If you enjoy a fantasy art, this is one of better, stronger collections by an individual artist, and well worth the price tag for learners and appreciators alike.”
“The story is true, apparently, and unfolded in the 1980s after a freak medical condition resulted in Rall’s school expulsion for failure to take his final exams. Rall scripted but wisely left the illustrations to Callejo, who did a great job.”
“There’s a high level of cartooning skill on display in every panel, to the point where Houston fairly demands that the reader stop and linger on the images. A book that moved from mere self-indulgence to a uniquely comedic explosion of tightly-constructed gags and funny drawings.”
“This is the third volume in NBM’s new series of classic comic strip reprints, and it is their best thus far.
What McManus discovered in “Bringing Up Father” was a way to make the gag-a-day formula “flexible,” as he put it—to introduce new characters, new adventures, new environments and new economies without ever losing sight of the core of the joke. This volume reveals the artist coming to an awareness of that potential and the new possibilities as a cartoonist that he—and indeed the medium—has not fully realized up to that point. Perhaps the greatest pleasure in McManus’s work is the palpable pleasure that he always takes in his work, long after many of the most gifted cartoonists grew bored and began to phone it in. The dawning of that pleasure is on display in this terrific volume.”
Pop Syndicate says of Nowak’s new Graylight:
“Distinctively original and perfectly gorgeous artwork. Nowak employs a strange palette of colors, pastels mixed with earthy tones to create a lovely surreal vision of a winter landscape, a collection of characters utterly individual and reluctantly sharing a book with each other, much like the people in a Hopper painting. There is so much beauty in this little graphic novel that you will want to disassemble it and wallpaper your life with the pictures.
Intriguing story combined with powerful art makes Graylight a must-read.”
Playback:stl says of The Big Khan “Very highly recommended. Kleid‘s treatment of characters is pitch perfect. One of the book’s great strengths is its pacing and tone, conveyed by the frequent use of silent panels.”
AND with all the great buzz and reviews this book has now sold out its 1st printing! The second printing has just come in to keep up with demand.
“Roughly once a year throughout the ’00s, Rick Geary delivered another of his carefully researched, beautifully drawn “Treasury Of Victorian Murder” books (or lately, “Treasury Of XXth-Century Murder”). All are essential reading for comics fans and history buffs alike, but The Mystery Of Mary Rogers is especially fine.
Geary portrays the culture of New York in the mid-19th century as a hybrid of European sophistication and frontier barbarism, and as he muses on how a case can scandalize a community yet remain an utter mystery, he shows how fiction is born from our unceasing fascination with the lurid.”
We might have chosen another volume of Geary’s but hey! who are we to quibble?