Surprises in the Details of Eleanor and the Egret 4

by Drew Baumgartner

Eleanor and the Egret 4

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

We call this story “Man in Hole,” but it needn’t be about a man and it needn’t be about somebody getting into a hole — it’s just a good way to remember it: Somebody gets into trouble and gets out of it again. People love that story. They never get sick of it.

Kurt Vonnegut

I’ve always been attracted to the kind of abstract narrative shapes Vonnegut famously catalogued in his Master’s Thesis — there’s something fascinating at the thought that virtually all stories draw from a narrow range of narrative trajectories. But, of course, looking at narratives in such an abstract way overlooks a lot of the texture and details that actually makes stories so thrilling in the first place. That is, while we might take it for a given that the man gets out of the whole, we can still be surprised at exactly how that happens. Those details are what distinguishes one narrative from another, yet even then, they can often feel rote and predictable. Not so with Eleanor and the Egret 4, which uses the cartoon logic of its high-concept premise to deliver some truly unexpected twists. Continue reading

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A Romp Through Absurdity in Fu Jitsu 1

by Drew Baumgartner

Fu Jitsu 1

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

I just killed James Dean and disarmed a bomb from the future.

Fu Jitsu, Fu Jitsu 1

My own interpretation of the solicit for Fu Jitsu 1 was “if Forrest Gump was a genius and immortal” — it’s an absurd premise, but one that could be fun. Turns out this issue is actually several times more absurd than I expected, but it embraces that absurdity so enthusiastically, I can’t help but love it. Continue reading

Explaining the Absurd in Eleanor and the Egret 3

by Drew Baumgartner

Eleanor and the Egret 3

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

One of my favorite Loony Tunes premises was that of “Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog,” the rival canines attempting to eat/protect a herd of sheep, respectively. Those cartoons are full of all of the great slapstick and expressions that make classic Chuck Jones cartoons such a pleasure, but by favorite gag is that, at the start and end of the day, Ralph and Sam punch their timecards — they’re just doing their jobs. Any other adversarial relationship in Loony Tunes, whether it’s Elmer Fudd and Bugs, Sylvester and Tweetie, or the (similarly designed) Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner, needs no further explanation; the motivations of the characters are enough to carry the gags. Ralph and Sam, though, have a reason beyond their apparent animal natures, something that tilts at the nonsensical task of explaining the cartoon logic of these characters. It somehow grounds them in reality while simultaneously heightening the absurdity of the situations they’re in. Eleanor and the Egret has always reveled in its own kind of absurdity, but issue 3 starts to reveal Eleanor’s backstory, hinting at some human emotions at the core of this cartoony world. Continue reading

American Monster 6

Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing American Monster 6, originally released May 17, 2017. As always, this article containers SPOILERS. Maybe-not-as-always this article contains some NSFW images.

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Patrick: Do you remember that day in elementary school when they split the class between boys and girls and tried to teach sex ed? I want to say it was 4th or 5th grade. It was a cursory look at the subject, content to cover some of the basic vocabulary and just get the kids past the point where they would giggle at every mention of the word penis. At the time, I thought it was a worthless exercise, but I’m starting to think it may have been counter-productive. By separating the genders, the teachers were sending the message that all this sex and body talk was somehow secretive. The boys weren’t being taught how to talk to girls about what was happening in their bodies, and whatever was happening in the girls’ bodies remained a total mystery to the boys. And vice versa. Sex is complicated, and it can have huge, everlasting effects on someone’s life, but we insist on a prudish secrecy around it nonetheless. American Monster 6 pushes its characters around on a carousel of sexual ignorance, misunderstanding and shame. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 5/17/17

Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, we discuss Archie 20Curse Words 5Eleanor and the Egret 2Star Wars: Poe Dameron 15Wicked + The Divine 455 AD 1, and World Reader 2. Also, we will be discussing Star Wars 31 on Tuesday and Jughead 15 and American Monster 6 on Wednesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS. Continue reading

Pestilence 1

Today, Michael and Drew are discussing Pestilence 1, originally released May 3rd, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: Deadwood is lauded as one of HBO’s greatest, albeit short-lived, series. One of the hallmarks of that show was creator David Milch’s decision to modernize the swearing habits of the Old West cowboys to make it as striking as more colloquial slang of the time was. I’m reminded of this in Pestilence 1 as its characters do much of the same as far as their speaking habits go. Another modernizing effect put in place? Zombies. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 5/3/17

Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, we discuss Extremity 3, Faith 11, Outcast 27, Shipwreck 4, and Star Wars: Poe Dameron 14. Also, we discussed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 69 on Friday, and will be discussing Pestilence 1 on Wednesday, so come back for that! As always, this article contains SPOILERS. Continue reading

World Reader 1

Today, Ryan D and Michael are discussing World Reader 1, originally released April 19th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan D: The history of storytelling has always fascinated me. The beginnings are a bit fuzzy, of course, because people told stories well before writing developed, but I think of those people charged with telling the stories gathering crowds around fires, reciting tales to make the darkness just a bit more bearable and less scary. Bards, shapers, soothsayers, priests of all kinds, judges, and rulers used stories to specific ends, or to keep a finger on the proud pulse of their specific peoples’ traditions. Nowadays, when I’m struggling to learn a two-minute monologue, I think of those storytellers who used dramatic conventions like stock epithet and repetition to recall epic tales which took days to tell. The tradition of the storyteller, thus places a great burden on the one who takes up the mantle. Smudge a detail and an entire history is skewed, forget a line and a whole era of tradition could be lost. World Reader 1 deals with this heavy sentence which the storyteller bears, and in itself begins telling a very tightly composed story. Continue reading

Eleanor and the Egret 1

Today, Patrick and Ryan M are discussing Eleanor and the Egret 1, originally released April 5, 2017. As always, this article containers SPOILERS!

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Patrick: Comic book fans have a weird relationships with the medium. For as much time as we spend staring at visually stunning works of art, we tend not to place too much value on what the art itself means to us. Oh sure, we can complain that some something is too cartoony or too pin-up or too grim-dark, and we can praise action sequences and cool-looking costumes, but all comic art is necessarily tied to something beyond the art itself. There’s a story, a message, a political point of view, a joke — the art straining to express something other than itself. Eleanor and the Egret is poised to flip those priorities, insisting on both the value and the meaning of the art by making it both subject and medium. The first issue is delightfully soothing, and nearly impossible to analyze against psychological and narrative norms. It’s so singularly beautiful, I wish I could eat it. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 4/5/17

Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, we discuss Captain Kid 5, Extremity 2, Faith 10, Star Wars 30 and Woods 31. Also, we discussed Black Cloud 1 on Thursday, Rock Candy Mountain 1 on Friday and Jughead 14 today. Also we’re discussing Eleanor and the Egret 1 on Tuesday and Paper Girls 13 on Wednesday, so check those out! As always, this article contains SPOILERS. Continue reading