Saturday, August 18, 2007

two people I know who make comics.

(cross posted with Elijahbrubaker(dot)com)
Terminal Culture #2
By Jeremy Kemp
digest sized minicomic
I've known Jeremy for a while. He and I went to high school together. I was a little older than him and we didn't mingle much. Earlier this year he and I reconnected through mutual friends and I was pleased to learn he was making comics.
Now this isn't the part of my "review" where I tell everyone to buy this thing because I know the guy and everything he touches is awesome. Terminal Culture is pretty rough around the edges but that's because Jeremy's still feeling his way through the whole comics-making process. Fans of superhero comics or kids comics should steer clear. Jeremy's book seems to have more in common with the Zap Comics crowd than Shazam! And when I say the Zap comics crowd I'm talking more along the lines of S. Clay Wilson or Spain Rodriguez. Jeremy's book has a crude extremism found in the best crazy underground comics like Zap and Slow Death. Kemp revels in shoving crazy shit in your face. readers will most likely get the feeling that he's experimenting with what is acceptable in a comic. There's lots of violence and body piercing and insanity.
The main story is a weird little supernatural crime drama that picks up nicely from the previous issue. Terminal Culture #1 had this disjointed feeling that is lacking in its sequel. One gets the feeling that Jeremy is on his way to discovering what it is he's saying and if the comics continue to progress and improve in this way I'm sure it will happen soon.
The follow up story in TC #2 involves Jeremy's acknowledgment that everyone he knows in Portland has a tattoo and he does not. It's really just a laundry list of people describing their feeling for or against certain tattoos (look for a little appearance by yours truly.) The backup pieces in TC are really where my affections lie. In these small autobio pieces Kemp seems to be expressing something a little more blatently personal and engaging that the TC main story. In Terminal Culture #1 there's an anecdote about taking LSD that is pretty compelling.
on myspace.

Better Looking Than A Blog
by Shawn Granton.
A lot of folks reading this already know Shawn or his comics. I met Shawn years ago at some comics event and I'd run into him here or there over the years. He really helped me out this last time I moved to Portland. Shawn's been making comics for a long time now and has come back to the form after a lengthy absence with a couple of books of diary strips.
I like the diary strip format, I've attempted to do one of my own a couple of times but drawing a new take on my life every day was too much for me. Granton pulls it off with a brilliant flair and a unique voice. That's the best part of diary strips for me, the fact that there are so many and with few exceptions they are all pretty unique to the person creating it.
I might even prefer Granton's diary comics to his older more rant-y stuff. His multi page comics often took on an air of disgruntledness (if that's a word) that could alienate readers on occasion. in his new diary strip Granton allows himself only enough room to make some (often very witty) observations and he moves on to the next day.
Like most diary strips, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. to read a single strip in this minicomic is to glimpse an insignificant insight into Shawn's world, to read the entire book is to encounter and examine much of Granton's inner life.
Shawn is one of the more active and enthusiastic portlanders I've met and he's involved in lots of interesting social circles, Reading his comics I feel like I've gained a certain vicarious insight into the workings of Portland, bike culture, hostels, zines and other sundry subcultures.
Shawn at SITO

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