Thursday, February 13, 2014

RAW Comix vol. 2 #2, Required reading for the post literate

 A cornucopia of graphic eye candy!
cover by Joost Swarte, a Dutch artist who often deconstructs the comics format as in this illustration where the depicted pictures interact with each other. 
I read these when they first came out. I loved volume 1 with it’s large size format that emphasized the graphic qualities of the comics inside. In contrast volume 2 is a digest size (6’ x 8 ¾’) which is better suited for narrative driven stories and the diverse art styles that illustrate the stories in here really shows off the wide range of ways that great stories can be told.
It’s jammed packed full of all kinds of exotic and impressively illustrated stories like Lynda Barry’s naively scrawled childhood tales...
Lynda Barry usually depicts scenes from her childhood and adolescence as in this scene where the kids sneak out to party.
 to Jacques Tardi’s wonderfully claustrophobic tale of a man insane. 
Most of Jacques Tardi’s stories take place in the turn of the century. He has a wonderful line that is expressive and yet able to convey wonderful details as in the architecture in the above picture.
Of coarse RAW editor, Art Spiegelman’s renowned Maus is in here as well as small pieces from RAW staples like Charles Burns, Mark Beyer, Sue Coe, Ben Katcher, Joost Swarte and Gary Panter.
Art Spiegelman won great acclaim for Maus, the story of his dad's time in Auschwitz and there present strained father/son relationship.
 There is a bigger piece by Japanese Yoshiharu Tsuge about the hardships of some impoverished electroplate workers.
Yoshiharu Tsuge's touching Red Flowers was previously published in RAW vol. 1 #7 as an insert. Here you can see the beautiful backgrounds he does for his sad tales.
 As well as a bizarre strip from Golden Age Boody Rogers about centaurs who enslave young girls and ride them like horses.
Boody Rogers was at the beginning of the comics craze of the late 30's and early 40's. Lately he has garnered a reputation for his absurd comics and even has a collection of his work put out by Fantagraphics called "Boody".
 Another interesting piece is by outsider artist, Henry Darger called The Child Slave Rebellion.
Henry Darger's "The Adventures of the Vivian Girls..." a 19000 page epic surprised the art world when it was discovered posthumously.
 And let's not forget the great underground comix artist Kim Deitch with his tale about circus freaks.
Kim Deitch has been  put out numerous graphic novels including the highly acclaimed "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams".
 If you want a book to dazzle you with visual eye candy, and surprise you with new and unusual tales from around the world, you should do yourself a favor and get RAW Magazine.

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