THE COMICS JOURNAL
Various (Fantagraphics) COO.
The j0urnal hands over a third of its pages ('63 in all) to cartoonists commissioned to Create cartoons about cartooning. Enlarged to coffee table format and with strips from Art Spiegelman. R. Crumb. Joe Sacco. Pete Bagge. Seth. Charles Burns. the Hernandez brothers and Chris Ware. JUSt to mention the better
-"l . 7,”... w...
known creators. this spec‘ial edition is a visual treat. And. hey! You get to learn shit about the most dynamic art form in the world. The prose content. however. occa3ionally works against the celebratOry format with essays Such as ‘What's Wrong With Comics Today?‘ and ‘When Comics Were For Kids falling into the categories of apology or lament. (Miles Fielder)
ACTION ADVENTURE DANGER GIRL: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION
J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell (Cliffhanger) .0.
Imagine all the action of the 007 and Indiana Jones movies but wrth the thrills and spills Supplied not by chiselled jaw hunks but by Cuny cupcakes with cute upturned noses and unfeasibly large breasts
100 THE LIST ‘-'-
and already you're some way towards illustrator u'. Scott Campbell's adolescent male fantasy come true. Indeed. hardly a page goes by Without a flash of nubile flesh as an all-girl team of internationa' danger- bunnies take or‘ the forces of eyil to thwart the rise of the Fourth Reich. They succeed. of course. in spectacu ar style and while the plot- lines. characters and concept are all highly (t(}.'l\.'€lt|\.'(?. alluriitg adxvork. highly filmic frames and sassy one liners combine to (lax/ling effect. (Catherine Bromleyn
SUPERI (IZRO GLORY
Alan Moore and various (Avatar) 000
Comic's god Alan Moore really (son a roll at the moment =.'./hat With his numerous ABC titles and From Hel/ hitting the cinemas. Unfortunately. he seems to be making do Wlttl quantity over
duality these days: this certainly ain't no Watchmen. Moore's latest creation tells the story of a goddess livmg on earth as a mortal. but it's bogged down by ‘eye catching' art of the cliched pneumatic Superhero variety. However. that this issue is limited to a print run of 1.500 should be enough to get most comic— heads salivating at the prospect of getting their hands on a copy.
CHARI IV DOCUMENTARY
9-1 EMERGENCY RELIEF
Various (Alternative Comics) 0
As admirable as it is to put together a bumper collection of leading comic book creators' thoughts on September 1 ‘: in aid of the American Red Cross there is no getting away from the fact this is a dreary read. At least half the stories here try to dea: with the sense of dislocation and confusion the artists felt on hearing the dreadful news. while others are half baked odes to the rebirth of a dormant Jingoisn‘ or the bravery of the men and women at Ground Zero. On the plus side veteran Will Eisner and Laura Weinstein's one—page llltOﬂ’CllthllS are a relief amongst all the sanctimony. (Paul Dale)
Lewis Trondheim in The Comics Journal
79‘, I (rt, QC"?
ALTCOUNTRY LAMBCHOP Is A Woman (City Slang) 00
If you checked out any of the other five album by Nashville’s Lambchop you’ll know their highly idiosyncratic and, for want of a less lazy term, alt.country sound is mostly very chilled out. Not for Kurt Wagner and his double figure collective of musicians growling vocals and whining guitars; Lambchop’s last album, Nixon, the one that brought them relatively wide recognition, fused country and soul sounds. But you ain’t heard Lambchop do ‘chill’ until you listen to Is A Woman.
Wagner calls Is A Woman ‘a collection of closing songs’. He says, ‘I can see any of the songs used as the final song of a performance. Or the last word at the end of a sentence, paragraph or story . . .’ His thinking here is to create a low-key mood that spans the entire record. You could describe that mood as variously tender, melancholic, romantic and sentimental. Wagner calls it ‘dark and breezy’, as opposed to light and breezy.
Restraint in the playing helps maintain this state. Although there are eighteen musicians (plus crickets, apparently) contributing to the eleven tracks (and free three-track second disc, Is A Bonus, which includes a straight-up, no- bullshit honest, majestic cover of the Sisters Of Mercy’s ‘This Corrosion’), the sound is sparse. The songs are built around Wagner’s hi-tone vocals and Tony Crow’s piano accompaniment, with gently-strummed guitars and hushed percussion. It’s a really damn beautiful sound.
It's also a sound that encourages you to pay attention to Wagner’s lyrics, which are alternatively gloriously enigmatic and crystal clear perceptive. Opener ‘The Daily Growl’ closes with: ‘But I guess it’s right/ to love the girls who fight/ off our manly acts of desperation.’
Is a masterpiece. (Miles Fielder)
ELOECERONIC’A deliberately awkward Fog turntablism with the
This debut albun‘ is filled wrth smudged electronic experiments and the 'one man in a bedroom with seme gear and some gear' sOund is all pervading. lf DJ Shadow and Elliot Smith ever had a mutant lovechild it w0uld smell. act and probably SOund like Fog. This (soften more than a little spooky and to witness this stramash live would be a hugely bewildering rewarding experience. Delete as appropriate. (Mark Robertson)
(Ninja Tune) .00.
From out of the cranky cupboard of cray-zee musical Americans comes Fog. Like Smog. he's dark. grimy and probably not good for you and like Beck. except wrth better decks. he keen to mix
BREAKBEAT VARIOUS ARTISTS
Fatboy Slim 'Live On Brighton Beach’ (Southern Fried) COO
Phat pulsing beats of over-weight elephant proportions are all the rage as the Fatboy does it in the live arena. A predictable selection of big names are 'big- upped' as Underworld. Leftfield and Mr Cook himself do what they do best: rock da (beach) house. But that's its main problem: the mix is too one-dimensional and packed to the rafters with tribal crowd pleasers. And the attention to capturing the live atmosphere borders on the fanatical: we get over a minute of jeering and public safety announcements after the typically stomping Basement Jaxx 'Where's YOur Head At'. Fun. funky yet completely dispensable.
ROCK SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES Behind The Music (WEA) 0000
It must be the time for Sweden's SOundtrack Of Our Lives. havrng beavered away for neigh on a decade. raising monstrous psychedelic rock beasts of burden. awaiting an opponunity to carry them aloft to the waiting hordes for adoration.
The sextet conjure up a Vivid pot of swrrling rock Crescendos. melodious wrg outs and angelic pop hymns wrth licks pilfered from the Kinks. the Who and the Stones. ‘The Flood' IS Love guesting on a Who track while ‘21st Century Rip Off' is a Ray Davies Keith Richards axe duel. AlthOugh mainlining the same old fashioned musical Joys. SOOL are way too unfocussed to be another Oasis but they share the same barefaced skill at adopting JUSt the right elements to ensnare