Via a short essay the enduring power of the uniformed schoolgirl as fetishised erotic image is examined in A5 twenty-pager Some Notes Towards A Poetics Of Porn, part one of The Secret Blue Book trilogy. Image references are provided, and amongst the paragraphs devoted to the likes of The Belles Of St Trinians and TATU, emerges an intriguing observation: "An important element of girls' school mythos is that whilst first to fifth year girls are represented as innocent and inexperienced, a transgressive and taboo moment is implied as taking place between fifth and sixth years; girls become young women experienced, glamorous, seductive and sophisticated. So where and when are such transformative moments of myth and legend deemed to take place?"
These hidden and deeply secret moments are made explicit in the 160-page, square-bound, part two of The Secret Blue Book trilogy. The Fifth Form At St Elmo's is an onanistic fantasy part satire, part parody; or neither set in an English girls' school, and featuring the borrowed characters of The Four Marys from Bunty. With fifth formers having already passed the watery blood, their dorm is gripped by sexual awakenings of a Charles Burns' Teen Plague-like contagion. Bedclothes are soon stained with cunt juice as one by one the girls use their prickly pears roughly and the caretaker's Negro boy's thirteen-inch column of pure lust becomes the object of their desire. Add to the wall-paste mix a horny headmistress's intimacy with a vodka bottle, a submissive chaplain's cross-dressing and a well-thumbed Tijuana Bible, and you've got lots of Mary fingers making Mary jelly up Mary cunts.
Porno Fun - this A6 Tijuana Bible and catalyst for much sexual abandon at St Elmo's - accounts for part three of The Secret Blue Book trilogy. A cartoon sex comic, it contains a hard-core Confessions Of glimpse into the life of an encyclopaedia salesman and continues the author's frank handling of the salacious. Working well in the context of its resonance with the exuberant prose of St Elmo's, this Eight-Pager either provides more gleefully dirty fun, or administers the final bludgeoning blow to libidos by a disdainful author reacting with invented reality to a fiction that already exists, and mindful of the notion that the erotic is the humanisation of the libido, pornography its trivialisation.
Seems worthwhile to mention this. One of the more difficult comics to review. Some 20 pages of sketch book barely inked create space and their own identity to a recurring image of a tall figure (a pen or lingering stern teacher), studying over a artist at a bare table penning, sent technical advice in such a way that is too much information, and of the wrong sort. Though this is a knowingly; technical overstate. Like reading those weekly parliamentary reports with jokes, and I even experienced some laugh out loud while looking at the blank pages.
More often than not though, the environmentalist in me reacts, this is a waste of good tree pieces !
There is an unexpected ending which is just as affecting and manipulative.
This is a portrait of emotions (non-story) , Malcy's signature. When I was in high school the art teacher said 'go and draw the road you live on'. Thats exactly what I did. I drew the cracks, pebbles, holes and blotches. Didn't go down well. Malcys book seems to address that though I have to say I am quite certain I did not enjoy this. Even, it nags my mind. Malcy continues to classify himself uniquely, and indeed, he is a fearless, highly significant andundeserving of oversight. 'I cant draw part 2' is to me funny, yet uncomfortable and certainly he's not produced a work that ranks high, unlike in other years. Go read Lady Mountain. Or Pink Square.
The website, http://www.gianttank.com/buy.htm describes this as "a sixty-four page meditation on creativity and analysis of communication by Usurper's Malcy Duff". Its available there for £2 (plus p&p.) through their Paypal link.
This mini comic by Flu Hartberg is a Norwegian slice of high school life , replete with parental angst, masturbation jinks and dating trauma. Happily Flu has allowed ten years to elapse between his own coming of age trauma and the construction of this story making ‘English Conversation’ a worthwhile read.
It’s pretty well drawn and sequentially easy on the eye. Most of the characters abnd setting are drawn in a loosely realistic style; it’s pretty pleasant but Flu chooses to draw his protagonist ‘Ulf’ and his mother as ugly caricatures, perhaps suggesting what the artist thinks of his former highschool self. A satisfying little read proving the universality of the excruitiating high school experience. It also ends with a really funny panel, leaving the reader on an up-note.
Kayak (Pilot Issue#0)
A beautiful full colour art book by Andy Johnston, Kayak is reminiscent of John Porcellino's haiku style stories.
Using a leaf motif, the prose takes the reader on a breeze-blown journey through the artist’s state of mind. Yearning, searching for meaning, loss and the impermanence of human experience against the renewal of nature seem to be the themes of Johnson’s work and he relates these concerns stylishly and with real warmth behind his work. Consequently the book is a real pleasure to pick up and re-read. The book’s main flaw is lapse into vagueness but this is early work by the artist. If Johnson’s able to merge his stylistic eloquence with more confident storytelling we could really have something special in our midst.
Intriguing and definitely promising.
Flat 8, 4 Meadow Rd,
Harborne, Birmingham, B17 8BU
A6 mini of about 20 pages. bear with my makeshift review. So impressed by this, I don't have my copy to hand because I left it at the train station. Just too good not to share ! As the title suggests though, this is too good not too share. First off is 'LOve In Chigley' were the famed village faces a biscuit shortage, pulling out the stops from urban legends to put things right. The pages are deliciously filled with oh about twelve panels each,,,all clear to make out, full of detail, and the feeling of having gotten good value proportionately.There are homo-erotic undertones via vis 'Ted and Ralph' though these manage to skip any sordid or shark huck laughs and go for something more straightforwardly optimistic. Elegant Maneouvres.
'Boy & Noodles', one page, very cute, too cute in fact. Theres a boy and he has noodles, and Debra is in it and they're discussing noodles and I got so caught up in tinking about this for the review I could not recall what it was. Noodled !
'On The Road Again' is spaciously the least tightly put together work in the collection, and is constructed appearingly from computer graphics and advertisers bullshit foist. Oh, and a story alike the sort that might be seen in some sort of soft porn lit. Seems Debra has adapted it from there and put together a set of pictures that make for a very amusing result. Subversive-evolutions, Yes ! Result !
Rounded off by two one pagers involving linguistical and gender identity re-appropriation and restoration and you have yourself a smart little collection that will fit in a shirt pocket, that is well worth the time spent, and, makes you feel just once more beloved a member of the human race.
Well done, Debra. You others, Check out her livejournal and make a request for orderong details.
A mix culled from Andrew Luke's overflowing unpublished archives - his Henry Darger-like legacy - in some ways this publication is the paper equivalent of Miranda July's film, Me And You And Everyone We Know. Beneath its agreeably quirky, whimsy-strewn surface, bobs some universal truths, which, despite the oddness of under-realised subject matters, provides a curiously up- and off-beat entertainment with an accidentally personal quality.
TV trash, with value measured only in its ability to trigger glimpses of wasted youth, surfaces in the form of a trilogy of strips featuring a Luke-affected A-Team, Knight Rider and Incredible Hulk. Automan (?) puts in an appearance too, his car uttering the soon-to-be-immortal words, 'Walter, could you put your finger against my ram-pack for a minute'. The humour continues in the bizarre Unwanted (In Minor), a strip that echoes the reality-filled pressures of the LiveJournal logger's next entry as a character interrupts the enactment by friends of 'a secret story' in which he has no role. Guitar Festival Diary is an on-the-spot art diary covering two of the annual events, including gigs by John Martyn and Gordon Giltrap. It is here that Luke's relatively primitive drawing style suddenly transforms to a swarm of kinetic squiggles, evocatively capturing the live music vibe with synaesthesia-related accuracy; something of a revelation, this.
Also amongst the peculiar offerings is a controversial coffee in Coyle's Bar, an Eno Link Gallery, and a resistentialist lament for retired drawing pens, which further focuses this publication's forlorn hope that nostalgic objects might ease our sense of abandonment, and proves that the author himself is most likely outside the proverbial box, thinking of ways in. Let's not even go near Callista Flockhart And Beefburger!!
20 A5 pages; ordering details from Andy. ))><((