Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Comic Reviews: The Left Bank Gang & Skizz

The Left Bank Gang

    Jason is a master of his particular craft.  He makes some of the most beautifully melancholy things I’ve ever read.  His characters are sad, funny, and dangerous.  With fairly simple artwork, he conveys so much emotion.  The slump of a shoulder, the panel of pause, the tilt of a head.  It’s amazing how much can get across his cartoon animal faces.

    This story features those American authors who went to Paris, drank and slept their way through days and nights, and somehow found time to produce a book or two.  Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound, and others all contemplate their lives and chosen careers.  Here Jason manages to sum up the life of a writer so well.  “It’s too late now.  It’s the only thing I know how to do.”  The eventual crime caper somehow manages to become even more profoundly sad.  If you haven’t experienced Jason’s specific brand of comic literature, do yourself a favor and try it out.  He can sometimes be painful to read, but that’s because the truth can hurt.


    From the pages of the UK anthology comic, 2000 AD comes Skizz, or Alan Moore’s Howard the Duck.  It’s the story of a goofy looking alien that crash lands in the slums of Birmingham, where he is befriended by a teen punk girl.  A mindlessly evil government goon is out for alien blood.  With the help of a smooth operator and a half-checked out Jason Statham looking goon, the girl does her all to keep Skizz out of harm.

    It’s an enjoyable, if not especially good comic.  Jim Baikie’s art is awesome.  It has that Euro-comic style I enjoy.  2000 AD and Heavy Metal tended to feature a lot of it.  Like a riff on 40s and 50s American comics of Russ Manning, Frank Frazetta, or Mac Raboy, with a punk and rock sensibility.  This is still early Moore, so the writing is a touch dense, but not as sprawling and not at all cluttered.  But when it comes down to it, the story is just too simple.  There’s not much to any of it.  The art is the most interesting thing.

The Left Bank Gang
Author & Artist: Jason
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
ISBN: 978-1-5609-7742-1

Author: Alan Moore
Artist: Jim Baikie
Publisher: Titan Books/2000 AD
ISBN: 978-1-840-234450-3


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