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Hollowspine

I'm Reading Comeeks

I dedicate this blog to comics in all forms, manga, autobio, superhero, art books, etc.  And of course, since I need a challenge, I've decided that I'll read and write (short) reviews for 365 comics during 2015.

Three Slices of Life

Monsters - Ken Dahl Kinski - Gabriel Hardman Summer Blonde - Adrian Tomine

Summer Blonde by Adrian Tomine is a collection of stories that often center around an awkward narrator trying to reclaim something lost or unattainable.  In the first one a young novelist receives a postcard from a girl he had a crush on back in school.  He becomes obsessed with the idea that after reading his book she realizes that she is in love with him.  There are a few hitches with this plan, one, the novelist has a devoted girlfriend.  Secondly, he has no idea where his dream girl has gone, or if she was really the one behind the postcard.

 

Other stories deal in similar themes, a man watches as the woman he stalks crushes on falls victim to the cad next door.  If she were with him, he'd treat her better!  Not realizing that the woman is no victim, well not to the cad anyway.

 

My favorite by far was the story of a young woman, who loses a job she didn't care much for, feels socially isolated and overshadowed by her more successful younger sister.  A random idea, one prank call to a pay phone outside her apartment leads her into a new relationship.

 

Also, Bomb Scare, was an interesting story about another isolated youth, taking place during the Gulf War.

 

Although I often disliked the men in the stories for treating women as if they need to be rescued, or are interchangable, especially in the first story, "Alter Ego" about the author who treated his current girlfriend as if she was someone he could fall back to if he couldn't get the woman he actually wanted.  Still, I would recommend these realistic, melancholy stories to anyone who enjoys autobio comics, like Jeffrey Brown or Gabrielle Bell (even though these are all ficitonal).

 

Kinski by Gabriel Hardman is the story of a very desirable black lab puppy.  On a business trip a travelling salesman, Joe, finds a black lab puppy, without leash or collar, seemingly abandoned.  He would have kept the dog immediately, except that someone phoned an animal shelter.

 

Thinking that the dog he named Kinski wouldn't be missed he decides to impersonate it's owner and claim the dog from the shelter, but he's too late!  The story follows Joe as he becomes increasingly more desperate to find Kinski and his obsession takes it's toll on his life.

 

It was a fun story, though I felt some answers I would have liked to know, i.e. what happened to Joe in the past that made him latch on to this lost puppy so desperately, are left to the reader to interpret.

 

Monsters by Ken Dahl follows a young man as he discovers, denies, fights, and finally comes to accept his herpes diagnoses.  This was a frightening, yet enlightening, read.  Of course I became paranoid about nearly everything after reading it, but there was a lot of humor in the story as well as lists of symptoms, drawings of rashes, blisters and swellings, and of course the lovely personified walking, talking, herpes sores.

 

For those who enjoyed, Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant, Hyperbole and a Half, or Pregnant Butch (all of which I'd recommend!).