Archive for mike dawson

friday odds & ends: comics recommendation edition

Posted in commentary with tags , , , on June 4, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

I thought for today, I’d take a second to recommend some comics that I’m currently enjoying. I know a lot of my readers aren’t traditional comics readers, so if you are inclined… take a minute to check out something new!

I picked up cartoonist Lucy Knisley’s work at a secondhand bookstore and like most people who read her comics, instantly became a tremendous fan. Her travel journal French Milk soon made its way into my classroom’s comic lending library and became a great favorite of all who checked it out, especially those students who are beginning their first year of studying French. I’m an armchair critic to be sure, but talking with my kids, it seemed they liked how approachable Ms. Knisley paints herself and her exploits in Paris. I can bear this out; I sent Lucy a quick e-mail letting her know how much my students and I have enjoyed her book, emphatically saying that she did not need to write back to me, I just wanted to let her know what a hit she was… and she wrote back. My students were thrilled.

Anyhow, Knisley’s just self-published another “everything and the kitchen sink” collection of comics titled Make Yourself Happy. My awesome sister Laura picked me up a copy of this collection a few weeks ago at MoCCA and it’s terrific fun. Lots of 24 hour comics, a de facto sequel to French Milk wherein the author and her boyfriend revisit the City of Lights, and some other really lovely comics. Click over here to buy some stuff.

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I was a Boy Scout for eight years. Some of you might scoff at that, but scouting was a HUGE part of my life as a teenager. I am an Eagle Scout, f’r Pete’s sake. That being said, the “image” of a Boy Scout that most people have never quite jibed with me. Sure, “Trustworthy, loyal, helpful brave…” and all that… but c’mon. TEENAGERS.

Cartoonist Mike Dawson gets this and I am a complete and total fan of his recent comics project Troop 142. Again, my sister was kind enough to scoop up the first three print collections of Troop 142 and they so accurately capture the scouting experience… heck, the adolescent teen male experience… it’s eerie.

Lucky for you that Mr. Dawson’s posting the ENTIRE Troop 142 comic online for your perusal. Start here and enjoy!

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I don’t buy many comic books these days. I’ve lately preferred to wait and buy trades and hardcover collections, but I wanted to recommend one “traditional” comic to folks before the movie leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. You may have seen commercials for the upcoming Jonah Hex movie starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox. It looks pretty turdy, I agree. Your opinion of the movie should not influence your opinion of the source material because man oh man, DC Comics’ Jonah Hex is the best.

Hex is, for those who don’t know, a down and dirty Western where the main character is a wholly unlikable cuss. Hex is a bounty hunter with an occasional code of honor, and his series has been chugging along for about five years now, all of which have been ably written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. The book has a rotating roster of powerhouse comics artists including J.H. Williams III, Darwyn Cooke, and the tremendous Jordi Bernet.

The cool thing about Jonah Hex is that besides a few storylines, each comic issue is self-contained. You can pick up one, read it, and be done… or you can get bit by the bug and devour the series whole-cloth. It’s not Superman or Captain America, but it’s just awesome.