* I finally got around to reading Shaun Tan's The Arrival this weekend, and it's as incredible as most would have you believe. The story itself is a simple imigrant's journey from one country to another, from the familiar to the unknown. It's a fable of sorts, but really the story is kind of secondary. It's the artwork which steals the show here. Literally every single one of Tan's pages are a visual feast, rich with detail and imagination. The muted coppertones only add to the dreaminess of the surreal setting, and is meant to mimic old photographs from the turn of the century. It's the kind of artwork that draws you in at times with its subtle details, and other times leaves you holding the book as far back as possible, taking in the grandness of the vast cityscapes. The silence is also an effective choice, as Tan is more than competent at conveying even the most subtle emotions and thoughts visually. The only thing I can think to compare it to is Jon J Muth's recently re-released adaptation of Fritz Lang's M. In the endnotes, Tan mentioned that this book took over four years to finish, and it certainly shows. This is one of those rare graphic novels we geeks can give proudly to our noncomics-reading friends and family and know they will be impressed.
* Inspired by Bob Levin's book, Most Outrageous, I ordered a copy of Hustler Presents The Best of Tinsley from Alta-Glamour, a porn collector's website, and though I felt a little sleazy doing so, my curiousity won out. I'll try to post a few highlights when it arrives.
* I was very excited to receive a copy of Theo Ellsworth's Capacity in the mail a few weeks ago from Secret Acres, and although I haven't had a chance to read it yet, I can recommend it without hesitation. The book collects all of Ellsworth's Capacity mini-comics (of which there are eight or nine, I believe; I have four of them) and all are excellent. Ellsworth is a self-taught artist whose style might seem vaguely reminiscent of David B. but really is unique unto itself. I hope to have a more thorough review of the book up sometime relatively soon...
* And speaking of Secret Acres, they have an interesting section on their website called "Critical Ends" which features some interesting and thought-provoking essays on comics theory. For example, check out this essay by Joris Driest on "Subjective Narration in Comics." Good stuff if you are into the theoretical side of comics criticism.