This is easy – the wonderfully child-like Franklin-Boy and Jim-Jam Girl by Dave Lapp.
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Then I remembered overhearing a conversation at TCAF about how a book that had greatly impressed me was having trouble gaining traction.
That Dave Lapp’s Children of the Atom, a collection of strip comics originally published in Western University’s The Gazette & Vancouver’s Georgia Straight, isn’t in every indie comics fan’s collection is a crime.
I mean, if your favourite characters are Wolverine & Deadpool, don’t bother. But if Calvin (of & Hobbes) or Linus are to your taste, then the innocence & child-like wisdom Lapp harnesses here are certain to engage. An excerpt from the above link:
Franklin Boy and Jim Jam Girl live in an absurdist world of their own making, exchanging philosophies, dancing around any possible love story… Lapp has created his own tightly concieved (sic) but loosely rendered world through poetic language, simple lines and shapes, and surreal settings.
Here’s the way I put it to Dave when I had the good fortune to meet him recently: It is so good & the innocence so compelling that I still haven’t finished it. I only read three, maybe a half-dozen, strips at a time, then I put it down so I have more to enjoy later. I’ve never read anything like it.
As a lifetime (obscure) artist who has embraced the indie side of comics, after realizing the autobiographies of Chester Brown & Adrian Tomine are much more compelling than any fiction, I still check in on superheroes. I stick to what I hear are the outstanding examples – Miller, Millar, Moore, Bendis, Morrison, etc. – not out of snobbery, but because life is too short to read shit.
That’s where The Ultimates comes in. Marvel’s reimagining of the MU as Marvel Ultimate Universe can be dismissed as a marketing ploy, but I believe it was time to update the characters I grew up with. I mean, I can’t read those old comics – they’re so corny! The dialogue is painful!
This treatment is like hearing a great cover version of an old favourite song; Mark Millar’s The Ultimates is to The MU Avengers as Marilyn Manson’s gritty, scary Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) is to The Eurythmics’ safe pop stylings. Captain America is a true man of the 50s, uncomfortable with contemporary notions of romance. The Hulk, Dr. Banner’s Mr. Hyde, is a cannibalistic rapist – a true modern monster worthy of the cultural standards indicated by Cloverfield & Hostel. And Thor is a European pacifist hippy cult leader. Seriously – how can I resist?
When my budget permits (&/or my library gives me access), I plan to consume everything the MUU had to offer while it lasted.
I had an excellent time at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.
As on most public outings, I was initially a shy, bumbling oaf (specifically Saturday). I had a brief, stuttering face-to-face with Chester Brown before he was *ahem* rescued from the annoying fanboy. When I realized this, I was, & remain, suitably embarrassed. *sigh* He was gracious & apologetic.
Dalton recommended Miss Apple Pie & I introduce ourselves to Dave Lapp. He signed our copy of Children of the Atom with a left-handed penis! Too friggin awesome!
Jim Woodring was also really cool to talk to. And such beautiful, flawless work! Anthro-pomorphic comics rarely appeal to me, but, after hearing him speak on Saturday & then meeting him, I must say I’m driven. This, of course, will be after I read every as-yet-unread book in my possession, which is why Dave Lapp’s book was our only trophy of the weekend.
We spent Sunday exclusively at The Pilot. The highlight for me was speaking to Seth for a few moments about perhaps not stressing so much over lack of perfection, quite a humble notion from someone with such an exacting hand.
All in all, we attended several seminars over the two days, & were given a lot to consider. We’ll see what happens.