söndag 27 november 2011

Back from the comics store, big sale edition

OK, so I don't have time to do much, or any, blogging right now with studying and work taking up a lot of my time, but I can at least buy comics that I don't have the time to read yet, either. My comics store had a sale with up to 20% off if you bought 20 comics collections, so I bought 20 comics collections.

"Journey", William Messner-Loebs' story about trapper Wolverine McAllister didn't come out all that clearly in the picture, so I'll recommend it in writing here. I'm not fond of his artwork, but the story is good.

lördag 19 november 2011

My t-shirts, part 48: Snoopy Baseball

I like this one a lot. Pleasant overall design and a great Snoopy pic. Baseball and Peanuts are inseparable in my mind.

lördag 12 november 2011

Ulf Jansson: Bengt Bouquet – Vinnörden korkar upp

Ulf Jansson is one of the best Swedish comics artists there is. He's got a strong, elegant ink line with a lot of energy and vitality to it, and an excellent sense of movement and attitude of the characters in his drawings. Working in a Franco-Belgian traditional humorous style, he'd probably be world-renowned if he'd been born in a country with more of a tradition of exporting its comics. He'd be an excellent artist for something like Spirou, for example, but as he was born in Sweden, that's unfortunately not going to happen.

So we'll have to make do with the many humor and humorous adventure strips he's created together with comics writer Magnus Knutsson, and I can live with that as they're usually quite good and worth your while, and the gag strips he's done on his own. One such was the 1979 Benke, a strip of single-page gags rather obviously inspired by Franquin's excellent Gaston but worth the read as the gags were OK and the art was excellent. It was published in the first issue of the comic book Svenska Serier, but sadly didn't come into regular production and publication.

 Bengt Bouquet is a strip that wine aficionado Jansson does for the wine magazine he's an editor of, Munskänken (The Cup-bearer). It has now been collected in its first volume, Vinnörden korkar upp ("The wine nerd uncorks"), depicting the life of a somewhat fanatical wine aficionado. The jokes center on Bengt Bouquets neurotic relationship to wines, sometimes in connection with current events, and has the characteristic elegant Jansson drawings. Unfortunately, the jokes are a bit of the "inside jokes" variety – they aren't quite strong enough to stand on their own, and you probably have to be a bit of a wine nerd yourself to really enjoy them. I was a bit amused by most of them, sure, but the strip never really clicked for me.

In this strip, a not-very-wine-knowledgeable couple decides to buy what the
confident Bengt Bouquet buys, not realizing until it is too late that he picks
the very best and most expensive wines, making it waaay more expensive
 than they expected.

So even though I think that any strip by Jansson deserves to be read at least once, I can't really recommend this (rather expensive, hardcover) book. Unless, of course, you are a wine aficionado yourself, and prepared to laugh a little at yourself and your hobby – or are looking for a present for somebody like that.

lördag 5 november 2011

Brad DeLong, national treasure

It's not even the politics of division, it's the politics of spite. I'll quote Prof. DeLong extensively because he's so good. His blog is well worth the at-least-daily visits it gets from me.

The Republicans are not just acting against the interests of the 99% and for the interests of the 1%. The Republicans are acting in the interests of nobody at all:

Il Quarto Stato
The 1% have an interest in full employment, high capacity utilization, and general prosperity just as the rest of us do.
It is true that the interests of the 1% differ from the interests of the rest of Americans in four particulars:
  1. The 1% have an enormous material interest in making the tax system less progressive.
  2. The 1% have a long-run material interest in hypnotizing Americans into believing that the current distribution of income and wealth is in some sense "deserved" or "just".
  3. The 1% have a short-run ideal interest in being reassured that they are in fact good people whose wealth and incomes are deserved and just.
  4. The 1% have a short-run material interest in not being reminded that it was the actions of many of them that played the key role in breaking the economy.
But the 1% have a strong material interest in the passage of the American Jobs Act. In acting to block it, the Republicans--and Senator Nelson--are betraying the interests of their contributors in the top 1% as much as they are betraying the interests of their constituents.

fredag 4 november 2011

Back from the comics store, not-much-time-for-anything edition

Haven't had time for much of anything other than work and studying lately, and the last week or so, work has even crowded out the studying.

But at least I've got work, so, hey... I shouldn't complain too loudly.

Anyway, some seriously cool stuff in this month's comics batch (and I have one bag of comics left to pick up because it got a bit too heavy to carry)... which only makes my lack of time to read it even more sad. Those Disney art books show just how much talent the studio has seen through the years, and I've now got the full Bloom County collection... Next up from IDW, Outland collected – which I'll get even though Outland never really clicked for me. I always thought it was the lack of a daily strip to build up, and lend stability to, the characters. The ongoing saga was weakened by the lack of a daily strip, and the ongoing saga was what gave opportunities to empathize with, and care about, the characters. With that gone, the Sundays on their own weren't enough to keep the strip really interesting for me, even though each individual Sunday page was usually pretty good.

And finally, because part of the course I'm studying involves doing a small presentation of Swedish Rococo pastel portraitist Gustaf Lundberg tomorrow, his portrait of fellow artist Charles-Joseph Natoire. Following that, a self-portrait by the French artist who replaced him as the darling of the jet-set of the day, Maurice Quentin de la Tour. Lundberg's portraits are nice and skillful, but de La Tour takes pastel portraiture to a whole new level; no wonder everybody wanted him to flatter them by making them look intelligent, handsome, and forceful in his portraits.

Natoire by Lundberg.

de La Tour by himself.