Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
"…[T]his dark, disjointed story about an assortment of misfit suburban characters plagued by bad luck and their own poor choices is a compelling, bitterly funny read… Despite its obvious influences King never feels like a pale imitation, especially in the second volume, where the ante is upped considerably, both on an aesthetic and narrative level."
…and The Man Who Grew His Beard by Olivier Schrauwen:
"Color Engineering author Yuichi Yokoyama got all the attention this year, but to my eyes Schrauwen is just as innovative and wholly original a cartoonist as Yokoyama. The main difference between the two is that where Yokoyama is focused on expressing motion, machinery and discovery, Schrauwen prefers to explore differences in perception, especially between reality and that of the imagination…. Incredibly inventive and at times darkly funny, Beard is the work of a master cartoonist worth more attention."
• List: Patrick Markfort & Dave Ferraro discuss their favorites of 2011 on the Comics-and-More video podcast, with Patrick picking Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 1 – Through the Wild Blue Wonder as his Favorite Archival Comic Collection and Prison Pit Book 3 by Johnny Ryan as his Favorite Graphic Novel — see muti-part video at the link
• List: Carol Borden of The Cultural Gutter names The Hidden by Richard Sala as one of "10 Comics I Liked in 2011": "The world is ending in madness and blood, as a bearded man flees to the countryside. But what does he know about the end and why is it mostly nubile young women who are being killed? Another tale of mayhem, mystery and mad science from Richard Sala."
• Review: "This volume [of Wandering Son] is absolutely wonderful. It has an overall very gentle feel to it, but it’s punctuated by moments of cruelty and sadness…. It’s a rare thing to get such simple realism in a manga, and Takako handles it exquisitely…. This series can be really harsh at times, but there are some great heartwarming moments, as well. That’s what makes it great." – Kristin Bomba, ComicAttack.net
• Bookmark: Steven Brower (author of From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin and editor of the upcoming Meskin collection Out of the Shadows) has a new blog for his writings, appropriately titled Steven Brower Writings