June 2020 Reading List

Here’s a list of all the comics, graphic novels, comic-related books, zines, and other small press publications that I read in June 2020 with brief descriptions and information on where I found each publication.

Graphic Novels

The Beats: A Graphic History >
Harvey Pekar (w), Ed Piskor (a), and others
This “graphic history” is broken up into sections about different Beat writers and artists. The longest sections focus on Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs, but the book also devotes attention to almost two dozen others, including Diane DiPrima, Amiri Baraka, Tuli Kupferbeg (The Fugs), and many others. Overall, this is a great overview and introduction.

Chew vol. 1, Taster’s Choice $
John Layman (w) & Rob Guillory (a)
Set in a dystopian and largely meatless alternative present, Chew focuses on US Food and Drug Administration agent Tony Chu, who solves crimes with his ability to receive psychic impressions from anything he eats. The story doesn’t thrill me though it is titillatingly weird and morbid at times, but Rob’s art is fantastic. 

Godhead $
Ho Che Anderson (w/a)
The first installment of a sci-fi saga that explores the tension between science and religion. This installment does little more than set up the characters. The story seems promising; we’ll see what the next volume brings.

Juicy Mother: Celebration +
Jennifer Camper (ed)
One of the best LGBTQIA2+ anthologies I’ve read. It features Alison Bechdel, Howard Cruse, Diane DiMassa, Robert Kirby and others. 

Nat Turner $
Kyle Baker (w/a)
Aside from the occasional quote, this graphic novel tells the story of the slave rebellion that Nat Turner led in Virginia in 1831 through Baker’s stunning artwork. 

Rough House #3 <
Raw Paw Press
A colorful and beautiful risograph-printed anthology featuring Noah Van Sciver, Tom Van Deusen, Sarah Welch, and over a dozen other creators. Unfortunately, most of the pieces did very little for me, but I find this true of most comics anthologies. 

Street Angel: Princess of Poverty +
Brian Maruca (w) & Jim Rugg (a)
Street Angel, aka Jessie Sanchez, is the world’s deadliest skateboarding, homeless teenager. This collection presents Brian and Jim’s earliest Street Angel stories. It’s fun. The writing and artwork are solid. 

Sublife #1 & 2 $
John Pham (w/a)
A loose collection of stories about folks who reside at 221 Sycamore St., including a late teens/early 20s slacker, two white supremacist brothers, their dog, among others. The stories go nowhere. I am not sure if John intended to pen additional volumes. 

Supermag +
Jim Rugg (w/a–some work with Brian Maruca)
An all Jim Rugg anthology, Supermag features various dtripd with different art styles, including a Street Angel story, a Tom and Jerry tribute, some Clowes-inspired stories, some tongue-in-cheek tales of a jingoistic King Kng-like character, a Bigfoot tale, and a bunch of cool pin ups. A fantastic collection. 

Warlock 5: The Return !
Cullen Bunn/Jimmy Z (w) & Andy Poole/Ed Dukeshire (a)
This graphic novel continues Warlock 5 from the initial Derry/Beauvais run, ignoring all the work that Barry Blair did on the title in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Honestly, I am not sure why this graphic novel exists. It’s very expensive for what you get (about $20 for 60 pages), and it barely introduces a new story line. On top of that, there doesn’t seem to be any intention to continue the series any time soon. Skip this entirely.

Floppies & Mincomics

Thankless Opus +
Joshua of Grand Rapids (w/a)
One of the best comics I’ve read recently. It’s tough to summarize the plot without spoiling things and/or making it sound preposterous. Thankless Opus weaves various themes–hate, class oppression, nerd culture, police violence, and disease–into one cohesive and memorable story. It also features puppets.

The Derelict/Other Side of Town #1-3 *
Alex Delaney (w/a)
Two outlaw comics series self-published by Alex. The Derelict & Other Side of Town feature all the trappings of the best 1980s b&w outlaw comics: extreme violence, drugs, crooked cops, and serial killers all rendered in heavy inks.

For Art’s Sake *
Noah Van Sciver (w/a)
Noah created this comic while sheltering-in-place when COVID-19 first spread across the US. In it, he addresses growing up as a skater kid and becoming an artist.

Northwest Cartoon Cookery ^
Denny Eichhorn & Ed Brubaker (eds.)
An anthology of illustrated recipes by some of the Pacific Northwest’s finest indie creators of the 1990s, including Joe Sacco, Jim Woodring, Roberta Gregory, and Donna Barr, among others.

Warlock 5 #1-5 ~
Gordon Derry (w) & Denis Beauvais (a)
Excited by the recent Kickstarter campaign for a Warlock 5 omnibus, I dug into the first few issues, which I haven’t read in decades. The plot is not terribly groundbreaking, though it probably felt fresher in the mid 1980s. The series focuses on “the grid” and the 5 warlocks who guard it. They come from different universes, and they don’t exactly get along. The story follows their machinations as they plot against one another to control “the grid.” As far as characters go, the warlocks are well-developed, and the artwork is amazing. In fact, Denis’ art may be some of favorite work from 80s b&w comics. 

Yow #1 ^
Bill Griffith (w/a)
Published by Last Gasp in 1978, Yow follows the exploits of Zippy the Pinhead. It’s a bit surreal, and the artwork is solid. I’m guessing folks nowadays would take issue with Bill’s depiction of the microcephalic title character though I wouldn’t say it’s a wholly negative portrayal. I think the reader will develop an affinity for Zippy, but I can also see why the depiction might be considered condescending.

Zines

Small Press Comics Explosion vol. 1, #6, 8, 10 & 11 (Ebay)
Tim Corrigan
There is so much information about 1980s small press comics jam packed into each issue. About half an issue is composed of announcements by small presses, and the other half is ads or reviews penned by Tim about small press comics. 

Small Press Creative Explosion #2 =
Tim Corrigan
The third iteration of Tim’s small press comics fanzine. In terms of content, Small Press Creative Explosion is similar to the earlier volumes.

Stores & Distros Supported

! Amazon
I try to avoid them as much as possible, but it was the only place where I could find this.

$ Comixology
I’m trying to divest from Amazon, but during shelter-in-place orders, I’ve been reading voraciously, so I tried the 60-day Comixology Unlimited service.

+ Copacetic Comics Company
https://www.copaceticcomics.com/
A well-respected local comic shop and bookstore in Pittsburgh. They have a robust online catalog for indie and small press comics, and they offer some good deals. I encourage you to check it out.

~ Fat Cat Books
http://www.fatcatcomics.net/
My local comic shop while I was growing up in Binghamton, NY. These readings are from my collection. The shop has been around since 1976. Support it if you are nearby!

= Galaxy Comics
http://galaxycomics.net/
A friend sent me this from his local comic shop. Check out Galaxy if you are in Wichita Falls, TX.

^ Last Gasp
https://lastgasp.com/
OG San Francisco bookstore and former comic distributor.

< Lone Star Zine Fest
https://www.facebook.com/lonestarzinefest/
An annual zine festival in Austin.

* Ordered directly from the creator
Alex Delaney
https://www.etsy.com/shop/AlexDelaneyArt

Noah Van Sciver
Noah took orders through Facebook and Instagram. Based on the response that he received, I am sure that he has any copies of the left at this point.

> Thriftbooks
https://www.thriftbooks.com
Used book distro.

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