Written and Drawn by Various
Published by NBM
Reviewed by Marc Mason
Three fine new efforts from the NBM gang…
Cartoonist Jim Benton sees his Reddit work collected together for the first time in DOG BUTTS AND LOVE. AND STUFF LIKE THAT. AND CATS. The pieces in question range from single-panel gags to short sequential pieces, but the thing they share in common is the level of intelligence and cleverness on display. He is consistently darkly funny, often touching a chord with a tough truth at the heart of the cartoon, such as one amazing effort that finds a man who has been a total moron his entire life celebrating the fact that people believe he is wise just because he’s old now. My personal favorite involves a child whose mother guilts him into eating his food because there are starving children elsewhere actually writing one of those hungry kids to tell him what a jerk he is because of how his mother made him suffer. It’s a damn-near perfect encapsulation of the entitlement generation. The whole book is worth your time.
Nik Guerra’s MAGENTA: NOIR FATALE actually comes out of the Eurotica imprint, but there is no explicit sex involved. Instead, the story revolves around Magenta and her friend Lucretia, two burlesque-style models who also work as investigators. Their exploits take them into a case involving a number of missing models and the sicko who is using them for sport at his estate. The story isn’t anything you haven’t seen before – pretty standard stuff. But the art? Whoa. Guerra’s work is absolutely stunning. His evocative black& white figures absolutely jump off of the page. Also, the level of detail extends far beyond what you would expect from material of this nature – his backgrounds are textured nicely, giving an almost 3D quality to the book. The dialogue has some zip to it, and he takes care to make sure that Magenta and Lucretia are never victims. They are strong, controlled women. A notch above the usual, for sure.
Last but not least is the latest entry in the Louvre Collection: PHANTOMS OF THE LOUVRE by legendary writer/artist Enki Bilal. The old master took photographs at the Louvre, printed them on canvas, then added his phantoms. With that, he wrote their stories – 22 of them. Look, I could spend a lot of breath telling you how amazing this stuff is, but honestly: why? It’s Enki-friggin’-Bilal drawing and writing about the greatest museum on Earth! What the hell else do you want from comics? Unless your taste resides solely in your mouth, you need this like you need oxygen.