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23 January 2012

"feel this stuff in your guts"

I don't usually get into link blogging.  Not that I have anything against it.  I love link blogging.  The main reason I've never gotten into it here at file under other is that The Comics Reporter usually covers everything I would want to link in a day before  I've made it through my first cup of coffee.

But I did want to point you folks in the direction of my pal Jeremy Massie's blog to take a look at a post he made last week.  Jeremy talked about how he read through some good non-mainstream-guys-in-tights-and-rubber-suits comics to scrub his brain clean of all the bad comics he had read.  That is always a good idea.  It just so happens that he ended up talking about some books I've been wanting to talk about here for a while.

Jeremy talks about Yoshihiro Tatsumi's The Push Man and Other Stories.  Jeremy says "you can feel this stuff in your guts".  Yeah.  That about sums it up.  I read Push Man about five years ago and it had a tremendous impact on how I see comics and storytelling.  Tatsumi's work makes you feel like a train ran over your dog and then the conductor got out and punched you in your nuts.  It is brutal, brutal beautiful stuff.  And the drawing is masterful.  He gives you the fullness of the city from the gutters up while being simple enough that you can see right into the character's souls.  I highly recommend you read any Tatsumi stuff you can get your hands on.  I read Top Shelf's AX anthology last year and it also has a great Tatsumi story worth checking out.

Another great book Jeremy talks about is Chester Brown's I Never Liked You.  I happened to read I Never Liked You for the first time over the holidays after buying it from Brown himself at SPX last September.  Brown is one of my favorite living cartoonists and Louis Riel is my single favorite graphic novel.  So, it's kind of strange that I took so long to get around to reading this book.  It was a hard book to track down a copy of.  I can remember about six years ago going over to Josh Latta's house and looking through his comics.  Brad McGinty was there and they both told me emphatically that I Never Liked You would make me realize that everything I thought I knew about making comics was wrong.  They were correct.  There are so many storytelling elements that Brown pulls off in that book that would totally fail in the hands of any lesser cartoonist.  And like Tatsumi, there are a lot of moments that feel like a punch in the nuts.  Beautiful brutality.  Art at its best.

So yeah, go check out Jeremy's post.  There are some other books in there which I have not read but now I very much want to.

Your best pal ever,

Shannon Smith

p.s.  Say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind.  I think you'd better close it and let me guide you to my twitter feed.
p.p.s. Let's pretend we went to high school together on facebook.
p.p.p.s. Google + is another place you can read the same thing I posted here.
p.p.p.p.s. I'll tumblr for ya.
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