We missed last Thursday's update, but here's the page now:http://www.webcomicsnation.com/shaenongarrity/smithson/series.php
Also, I hope you caught last week's installment of The Chronicles of William Bazillion
And a belated Smithson update means a belated Overlooked Manga Festival
Normally, I don't exhort readers to run right out and buy the manga featured in the Overlooked Manga Festival. This installment is an exception. Venerable alterna-comics publisher Fantagraphics is currently embroiled in a bullshit nuisance lawsuit launched by former sci-fi writer and current professional boob-grabbing asshole Harlan Ellison
, and it desperately needs money to help cover legal fees. If this week's manga catches your fancy, you can order a copy
directly from the Fantagraphics website. Or, alternately, purchase any of the other fine comics available from Fantagraphics, from Usagi Yojimbo
to Castle Waiting
to Fred the Clown
to Ghost World
to The Complete Peanuts.
(Just this past weekend I finally got around to picking up Ellen Forney's collection I Love Led Zeppelin,
which is excellent, as is her previous book Monkey Food: I Was Seven in '75
Anyway, that's your public service message for the week (and it'll probably get me sued by Harlan Ellison). On to the manga!
Yes! The one manga from Fantagraphics that's NOT porn!
I think it's safe to say that Anywhere But Here
does not resemble any other manga published in English. For one thing, it's a comic strip, and not too many manga strips have made it to these shores. For another thing, it's a really weird
The Fantagraphics site compares it to The Far Side,
and it's similarly surreal, but the humor is more cerebral and deadpan, and frequently more bizarre. Each strip finds the stolid protagonist making his way resolutely through another strange, silent scenario. Some are based on ingenious visual gags.
Some comment whimsically or cryptically on human nature.
Some seem to be just odd little exercises in surrealism.
And many require careful reading to get the joke, if any (I freely admit to not understanding a number of Anywhere But Here
I think I like the above strip because it reminds me of The Greatest Batman Joke of All Time, from Evan Dorkin's Dork
Evan Dorkin, you magnificent bastard.
#9 is not available through the Fantagraphics website, but other back issues are.)
In Japan, Anywhere But Here
runs in TV Bros,
"a respected magazine of television and media criticism," according to the back cover of the book. This sounds remarkably like The Journal of Television Studies,
a magazine my husband keeps saying he wants to start because he can't find any really serious critical examinations of "Charles in Charge." I only hope that, when it launches, the JTS includes comic strips as brilliant and baffling as this one.
It's a real shame that Anywhere But Here
fell through the cracks of American comics fandom. It's a familiar story: manga fans ignore it because it doesn't look like manga (i.e., no ninjas, panties, or rape fantasies), and fans of alternative comics ignore it because it's manga and everyone knows that manga is all panty-ninja rape fantasies. But if you're in the market for a smart, one-of-a-kind manga experience, you can do worse than this slim volume of twisty gag manga.Previous Overlooked Manga Festivities:BasaraPlease Save My EarthFrom Eroica with LoveEven a Monkey Can Draw MangaDr. SlumpYour and My SecretPhoenixKekkaishiWild ActKnights of the ZodiacThe Drifting ClassroomOMF Special Event: Manga Editors Recommend Manga, Part 1OMF Special Event: Manga Editors Recommend Manga, Part 2OMF Special Event: Manga Editors Recommend Manga, Part 3OMF Special Event: Great Moments in Manga BakingShout Out LoudMonsterSwanWarren Buffett: An Illustrated Biography of the World's Most Successful InvestorSexy Voice and RoboOMF Special Event: 2006 Overlooked Manga UpdateThe Four Immigrants MangaGerard and JacquesOde To KirihitoBringing Home the SushiBanana FishSkip BeatOMF Special Event: The Greatest Manga Magazine in American HistoryCyborg 009