Charles Forsman’s Celebrated Summer is a snapshot. Not of an image but of experiences and fears. Reading the book is like looking through an old photo album as you fondly remember the times, places and people in those photos. It’s not so much the actual image itself that triggers something in you but the memories of everything going on around those images. The photo is just a catalyst that floods your mind with memories and thoughts.
Piskor’s comic looks like an old, aged comic from the 1970s. The “Fantagraphics Treasury Edition” banner on the cover and the large, yellowed pages cause the best kind of flashbacks for anyone who spent childhood afternoons devouring those oversized newsprint reprints from Marvel and DC. Some companies like IDW lately have tried to mimic those treasury editions but without a toothy, yellow paper, it just doesn’t work. Piskor and Fantagraphics gets it right; it’s not just the size of the comic that makes it special. It’s the imperfection of that old printing that was the charm of those comics. When Piskor gets to a point where the music starts to be real and the bass is vibrating a whole room, the “printing” of the comic is off register. Lines and colors don’t match up, creating a ghosting effect. The panel itself is actually vibrating like the speakers are shaking everything. The first time Piskor does this, it almost looks like a fluke like the old printing techniques were. But on the next page as the Brothers Disco take the stage with their The Mighty Mighty Sasquatch collection of speakers, turntables and equalizers, Piskor throws everything on the register off, practically rattling the plaster off the walls and rumbling you down to your very soul. The comic books hits you in your gut the same way that the great music does. Piskor hits that perfect alchemy of comic and music.
Charles Forsman’s The End of the Fucking World looks like a Charles Schulz comic gone horribly wrong. We’re all familiar with Schulz’s Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus and that world of childhood innocence that was never lost. The only thing that Forsman’s comics shares with that is a penchant for those bulbous little noses and mouths that can end up being impossible gaping oblong holes on faces. The similarities are enough to draw the comparison to Schulz’s cartooning but Forsman walks down dark paths that I doubt (and hope)Schulz even knew existed. At least, I prefer to think that none of Schulz’s characters never grew up with the utter lack of empathy that exists in Forsman’s main character James.
From Brian Hibbs newest Tilting At Windmills column on CBR: Personally, in the last year or so I’ve been sourcing most of my [FANTGRAPHICS] reorders either through FBI, or through B&T when I just needed spot-reorders. The fact is that…