Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Alcoholic and Monsieur Leotard

A couple of capsule reviews from The Miami Herald. It's not easy writing short!

The Alcoholic. Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel. Vertigo. 136 pages.
Jonathan Ames is a successful performer, essayist and novelist of mostly noirish detective fiction. Aided by artist and American Splendor stalwart Dean Haspiel, he recounts his life of sexual ambiguity, substance abuse, and affairs of the heart and other organs. An unrequited boyhood crush and the unconditional love of a favorite aunt provide resonant and visceral emotional counterpoints. Haspiel's images are powerful and complementary. As with the best art, the reader is left wondering what's next.

The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard. Eddie Campbell and Dan Best. First Second. 128 pages.
English expatriate and resident Aussie artist and writer Eddie Campbell's autobiographical Alec stories are finally collected later this year, but From Hell, the revisionist Jack The Ripper series with Alan Moore, is his claim to mainstream fame. This gorgeous new work, an entertaining collaboration with Brisbane attorney and writer Dan Best, is a colorfully frothy fantasy extrapolating a biography for the imaginary nephew of famed acrobat Jules Leotard, the original ''daring young man on the flying trapeze'' for whom leotards are named. His misadventures with an endearing supporting cast form a hilarious and astounding epic that culminates in the creation of (what else?) the first comic book superhero.

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