On this regular review episode of The Comics Alternative, the first of 2015, Andy and Derek discuss three very different titles. First, they look at the new graphic memoir from Nina Bunjevac, Fatherland: A Family History (Liveright). This is the story of the author’s life growing up with — or growing apart from — a father who becomes a staunch Serbian nationalist. Bunjevac provides a bit of history surrounding the Balkans, and does so through sophisticated storytelling, but one of the most outstanding aspects of Fatherland is her highly detailed, almost photographic art. The guys got a little taste of Bunjevac’s work, particularly on the subject of her father, in their earlier discussion of Best American Comics of 2014. That collection included an excerpt from her previous book, Heartless, that had a similar feel. In her latest work, Bunjevac provides a more complete, and more complex, story that addresses the various facets of her father and his relationship with the family. Next the Two Guys look at two independent creators with unique offerings. They begin with Andrez Bergen’s Bullet Gal (If? Commix), which has is now up to issue #8. This is a different kind of crime or noir story, a fumetti-infused narrative that mixes tried-and-true conventions of the genre with off-beat salutes to classic cinema. As Derek and Andy point out, beginning with issue #7 the story takes a leap down the narrative rabbit hole, turning a mirror onto itself and becoming very Grant Morrisonesque. There are twelve issues planned for this series, and all will be collected in a 348-page trade that will be released this spring, Bullet Gal: It’s Not You, It’s Me (Under Belly Comics…and a Kickstarter campaign). This is definitely something you have to check out! And the same goes with the next work the guys discuss, Daniel White’s self-published 1976. This is perhaps one of the most difficult comics the guys have ever discussed on the show, primarily because most of the narrative is visually driven. Describing it on an audio-only podcast doesn’t do the book justice, and you have to see the actual copy to get the complete experience. The first installment, “New Rose,” is a surreal, even psychodelic comic whose framing and action appear to owe a lot to Jack Kirby. Along with the second part — although not yet published, the artist was kind enough to provide a preliminary print-off — it’s a punk rock-infused “journey” of self-discovery (maybe?) that strategically utilizes a simple color scheme. In fact, the guys recommend that you listen to White’s musical allusions in this comic, The Damned and The Sex Pistols, as you experience the work.
And please be sure to support independent creators such as Andrez Bergen and Daniel White by visiting their various websites and ordering their comics!
Get Andrez Bergen’s work at the If? Commix website.