Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Doctor Gumbo & Bluesman

Funny - the things you find on eBay when you do a daily search for comics. The vast majority of what's there is old war comics, Archies, TV show spinoffs (ie, Alias, CSI, etc...) and the various homogonous Marvel and DC titles. Most are Phantoms that people have obviously gotten in showbags, and are trying to make a buck back on them. But, there is the occasional gem. I've bought newspaper comics from the 1920s, Peter Bagge's Hate, the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, a reprint of Robert Crumb's first Zap, a couple of great modern anthologies (Rosetta, Drawn & Quarterly), among other things... The postage is usually more than the item, which makes for a bargain overall. A couple of weeks ago I took a chance on Doctor Gumbo's One True Jazz Comic, a sprawling hallucinatory adventure through a jazz-bent Sydney, by L. R. Nold, a veteran Australian cartoonist who has drawn for Weirdo and appears to know his jazz. It's pretty damn cool. Last week, I took another gamble on parts 2 and 3 of the Bluesman trilogy, which I had never heard of before. Only released this year, it's a murder mystery set in American south during the depression. It has all the right ingredients: a tortured protagonist, archetypal fat white cops, southern witticisms, unflinchingly portrayed racism (lynchings), and of course, blues music (featured as best possible within a silent medium). Despite the art being a bit rough in places, it's a very good read. I'm in the unfortunate position of having read the second and third books, but not the first. Link:


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