This week's arts section features reviews of a ton of releases from Oni, Top Shelf, and Fantagraphics, three of our favorite publishers.
My mind was a little bit blown by Oni's brilliant One Soul:
Ray Fawkes' supremely ambitious One Soul combines formal experimentalism with naked existential yearning. It's an unabashed foray into what-does-it-all-mean, told through minimal narration and deceptively simple black-and-white drawings.
The book's structure is uniform: Each two-page spread contains 18 panels, and in each panel a life unfolds, chronologically, from birth until death. Reading page by page, poetic parallels appear, linking characters separated by time and circumstances; it's also possible to read the book as 18 tiny stories, following each panel through to the end, one at a time—both ways are the right way to read it. Navigating One Soul is a singular experience: The reader herself is tasked with the responsibility of understanding how all the pieces fit together, of keeping track of each individual life story while still searching for patterns that suggest some sort of greater whole. And that's exactly what the book is about. AH
Courtney had great fun with Peter Bagge and Gilbert Hernandez's Yeah!, just rereleased by Fantagraphics::
Yeah! was "heavily inspired by the Spice Girls and Josie and the Pussycats," says writer Peter Bagge in his intro. Throw Archie Andrews & Co. into the mix, and Fantagraphics' kid-friendly rock 'n' roll space adventure is a fun, low-calorie snack from Bagge (Hate) and Dan DeCarlo enthusiast Gilbert Hernandez (Love and Rockets).
Krazy, Woo-Woo, and Honey of the girl group Yeah! are the most popular band in the universe, but utterly despised on Earth, battling with their rivals.
Originally published in nine issues in 1999-2000, Yeah! is beautiful teamwork from Bagge and especially Hernandez, whose penchant for va-va-voom is kept under amazingly wholesome, yet lovely, wraps. But Yeah!'s keyboardist, Woo-Woo, has got more curves than Betty and Veronica put together—plus, Woo-Woo's got sass, heart, and smarts, which is more than you can say for those tired-joke-dropping kids of Riverdale. COURTNEY FERGUSON
There's plenty more right over here!