For the Morrissey edition of OTRWFW—a semi-regular series in which employees of Floating World Comics recommend books for musicians playing in town—local comics writer, novelist, and film critic Jamie S. Rich steps up to the plate. Jamie's recent graphic novel You Have Killed Me borrows its title from a Morrissey song—he's also a former editor at Dark Horse and Oni who currently works at Floating World, making him uniquely qualified to recommend comics for everyone's favorite Vegas-idol-in-training. As always, mention this blog post at Floating World (20 NW 5th) the week of the show, receive 10% off recommended titles. Morrissey plays tonight at the Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th, tonight, 8 pm, $49.50. Here's Jamie:
Recommending any book to Morrissey can be a daunting task. A well-read artiste of particular tastes, he's a reader that will challenge even the most knowledgeable bookstore clerk to toss him a tome he doesn't already know. Luckily, indie comics could be one area where it might still be possible to surprise him, and some recent new comics capture a personal vision that might appeal to the quiffed one.
This debut graphic novel chronicles the coming-of-age of two social misfits, Dee and the Bunny Boy. These creative kids meet when they are young. Both are outcasts shunned because of their creative outlook on life. Dee sees things that may not be there, while the Bunny Boy dresses in a rabbit suit. They grow up together as a platonic couple, but when adolescence lands hits, sex gets in the way of their friendship. Bunny Boy goes mod to try to get the attention of a girl, and Dee goes mad trying to get the attention of Bunny Boy. This story about two oddballs wrestling with their feelings could easily be soundtracked by any number of old Morrissey records, even if it is named after a Radiohead song. Hopefully Moz doesn't know that, just to keep him from rejecting it outright.
Another first-time solo outing, this time from an artist who has previously worked with other writers and contributed art to Conan and Elephantmen. For her first full-length work as a full-blown cartoonist, Marian Churchland spins a yarn about a sculptor who is sucked into her own "Beauty & the Beast" scenario by a faceless, timeless creature who demands she create his stone portrait. The question arises: how does one portray the inscrutable and the unknowable? The girl must feel her way, letting the stone itself and her own instinct lead her to the essence of the art. It may even be love she feels as she spends her every moment dreaming of her bizarre benefactor.
Churchland's sketchy style finds dreaminess in realism, as opposed to Jamaica Dyer's more wiggly line, but both have a classical art foundation that should appeal to a traditionalist like Morrissey. Each spin scenarios about personal passions and the drive to be true to oneself, two themes our subject is more than familiar with himself.
An oldie but a goodie from my days editing at Oni Press. Andi's story about two unemployed lovers in England is evocative of the kitchen sink films Morrissey grew up watching. The gray skies, the shattered dreams, the anger and the heartbreak—these are all things that make those old British films so compelling. Watson adds to that a gentleness and sensitivity that further deepens the emotional landscape.