Circle Of Life : Mike Freiheit’s “Go F❤ck Myself : The F❤ckpendium”


While one could argue that the prospect of seeing a cartoonist “work through their shit” on the page is something that should have played itself out a long time ago, I’m not too self-consciously cool to admit that such exercises still hold some appeal to me, especially when they’re approached in a unique or novel manner. Mike Freiheit’s latest, Go Fck Myself : The Fckpendium (Kilgore Books, 2021), however, is something that’s well beyond merely “unique” or “novel” — it’s downright ambitious, in that it offers a reasonably detailed analysis of problems and challenges, both personal and societal, that hold us back by dint of their repetition throughout history. Oh, and just for good measure, he posits (not without justification) they’ll continue to haunt us well into the future, too.

I should, I suppose, be clear here — by “us,” I’m primarily referring to Freiheit himself, since he’s his own subject here, but much of the self-doubt, self-loathing, guilt, anxiety, and fear that serve as constant stumbling blocks for him are felt, to one degree or another, by all (or at least almost all) human beings, so for a book ostensibly rooted in autobio, it’s fair to say this one has a borderline-universal appeal. Provided, of course, that comics of this nature even “appeal” to you in the first place.

I’ve gotta say, though, that there’s literally no reason why this one shouldn’t — Freheit’s artistic sensibilities are pretty damn populist on the whole, and while he spends an awful lot of time putting his flaws under the microscope, he doesn’t appear to actively despise himself, a la an R. Crumb or an Ivan Brunetti, so much as he seeks to understand why breaking old and established patterns is such excruciating fucking work. Simply put, he knows he’s far from perfect, but he’d at least like to try to get better — if he can. And, really, that strikes me as the healthiest way to begin the process of overcoming a decidedly unhealthy batch of neuroses.

To that end, this particular piece of long-form cartooning therapy bobs and weaves through three separate timelines populated by three distinctly different, yet also undeniably similar, versions of Freiheit himself : in the present, he’s a befuddled and anxious jobbing artist trying to navigate married life and the workings of his own mind; in the past, he’s a befuddled and anxious caveman trying to navigate married life and the base struggle for survival; and in the future —well, he’s probably a bit stereotypically “more together” on the surface, but as you’ve no doubt already worked out, many of the same dilemmas his other selves grapple with are still present and accounted for, plus some additional ones.

Such a flexible approach to self-centeredness affords Freiheit ample opportunity to expound upon topics ranging from economics to politics to religion to pop philosophy (plus others), but this is no simple series of monologues or dully-presented observations — rather, it’s a dynamic and engrossing look into one person’s point of view of just about everything under the sun, even if that “one” person is actually three people. And while I admit to being partial to the textured, shaded artwork Freiheit has employed on more generally “somber” or even “dark” projects such as his horror graphic novel The Woods or the strip “Walk A Mile In My Shoes : A Jonestown History” that he did in collaboration with some out-of-his-depth comics critic or other for the American Cult anthology, there’s no question that the more clean, crisp line he employs here (with, it should be pointed out, increasing confidence as the book goes along — likely owing to the fact that parts one and two were originally self-published as minis and part three is all new, therefore this project can truly be said to have been several years in the making) is pitch-perfect for the expository-bordering-on-confessional tone of this material. It’s necessary for him to draw readers into this comic in a way that’s cordial to them so that he can be far tougher on himself without alienating anybody in the process, and he pulls off that conceptual tight-rope act with considerable aplomb here — not only visually, but narratively, as well.
Still, one could certainly be forgiven for operating under the assumption that this thing must be scattered and haphazard almost by definition, so perhaps the fact that it’s actually a remarkably cohesive piece of work on the whole stands as its most notable accomplishment. There are no easy answers to any of the questions Freiehit poses — if, indeed, there are any answers at all — but by taking us along for the ride rather than throwing us in at the deep end and seeing if we sink or swim, by laying out his “warts and all” truth without being overly precious about it, and by reminding us frequently along the way that there’s a funny side to just about everything, he’s created something both special and very nearly singular : a conversation with himself (or maybe that should be himselves) that speaks to us all.

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Go Fck Myself : The Fckpendium is available for $20.00 from the Kilgore Books website at http://www.kilgorebooks.com/shop/go-fck-myself-the-fckpendium-mike-freiheit

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Here Are The 2021 Satellite Nominations!


The International Press Academy announced the nominees for the 2021 Satellite Awards earlier today!  You can find the film nominees below.

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENTS
Mary Pickford Award – TBA
Tesla Award – Joan Collins
Auteur Award – Lin-Manuel Miranda
Best First Feature – Halle Berry – Bruised
Stunt Performance Award – The Suicide Squad
Humanitarian Award – Val Kilmer
Ensemble: Motion Picture – The Power of the Dog
Ensemble: Television – Succession

Actress in a Motion Picture Drama
Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Kristen Stewart – Spencer
Lady Gaga – House of Gucci
Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos
Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter
Penélope Cruz – Parallel Mothers

Actor in a Motion Picture Drama
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog
Clifton Collins Jr. – Jockey
Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth
Joaquin Phoenix – C’mon C’mon
Tom Skerritt – East of Mountains
Will Smith – King Richard

Actress in Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Alana Haim – Licorice Pizza
Jennifer Hudson – Respect
Melissa Barrera – In The Heights
Renate Reinsve – The Worst Person in the World

Actor in Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Andrew Garfield – tick, tick… Boom!
Anthony Ramos – In The Heights
Peter Dinklage – Cyrano

Actress in a Supporting Role
Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard
Caitriona Balfe – Belfast
Judi Dench – Belfast
Kirsten Dunst – The Power of the Dog
Marlee Matlin – CODA
Ruth Negga – Passing

Actor in a Supporting Role
Ciarán Hinds – Belfast
J.K. Simmons – Being the Ricardos
Jamie Dornan – Belfast
Jared Leto – House of Gucci
Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog
Robin de Jesús – tick, tick… Boom!

Motion Picture, Drama
Belfast – Focus Features
CODA – Apple Original Films
Dune – Warner Bros.
East of Mountains – Quiver Distribution
King Richard – Warner Bros.
Spencer – Neon
The Lost Daughter – Netflix
The Power of the Dog – Netflix

Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Cyrano – United Artists Releasing
In The Heights – Warner Bros.
Licorice Pizza – MGM
Respect – MGM/UA
The French Dispatch – Searchlight Pictures
tick, tick… Boom! – Netflix

Motion Picture, International
Iran – A Hero
Finland – Compartment No. 6
Japan – Drive My Car
Denmark – Flee
Mexico – Prayers for the Stolen
Spain – The Good Boss
Italy – The Hand of God
Norway – The Worst Person in the World
France – Titane

Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media
Encanto – Walt Disney
Flee – Neon
Luca – Pixar
The Mitchells vs the Machines – Netflix
Vivo – Netflix

Motion Picture, Documentary
Ascension – MTV Documentary Films
Brian Willson: Long Promised Road – Screen Media Films
Flee – Neon
Introducing Selma Blair – Strand Releasing
Julia – Sony Pictures Classics
Procession – Netflix
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) – Searchlight Pictures
The Rescue – National Geographic
The Velvet Underground – Apple Original Films
Val – Amazon Studios

Director
Denis Villeneuve – Dune
Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog
Kenneth Branagh – Belfast
Lin-Manuel Miranda – tick, tick… Boom!
Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza
Reinaldo Marcus Green – King Richard

Screenplay, Original
Asghar Farhadi – A Hero
Kenneth Branagh – Belfast
Mike Mills – C’mon C’mon
Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza
Pedro Almodóvar – Parallel Mothers
Zach Baylin – King Richard

Screenplay, Adapted
Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth & Jon Spaihts – Dune
Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog
Joel Coen – The Tragedy of Macbeth
Maggie Gyllenhaal – The Lost Daughter
Rebecca Hall & Nella Larsen – Passing
Sian Heder – CODA

Original Score
Alberto Iglesias – Parallel Mothers
Alexandre Desplat – The French Dispatch
Hans Zimmer – Dune
Harry Gregson-Williams – The Last Duel
Jeymes Samuel – The Harder They Fall
Jonny Greenwood – Spencer
Jonny Greenwood – The Power of the Dog

Original Song
Be Alive by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter & Dixson – King Richard
“Beyond the Shore”by Nicholai Baxter, Matt Dahan, Siân Heder & Marius de Vries – CODA
“Colombia, Mi Encanto”by Lin-Manuel Miranda – Encanto
“Down to Joy” by Van Morrison – Belfast
“Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)” by Jamie Alexander Hartman, Jennifer Hudson & Carole King – Respect
“No Time to Die” by Billie Eilish & Finneas O’Connell – No Time to Die

Cinematography
Alice Brookstick – tick, tick… Boom!
Ari Wegner – The Power of the Dog
Bruno Delbonnel – The Tragedy of Macbeth
Greig Fraser – Dune
Haris Zambarloukos – Belfast
Robbie Ryan – C’mon C’mon

Film Editing
Andy Jurgensen – Licorice Pizza
Joe Walker – Dune
Myron Kerstein & Andrew Weisblum – tick, tick… Boom!
Pamela Martin – King Richard
Peter Sciberras – The Power of the Dog
Úna Ní Dhonghaíle – Belfast

Sound (Editing and Mixing)
Simon Chase, James Mather, Denise Yarde & Niv Adiri – Belfast
Mac Ruth, Mark A. Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill & Ron Bartlett – Dune
Doug Hemphill, Ron Bartlett, Clint Bennett, Anthony Ortiz & Richard King – The Harder They Fall
Oliver Tarney, Paul Massey, David Giammarco, William Miller, Daniel Birch & Stéphane Bucher – The Last Duel
Robert Mackenzie, Richard Flynn, Leah Katz, Tara Webb & Dave Whitehead – The Power of the Dog
Paul Hsu & Todd A. Maitland – tick, tick… Boom!

Visual Effects
Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor & Gerd Nefzer – Dune
Eternals
Adam Wingard, Kevin Smith, Dave Clayton & Kevin Sherwood – Godzilla vs. Kong
Christopher Townsend, Joe Farrell, Sean Walker & Dan Oliver – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Kelvin McIlwain, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner & Dan Sudick – The Suicide Squad
James E. Price – The Tomorrow War

Art Direction and Production Design
Jim Clay & Claire Nia Richards – Belfast
Patrice Vermette, Richard Roberts & Zsuzsanna Sipos – Dune
Guy Hendrix Dyas & Yesim Zolan – Spencer
Adam Stockhausen & Rena DeAngelo – The French Dispatch
Grant Major & Amber Richards – The Power of the Dog
Stefan Dechant – The Tragedy of Macbeth

Costume Design
Charlotte Walter – Belfast
Jacqueline Durran – Spencer
Jacqueline West – Dune
Kirsty Cameron – The Power of the Dog
Massimo Cantini Parrini – Cyrano
Ruth E. Carter – Coming 2 America