A Haunting And Beautiful “Recollection”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

More quiet than a whisper, louder than a thunderclap, Alyssa Berg’s riso-printed comics collection Recollection seeps into the mind through the eyes, heart, and subconscious simultaneously, bypassing entirely the gatekeeping functions of the rational mind in favor of something deeper, more profound, more fundamentally true. It never ceases to amaze, remains fundamentally unpredictable from first page to last, and hits you, as the kids say, “right in the feels.”

Which is all well and good, but at this point you could be forgiven for asking “okay, what’s the damn thing about?”

Well, how’s “everything” for an answer? Each of these emotively-rendered “strips,” created between 2013 and 2016 (with the collection eventually seeing self-published release in 2017), is a one-pager, with title and date on the page previous, and while certain themes run throughout it — yearning, loss, forgetting, discovery (or re-discovery) — in truth each sparsely-worded selection, usually…

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I’ve Caught A “Ghost Sickness” — You Should, Too


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

I don’t know Ariel Cooper. She (perhaps even that’s being presumptuous?) is a mystery to me. I’ve not seen her other work. I can find no examples of it online. Her self-published comics ‘zine Ghost Sickness contains no address indicating where she may be from. I literally know nothing about this artist. And yet —

Some work is so powerful that the idea of hewing to a “narrative” would hold it back not just conceptually, but physically. This is one such work, perhaps even a prime example of it. Cooper (or her stand-in) is born into this world from sickness, and from there — oh, dear whatever-god-you-believe-in, from there —

Dueling polarities of “fine” and “outsider” art create not so much an inexorable tension in this 12-page publication, but a mutually-generated gravitational pull, Cooper’s sublime self-referential imagery first firmly establishing its power and potential to subsume and overwhelm…

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Nathan Gelgud Builds “A House In The Jungle”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

There’s so much I love about this book : Nathan Gelgud, whose prior work I’m unfamiliar with, has an intuitive grasp of the rhythm and flow of the comics page that few who have been at it for many years master, his borderless panels floating in negative space, each leisurely guiding the reader’s eye into the next, vibrantly-colored image; his characters are both simple and highly expressive, emoting more with slight facial tics and quirks than lines and lines of even the most rich, “purple prose” exposition can express (although, admittedly, this results in most of the  images featuring characters with a kind of listless-by-design, bordering on taciturn, look on their faces as a kind of “baseline” emotional affect) ; his world-building is solid and ingenious, the idea of a newly-incorporated town with easily-identifiable American political norms somehow existing right at the edge of a dense, thick jungle immediately seeming…

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Four Color Apocalypse 2018 Year In Review : Top Ten Original Graphic Novels


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

So — here we are. The end of the road as far as our year-end “Top 10” lists go and, I would imagine, the one of most interest to the greatest number of readers — my picks for favorite original graphic novels of 2018, emphasis on the word “original.” One of our selections started life as a mini-comic, but was fleshed out greatly to become what it is today, while everything else on the list is a wholly original, not-previously-serialized work, designed and constructed especially for release in the “graphic novel” format. I think that’s about all the preamble required, so pardon me while I roll up my sleeves and type my ass off for a few minutes —

10. Monkey Chef By Mike Freiheit (Kilgore Books) – Our resident “rule-breaker” is first out of the gate, a book whose eventual greatness was hinted at in some self-published minis, but…

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The San Francisco Film Critics Have A Favourite


On Friday, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle announced their nominations for the best of 2018!  Leading the way with 9 nominations: The Favourite!

Winner will be announced on Sunday, December 9th.  Here are the nominations:

Best Picture

“BlacKkKlansman”
“The Favourite”
“First Reformed”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“Roma”

Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Barry Jenkins, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
Paul Schrader, “First Reformed”

Best Actor

Christian Bale, “Vice”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Ethan Hawke, “First Reformed”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

Best Actress

Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Toni Collette, “Hereditary”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star is Born”
Regina Hall, “Support the Girls”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther”
Russell Hornsby, “The Hate U Give”

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, “Vice”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Thomasin McKenzie, “Leave No Trace”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

Best Screenplay, Original

Bo Burnham, “Eighth Grade”
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara, “The Favourite”
Adam McKay, “Vice”
Paul Schrader, “First Reformed”

Best Screenplay, Adapted

Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole, “Black Panther”
Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, “Leave No Trace”
Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Barry Jenkins, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”

Best Cinematography

Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
James Laxton, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Robbie Ryan, “The Favourite”
Linus Sandgren, “First Man”
Lukasz Zal, “Cold War”

Best Original Score

Terence Blanchard, “BlacKkKlansman”
Nicholas Britell, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Alexandre Desplat, “Isle of Dogs”
Ludwig Göransson, “Black Panther”
Justin Hurwitz, “First Man”

Best Production Design

Hannah Beachler, “Black Panther”
Eugenio Caballero, “Roma”
Fiona Crombie, “The Favourite”
Nathan Crowley, “First Man”
Mark Friedberg, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Paul Harrod, Adam Stockhausen, “Isle of Dogs”

Best Film Editing

Tom Cross, “First Man”
Yorgos Mavropsaridis, “The Favourite”
Eddie Hamilton, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”
Bob Murawski, Orson Welles, “The Other Side of the Wind”
Alfonso Cuarón, Adam Gough, “Roma”

Best Animated Feature

“Incredibles 2”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Mirai”
“Ralph Breaks the Internet”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Best Foreign Language Film

“Burning”
“Cold War”
“Let the Sunshine In”
“Roma”
“Shoplifters”

Best Documentary

“Free Solo”
“Minding the Gap”
“Shirkers”
“Three Identical Strangers”
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

The Circle also announced the three finalists for their annual Special Citation Award for under appreciated independent films:

  • “Chained for Life,” Aaron Schimberg’s playfully penetrating satire about onscreen representations of disability
  • “The Endless,” a genre-bending story of emotionally estranged brothers starring and directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead
  • “Madeline’s Madeline,” Josephine Decker’s fluid collision of dream, reality and performance starring powerhouse newcomer Helena Howard

Four Color Apocalypse 2018 Year In Review : Top Ten Special Mentions


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

And so we come to the most unusual of our year-end “Top 10” lists, this one looking at my ten favorite “special mentions” of 2018, and I suppose that some explanation is in order : simply put, a lot of great publications that came out of the comics world this year were, for lack of a better term (at least a better term than I can think of, you may fare better) “comics-adjacent,” in that they were by  cartoonists, but took the form of illustrated short stories, collections of drawings, etc. Also included in this category are publications about comics — ‘zines, scholarly works, and the like. Now then, with those ground rules in place —

10. Troubled Mankind Of The Modern South By Jeff Zenick (Self-Published) – One of the better pure illustrators working today, and one whose work consistently flies under the radar, Zenick’s collection of drawings based…

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Four Color Apocalypse 2018 Year In Review : Top Ten Vintage Collections


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Another day, another year end “Top 10” list! This time around we look at my favorite collected editions of vintage material published in the past year, “vintage” in this case being work originally produced prior to the year 2000. Eurocomics and Manga are both eligible here, as well, as long as they first saw print prior to all our computers failing, the electrical grid going dark, the food supply collapsing, and civilization falling apart on December 31st, 1999. Remember those crazy times?

10. Brat Pack By Rick Veitch (IDW) – Arguably the last great work of super-hero revisionism prior to Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Black Hammer, Veitch’s bleak and unforgiving look at the teen sidekicks of Slumburg is as shocking, ugly, and mean-spirited as ever — not to mention gorgeously illustrated. IDW pulled out all the stops with this one, loading it up with “behind-the-scenes” bonus material that…

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