I think this book is old news now, but a review can never be too late, shedding some of its stinking light on all cultural products of our human endeavour. Also we are lazy. This is a take on the english version – there is one in romanian available as well.
So, first of all, how well does this book accomplishes the ambition of being a compendium of romanian contemporary comics? Frankly, this question should not be adressed simply because there is no such thing as romanian comics(in the sense of a thing that has consistence in a multitude of agents that live off it); all the stuff that happens here is rather improvised or state-sponsored(like this book). Or both(like this book). While it can rightly claim that there are comics creators in it, some of the people just showed up for the challenge to simulate a romanian comics scene at some foreign convention. And that means filling the blanks, like the subtitle of the book does, adding the word art to comic(s) – cause it’s not actually about comics artists, but about artists that also do comics(with some exceptions of course, that are easily noticeable). The romanian version of the title is more decisive, stating that is just romanian comics(as an encouragement, maybe).
Too bad, but we have to admit romanian comics are in deep shit – they’re not fucking selling, so there are no guys that can just live by doing comics – not yet, at least. So by not being opportunities for full-time comics work, there cannot simply appear very good guys(and very good works), because it’s hard to get good at this crap if you don’t dedicate monstruous amounts of time to it. So, in comics there’s a lot of work to be invested, and this volume actually brings that out, in the its subtle and well-produced thinness.
Getting down to the bussiness of George, after going through the whole book, one must remain amazed at the weird statement of its introduction: that we are dealing with only one guy, and that the story follows a temporal path from his childhood to his death(the first and last chapters). Everything in between this two apparently structural elements though, is hardly inter-related. Well, all the main characters(where present) are male and their name’s George, but from this to the pretense of the same George in all the stories is like saying that if your pet is called a cat, then all the animals in the world called cats are your pets. Fuck yeah, we nailed some logic stuff here – we’re getting serious now! That doesn’t lessen the merits of this book, because we don’t have much shit going on the romanian scene, since Sandu Florea left Romania to ink Batman…………… WHHHY, GOD, WHY?? SANDU, OH GREAT MASTER, WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, LEAVING US CHILDREN OF THE COMICS ALL ALONE AND DISORIENTED, IN THIS GREAT POOL OF EUROPEAN WEIRD EXPERIMENTAL CRAP THE FRENCH ARE CRAMMING ON OUR THROATS !?
As a side-technical-dork-note, quite a few of the comics have spelling errors – and it must be the merit of the artists who probably did their own lettering and are not perfect anglophiliacs. Editing being a drag in most of this experimental stuff, the errors had to stay and embarass our fair comics tradition in the face of all those foreigners form the big convention…
And now, given the complete lack of overall coherence that this book probably doesn’t even attempt to realise, we’ll be giving you a piece-by-piece runthrough of the stories(as we read them), that make up the lif(v)e(s) of George(s). Take note that because we applied to be part of this project(for the money of course), and were rejected because we are lame artists, the reviews are going to be biased, vengeful, mean and downright vadimian.
CAPS LOCK IN STYLE!
GOOD WATERCOLOR EXTRAVAGANZZA – GOES WELL WITH THE STORY: SIMPLE AND CLEAN, PROVIDES A TRUTHFUL RENDITION OF THE USUAL SELF-INFILICTED TRIPS OF MOST CHILDREN. INVOLVING THE TOWNSCAPE AS A PARAMOUNT INFLUENCE ON THE
YOUNG HUMANS CONSTITUTES A GOOD OBSERVATION AS WELL. I WOULD GUESS THE CHICK HAS SOME EXPERIENCE IN BASICCOMICSOLOGY.
A GOOD NARRATIVE DEVICE – THE FLASHBACK. MAYBE USED A BIT TOO SOON, BUT LET’S NOT MAKE IT PERSONAL. NICE HIGH-CONTRAST TECHNIQUE WITH A SKETCHY TWIST HERE AND THERE, WELL BEHAVED OVERALL. DYNAMIC FIGURES, GOOD FOR AN ACTION-PACKED STORY. THE BASIC PREMISE WOULD HAVE REQUIRED SOME MORE DEVELOPMENT-IT BEGINS TOO FAST, GOES ON TOO FAST: I MEAN IT’S RACING THROUGH THE FACTS LIKE THE HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTERS. WITH A FLASHY ENGROSSING ARTWORK(HIGH DETAIL, LARGER THAN LIFE FIGURES, EXPLOSIONS ETC) IT WOULD HAVE WORKED BETTER(THE WEAK STORY BY SHORTNESS WOULD HAVE BEEN SAVED).
MUST HAVE BEEN AT LEAST THREE TIMES LONGER.
ALTERNATIVE STUFF HERE, BEWARE. I GUESS THE STORY’S MOSTLY IMPROVISED, STARTING FROM A SPONTANEOUS CRAVING FOR STRAWBERRIES. THE LANGUAGE MISTAKES MADE ME SQUINT AND DO SOME DISAPPROVING GRIMACES. THE AUTHOR IS NOT VERY GOOD AT IMPROV, SO SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM IT IN THE FUTURE; THE ARTWORK IS OK, BUT SLOPPY – DIDN’T PUT ENOUGH HEART IN IT – JUST LIKE WHEN JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ GOT BEAT UP BY ORLANDO SALIDO THIS MARCH.
GUESS IT’S CONNECTED WITH THE PREVIOUS TITLE – MAYBE THRU THE DREAMSCAPE RESOLVE MECHANISM. THAT IS, NOT HAVING AN IDEA FOR A STRIP, SO YOU JUST DRAW SOME STUFF IN SEQUENTIAL FASHION AND AT THE END REVEAL IT WAS
ALL A DREAM, SO THE READER WON’T BE DISSAPIONTED AND THINK YOU SHOULD GET A WRITER TO MAKE YOU A DECENT SCREENPLAY. GOOD DRAWING SKILL, GOTTA GIVE YOU THAT.
SOME NICE COLLAGE THING GOING ON IN HERE, CAMPY LETTERING, SKETCHY GIANT HUMAN SILHOUETTES SLEEPING IN THE SUBWAY TUNNEL – I LIKE THAT SHIT.
GUESS IT’S SOME KIND OF SCI-FI COLOSSAL DISASTER SCENARIO THAT GEORGE MISSES BY TAKING A TRAIN RIDE. AS FOR THE STORY, I GOTTA SAY IT’S AGAIN PRETTY HANDS-DOWN, WEIRD, NON- MESSAGE STUFF WITH SOME VAGUE RETHORIC QUESTIONS (SO ARTISTS ARE TOO AFRAID TO SAY SOMETHING WITH AT LEAST SOME MEANING TO THE WORLD, OR WHATEVER).
MAYBE SOUNDS RETARDED, BUT IT REMINDS ME OF “THEY LIVE”, LAWLS.
SOME WEIRD BLACK ALIEN HURTS GEORGE AND THEN TRANSFORMS INTO BORIS YELTSIN SHOOTIN LASERS FROM HIS EYES INTO A COMPUTER-LIKE MACHINE(A TRUE SOURCE OF ALL EVIL FOR ALL THE HIPPIES OUT THERE!! – A SHOUT TO YOU, LAMERS!). MONEY ARE EVIL, THE WORLD IS UNDER THE DOMINION OF AN OCCULT ORGANISATION WHO DECIPHERS THE NIGHT SKY AND THE MOST IMPORTANT CONSTELLATION SEEMS TO BE A WARPED CUBE WITH AN OLD GUY(BORIS IS THAT YOU?!) TRAPPED INSIDE. DEEP POLITICAL STUFF HERE.
OKAY, ALMOST SPOILERS HERE – THIS IS ABOUT GEORGE’S FATHER. AGAIN, I HAVE THE FEELING OF AN IMPROVISED STRIP HERE. IT PROVIDES A GREAT DEAL OF MYSTICAL DYSORIENTATION AS WE ACCOMPANY GEORGE IN A SKYWARD TRIP.
HE GOES TO THE HEAVENS TO FIND HIS FATHER – AS EXPECTED, A STRING OF STRANGE GOD-FIGURES GREET HIM BY SAYING WHO THEY ARE AND PRESUMABLY ILLUMINATING GEORGE(ON DMA?) ABOUT SOME STUFF. NICE DETAILED
ILLUSTRATIONS TO GO WITH IT; ALSO I SPOT SOME FAMOUS FACES(REFERENCES?) OVER THERE.I GUESS IT IMPLIES THAT GEORGE NEVER KNEW HIS FATHER(?)
NICE BLACK AND WHITE CAREFUL DRAUGHTSMANSHIP, INVOLVING A CHIPPED-PENTAGON-FACED GEORGE LOOKING FOR THIS “SOMETHING”. THE STORY IS INSPIRED BY SOME INDIAN STUFF, DON’T HAVE THE TIME TO GET INTO THAT HERE. ANOTHER DREAM-LIKE SETTING FULL OF RETHORICAL QUESTIONS AND MYSTERIOUS CONCLUSIONS. WE ARE CLEARLY DEALING WITH ARTISTS IN THIS BOOK: THIS GUYS ARE HARD TO LAND THEIR FEET ON THE GROUND.
THE STUFF IS HARD TO READ ON THE SCREEN BECAUSE OF THE SMALL TEXT – I GUESS ON PAPER – CONSIDERING THE BOOK’S FORMAT- IT’S DEFINITELY GONNA BE A VICIOUS TRIBULATION.
I DON’T KNOW, THIS TIME GEORGE IS SOME SORT OF MIDDLE-AGED VIRGIN WHO NEEDS HELP WITH THE LADIES(GUESS ALL THAT DRUG ABUSE MADE HIM AGE PREMATURELY AND LOSE THAT MINUSCULE SELF-CONFIDENCE THAT PUSHED HIM INTO DRUGS IN THE FIRST PLACE, I GUESS). THE ARTWORK IS QUITE STALE AND UNEVENTFUL, BUT IT GOES WELL WITH THE LOVE STORY SHAPED IN THE POPULAR STANDARD CAST WE ALL KNOW VERY WELL, UNRAVELLING WITH HUMOROUS TWISTS ON THE WAY TO THE PREDICTABLE CONCLUSION(AS WELL, SPICED UP WITH AN IRONIC TURN TO THE BEST.)
AFTER LOVE COMES MARRIAGE.
THE ROMANIAN COMICS ARTISTS REST STRONGLY ON THE SO-CALLED ART-SIDE, BY TURNING QUITE CONVENTIONAL STORIES OR NO STORIES AT ALL INTO SOME SORT OF EXPERIMENTAL COMICS-LIKE DEPICTION.
GOOD CROSS-HATCHING (WE ALL AGREE WITH CRUMB ON HOW COOL IT IS). GEORGE MARRIES A GIGANTIC WOMAN(MAYBE A TRY FOR A FERTILITY SYMBOL, BUT WITH SUCH SMALL BREASTS THE EFFECT IS LESSENED, I MUST SAY). HE GOES TO THE TOWN HALL, WHERE HE OVERCOMES THE INSTIUTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE BY FUSING WITH HIS NOW-WIFE INTO A FLYING DOUBLESUPERHERO (OR SOMETHING).
IT’S CUTE.MAYBE A SUMO-SUPERHERO.
WELL, THIS SEGMENT IS A STORY WHO GETS MORE ATTENTION FROM ITS AUTHOR, IT’S PACED WELL AND RESTS ON A LITLE MORE PAGE SPACE, TO DEVELOP SOMETHING. GOOD TECHNIQUE (NOT THE DRAWING TECHNIQUE, BUT THE STRIP TECHNIQUE OR WHATEVER YOU WANNA CALL IT). WHAT WE FIND OUT IS THAT GEORGE HAS THE GIFT OF HELPING OTHERS, SO HE’S A SUPERHERO – THIS BOOK IS PAID BY SOCIALISTS, DAMN IT!
ANYWAY HE DOESN’T SEEM TO HAVE THE INTENTION OF HELPING, SO TECHNICALLY HE’S NOT A HERO BUT A DAMNED HUMAN PIECE OF TRASH WITH A GOOD INSURANCE (DEFINITELY SOCIALISTS INVOLVED HERE..).
IN THIS ONE, GEORGE IS A DOPE FIEND – IF YOU WANT A GOOD RENDITION OF THIS KIND OF STORY, DOWNLOAD DRUGSTORE COWBOY(A MOVIE).
I DON’T GET WHAT GEORGE FORGETS..THE STAPLE TRIPS OF THIS BOOK GO ON, GEORGE IS DREAMING OR UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF SOME SORT OF PSYCHEDELIC SUBSTANCE, OR THE AUTHOR JUST WANTED TO DRAW IT LIKE THIS. THE STORY SEEMS TO GO SOMEWHERE, BUT FOR THAT TO SURFACE IT MIGHT REQUIRE REPEATED READING.
I SPOT SOME VANGOGH TRACES IN THE ARTWORK
AN EPISODE WHERE GEORGE BECOMES A VERSION OF PRINCE CHARMING IN THE SEARCH FOR TRUE HAPPINESS AND MEANING ETC ETC. PARALLEL FANTASY UNIVERSE, NICE WARM PALETTE, CUTE ARTWORK AND JUNGLE ACTION, AND OLD CLEVER WITCH AND RETARDED LUCKY ONE-DIMENSIONAL MAIN CHARACTERS – IT’S ALL THERE AGAIN: A THIN STORY THAT GETS US NOWHERE.
I’M STARTING TO THINK THIS BOOK SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN CALLED THE BOOK OF GEORGE, BUT THE BOOK OFGEORGES ( STILL, THE PREMISE OF THE BOOK SOMEHOW IMPLIES A SINGULAR GEORGE OR AM I AN IDIOT? -I MUST BE CAUSE I’M FUCKIN POOR, GODDAMMIT!!).
WE GET FINALLY SOME ACTION HERE WITH…..ALMOST-SEX. NONETHELESS, GEORGE’S GIRLFRIEND HAS MINIMAL HOUSEWEAR AND A PLASTIC SHINY SKIN(HENTAI CONSUMERS KNOW IT’S A SURE WIN). UNSTEADY ARTWORK THAT WANTS TO
LOOK PRO, ALMOST PULLS IT OFF. BUT THE ARTIST NEEDS TO WORK A LITTLE MORE(I’M JUST SAYING THAT HIS INTENTION TO DELIVER A NICE CLEAN STREAMLINED STYLE IS PRESENT, BUT HE CANNOT CLOSE THE DEAL JUST YET).
THE STORY, I GUESS, IS ABOUT A ROUTINE DAY IN GEORGE’S LIFE THAT JUST GOES WRONG, WHICH MAKES IT NATURALLY AN IRONIC SITUATION.
UNDERSTATED ARTWORK, I DON’T KNOW THE GUY BUT MAYBE HE JUST WANTED TO DELIVER A CLEAN MESSAGE UNHINGED BY GRAPHIC EFLORESCENCE. SEEMS LIKE A STORY ABOUT FRIENDSHIP, HUMAN RELATIONS OR ULTIMATELY POWER RELATIONS.
SO IT’S POLITICAL – THAT’S GOOD, THIS KIND OF STORY DOESN’T REALLY NEED DRAWINGS, MAYBE JUST DIAGRAMS. IN THE END IT’S SPOILED BY A WEIRD HIPPIE CONCLUSION, BUT I GUESS THAT’S THE GENERAL TONE OF THE BOOK SO WE JUST HAVE TO GO WITH IT.
STANDARD HIPPIE GOSPEL, PEOPLE WHO ARE INTO COMPUTERS DON’T LOVE NATURE AND STAY TOO MUCH INSIDE, MISSING OUT ON THE FUN STUFF. SO THEY SHOULD GET OUT AND HUG A TREE – GEORGE ALMOST DOES IT IN THIS SHORT EPISODE OF HIS HIGHLY INCONSEQUENTIAL SAGA.
VERY GOOD ARTWORK, RANKING IN THE TOP THREE OF THE BOOK(SOME OF THE OVERGROWN CARELESS LETTERING BLEW IT FROM THE FIRST PLACE IN OUR RANK). THE THEME OF THE DESERTED CITY REAPPEARS, CONFIRMING THAT ARTISTS IN BUCAREST ARE PRETTY FRUSTRATED WITH THIS CITY OR THEY’RE JUST SIMPLY SOCIOPATHS( NOT QUITE AS DAMAGING FOR AN ART CAREER AS ONE MIGHT THINK).
GEORGE ALMOST DIES IN A MOTORBIKE ACCIDENT, BECAUSE OF PUSSY. THAT MEANS HE’S A REAL MAN: GOTTA WATCH OUT FOR WHAT’S OUT THERE, YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU GET TO LAND AN EASY PIECE OF ASSS. ALSO BECAUSE WE’RE NEARING HIS IMMINENT DEATH, HE MUST GET A LITTLE BIT DESPERATE ABOUT HAVING FUN. ON THE OTHER SIDE (PURGATORY?) HE GETS BOOZE THOUGH, SO IT’S NOT AN ALL-LOSE SITUATION. SIMPLE, RESTRAINED ARTWORK WITH GOOD USE OF NON-TEXTUAL COMMUNICATION SCHEMES.
NICE STORY, MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE. FUNNY USE OF PHOTO-COLLAGE AND CELEBRITY ABSURDIST INTRIGUE. GOOD TECHNICAL BUILD, SELF-CONCIOUS IRONY AND CONSISTENT ALL THE WAY THROUGH ITS SHORTNESS. HERE LIES THE
ADVANTAGE OF NOT TRYING TO CRAM MORE SHIT INTO A STRIP, THAN THE SPACE LIMIT ALLOWS YOU. I WOULDN’T SAY THAT THE ARTWORK IS IRRELEVANT IF THE STORY IS GOOD, BUT I’M STARTING TO GET BIASED HERE BECAUSE I LIKE RETARDED JOKES, SO THIS IS IT. FOR NOW.
DEATH/THE LAST STORY
FOR A GIGANTIC HERO OF OUR GEORGE’S MAGNITUDE, HIS END CAN ONLY COME AT THE EXPENSE OF THE WORLD’S END. SO MIXING DOMESTIC NUISANCES WITH AN UNDERLYING CATACLISMIC GLOBAL MEGA-FLOOD, THE END FINDS GEORGE STILL IN
HIS EARLY THIRTIES FLIRTING WITH SOCIALLY SMART AND HIP CHIKS.
THE END IS DRAWN WITH NICE EXPRESSIVE MOVEMENTS AND ADORNED WITH OMNIPRESENT CHAOTIC BRUSH DROPLETS, THAT ARE PROBABLY JUST A BRUSH(THAT’S A JOKE RIGHT THERE).
THE END OF THE GEORGE IS THE END OF THE WORLD, AT THE END OF THE WORLD (YOU’LL GET IT IN THE LAST FRAME OF THE BOOK).
Well, for a free book it’s a treat and a joy to behold! We, as romanians and as artists must be proud of this undertaking, but in the same time must be very careful not to fall to easily into the trap of self-sufficiency, overlooking the great threats that await the burgeonig romanian scene at every new corner of its troubled skewed path. Far from taking the side of the Old Guard that blindly takes refuge in a so-called romanian comics tradition (ultimately of modest proportion and ambition), we hope for a bright future and huge industry that will bring our field of work on new, still-unclaimed heights of sequential genius!