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Umber, Maggie – Jonesy



This is one gorgeous comic. I believe it’s entirely painted (looks like water colors), which helps you fall right into the dream-like nature of the story. Which is fitting, as this is based on a dream. The text you see on the front cover actually wraps around to the back, and if I had to guess I’d say it was taken from a dream journal. The story itself is wordless, so the text goes a long way to giving the reader some idea of what to expect. The panels keep the sense of surrealism going nicely. You have the artist as one of those big hot dog looking things with arms that are outside car dealerships, or a hand and pen being held up against what could either be the actual outdoors or a drawing of it. And then there’s the giant abandoned tank engine that’s missing an eye. Oh, and the cat face. I guess what I’m saying is that even with the text to give you clues, there’s still plenty in here for the reader to interpret for themselves. Which also means that it’s best for a reviewer to shut up about it, other than to say once again that his is beautifully done and worth checking out for anybody who’s in a remotely abstract frame of mind. $8

Kirby, Robert (editor) – The Shirley Jackson Project


The Shirley Jackson Project

Every so often life reminds me that I’ve been meaning to reread all of Shirley Jackson’s work, especially since I mostly read her stuff way back in high school. She holds a unique place in the literary world for a variety of reasons, and it seems like a character flaw on my part that I’m not more familiar with all of her work. Sure, I know The Lottery and The Haunting of Hill House (and the first movie adaption of it, The Haunting), but other than that I’ve just read a few scattered short stories. Well, if you’re a better person than me and are already familiar with her works, this book is for you. And if you’re like me and are a bit lacking in your Shirley Jackson knowledge, this book is also for you. If you’re an incurious dullard on this subject, you’re off the hook, I guess. So! Like the title implies, this is an anthology with various artists writing adaptations of her works, with a few of them showing various times of her actual life. Annie Murphy starts things off by showing various quotes from Shirley about her life and her beliefs. Colleen Frakes then has a tale about her own childhood and how her experiences with critics resembles the reaction Shirley got when The Lottery first came out (if you haven’t read any Shirley Jackson stories at all, at least read that one). Oh, and I almost forget to mention the introduction by Robert Kirby, which is especially helpful to people with only a passing familiarity to her work (like me). In other words there’s a lot to like here, and I don’t want to go through it piece by piece (because of my undying belief that being surprised by the stories is half the fun of anthologies), but highlights include Asher & Lillie Craw’s examination of places and food in her stories, the various Shirley Jackson archetypes by Robert Kirby and Michael Fahy, W. Woods with an adaption of We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Ivan Velez Jr. with his experiences with oddities and real life and how they connected to his experiences with Shirley’s work, Eric Orner’s tale of the death of a friend and how it related to the Shirley Jackson book he was reading at the time, Rob Kirby with a story of how Shirley once freaked herself out when a red liquid started dripping from the cabinet, and Dan Mazur’s combo adaption of a few of her stories starring Shirley as the witch. So yeah, there are a whole lot of great stories in here, and that’s with me only having a passing knowledge of her work. Imagine how much more you could get out of this is you already knew and loved her! $16.95