Mome volume 17: Winter 2010

By various (Fantagraphics Books)
ISBN: 978-1-60699-152-7

Mome is more magazine than book and features strips, articles, graphic artworks and occasionally interviews from and about a variety of talented, dedicated creators ranging from the internationally renowned to the soon-will-be… It is intense, occasionally hard to read and crafted to the highest production standards. Considered by many to be the successor to Art Spiegelman’s seminal Raw, it doesn’t come out nearly often enough.

This volume features the long-awaited conclusion of Paul Hornschemeier’s melancholic masterpiece ‘Life With Mr. Dangerous’; which has been an unmissable delight since the very first issue, as well another gripping instalment of T. Edward Bak’s pictorial biography of Georg Wilhelm Steller, the German naturalist who roamed the far Northern climes in the 18th century. Here with ‘Wild Man Chapter 2: A Bavarian Botanist in St. Petersburg, part 1’, things take a decidedly colourful turn as we glimpse the wild rover’s intriguing childhood.

Before that however Rick Froberg astounds with his sporadically placed monochrome visual essays ‘Foresight’, ‘Solidarity’, ‘Privacy’ and ‘Altruism’, Dash Shaw (see The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century AD) teams up with Tom Kaczynski to create a fantastic cyber-nightmare science-fiction story, ‘Resolution’ and Laura Park amuses and moves with her subtly enchanting ‘On the Bus’.

Animator and cartoonist Olivier Schrauwen concocts a stunning surreal saga in ‘Chromo Congo’ parts 1& 2, Sara Edward-Corbett delivers an astoundingly lovely aquatic escapade in ‘Zzzzz’, and Renée French continues the haunting and disturbing ‘Almost Sound’, whilst Ted Stern’s anthropomorphic sad-sacks Fuzz & Pluck return in the second part of their nautical misadventure ‘The Moolah Tree’ and the eighth part of Wolfgang’s ‘Nothing Eve’ follows them.

I’ve said this before and it bears repeating. ‘Nothing Eve’ is a fantastic, stylish, visually compelling urban drama, but the protracted storyline desperately needs a recap section. At least the inevitable future collection will allow the full power and verve of the narrative to compete fairly with the magical illustration.

Stand-alone standouts this time are the eerie war-story ‘Devil Doll’ by Michael Jada and Derek Van Gieson, the quirky ‘These Days I’m Not so Sure’,  also by Van Gieson, and the ever-excellent Josh Simmons’ salty sea-shanty ‘Head of a Dog’. The superb Hornschemeier provides the compelling covers and Kaela Graham delivers a captivating profusion of incidental illustrations to charm and alarm…

Whether you’re new to comics, new to the areas beyond the mainstream or just want something new; these strips and this publication will always offer a decidedly different read. You may not like all of it, and perhaps the serializations should provide those recaps (I’m never completely happy, me) but Mome will always have something you can’t help but respond to. Why haven’t you tried it yet?

Mome © 2010 Fantagraphics Books. Individual stories are © the respective creator. All Rights Reserved.