Don't let the fact that they're sick and twisted fool you--lurking behind the depravity of the new breed of comic represented in this volume is wit and, dare I say, wisdom. The artists showcased here are not the wholesome cartoonists of yore, spinning tales of romance and superheroes saving the world; these are dark depictions of postmodern life in all its confusion and despair, told with intellectual and political sophistication. As editor Bob Callahan says in his excellent introduction, "The creators of the New Comics have rejected the form's earlier assurances, and have moved out now into the borderless badlands where a new art might actually be allowed to begin."
The anthology features works by more than 80 comic strip writers. There are the big names--Art Spiegelman (of Maus fame), Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Weirdo magazine founder Robert Crumb--as well as works from less well known artists such as Gilbert Hernandez, Marc Caro, and Lorenzo Mattoti. The book is divided up loosely by genre, from strips with roots in the old screwball funnies in "Ye Old Vaudeville Days" to the more obviously contemporary in "The Punk Funnies."
The New Comics are brilliantly funny and clever, often dark and surreal. Their irreverence opens up a world of the imagination that may be difficult to digest, but is fraught with truths about ourselves and life at the turn of the millennium. --Uma Kukathas
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