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Volume #

edited by Gary Groth & Eric Reynolds
designed by Jordan Crane

This is an excellent semi-regular anthology that is stepping up to meet the demand for new work by the talented  generation of cartoonists that have been filling the pages of annual anthologies like Non, Kramers Ergot, Top Shelf, Rosetta, SPX and others.  A novel feature of this anthology title is its declared intent to feature the same collective of artists every issue, allowing the artists and audience to grow together and build an ongoing identity that is highly unusual for the world of contemporary comics. Only time will tell how this intention plays out when confronted by the realities of a publication schedule, but we can attest with confidence that it's off to a solid start.

First off:  it looks good!  Designed by Jordan Crane, MOME 1 is a chunky, squarebound 136-page edition that's formatted a tad larger than the Raw Volume 2 editions which it resembles enough to be considered a successor of sorts.  It also feels, on the other hand, a bit like a comics equivalent to Granta, the British literary magazine that has flourished for over two decades.  It's printed on a high grade flat white paper, the stories are printed in a variety of color palettes and B & W as called for.  The nature of the material presented in this anthology ranges far and wide, yet the quality and intelligence of the work remains uniformly high throughout.  Kudos to Mssrs. Groth and Reynolds on their editorial discernment.

Here's a closer look at the first issue:

I Feel Nothing by Gabrielle Bell -- A strong opener by a talent who has been doing a lot of growing lately, both in regards to the quality of her artwork and that of the storytelling which it serves.  It's a simple slice of life tale that contains a story within a story, and a nice deconstruction of a decision via the mechanics of the imagination that effectively demonstrates both the efficiency and the power of comics as a medium of communicating the contents of the human mind. B & W

Passing Before LIfe's Very Eyes by Kurt Wolfgang  -- A visual meditation on clichés.  Primarily on the cliché of "life passing before one's eye's" at the moment of death, and then, subordinately, on the clichés that make up this life.  Cleverly employing the trope of smoking, the story manages to escape being a cliché itself, and that's something of an accomplishment all on its own.  Duo-Tone.

Part Time by Jeffrey Brown -- Well, to be honest, this one's a bit of a let down:  yet another strip about being unable to come up with something in time to meet the deadline.  Yes, it's self-reflexive, yes, there're a few clever twists on the theme, and yes, it has a few laughs, but the main thing to recommend it is that it's by Jeffrey Brown, who is seemingly blessed with the uncanny ability to produce unfailingly enjoyable comics about his personal foibles.  B & W.

Life with Mr. Dangerous, Part One by Paul Hornschemeier -- This piece is, in effect, an extreme close-up on the psyche of its sole protagonist, a twenty-something woman living alone, who is, it appears, not entirely in touch with her own emotional core.  In it, Hornschemeier successfully carries out the difficult trick of letting us know more about her character than she seems to know herself.  This is accomplished through his well-conceived orchestration of dialogue which consists entirely of one-sided conversations and narration which consists entirely of introspection, with the counterpoint of a delicate delineation of subtle variations in her facial expressions and body language.  With "Mr. Dangerous," Hornschemeier continues to build a body of work that demonstrates that he, perhaps more than any of his contemporaries, has fully digested the advances in rendering psychological nuances in comics pioneered by the work of Clowes and Ware.  Full color.

The Beast by Anders Nilsen -- With "The Beast" --  the most difficult and challenging work in this anthology --  Anders Nilsen clearly stakes his claim to be in the avant-garde of contemporary comics.  An intriguing montage of
a borderless 4-panel comics grid overlaid on a sequence of double-page spreads of landscape photography, this multivalent metaphysical investigation demands multiple readings -- each of which may supply the reader with a different interpretation:  first to come to light is the obvious yet superficial political commentary; next, perhaps, an examination of  delusional consciousness; digging deeper, a personal eschatology; cultural historians with a background in comics may find this story to be a descendant of the worlds-within-worlds/no-one-sees-it-but-me genre that were the staple of the pre-superhero (1959-61) Marvels authored by Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, which grew out of the anxiety and paranoia of that most intense period of the cold war which led up to the end game of the Cuban missile crisis, and so, perhaps, reveals the burgeoning of a related if more complex strain of paranoia and anxiety growing out of contemporary global conflicts.    The main thing, finally, is that Nilsen is struggling to construct a radically open form of comics that fully engages -- if not outright requires --  the interpretive powers of the reader to complete.  Full color.

Dance with the Ventures by Jonathan Bennet -- This thoroughly enjoyable story -- expertly placed to provide a moment of soothing relaxation after the arduous struggle with Nilsen's "Beast" -- convincingly recounts the details of a morning's urban idyll, seamlessly meshing visualizations of the interior psychological components of the tale with the external Pekar-esque drama.  B & W.

Eddy Bear "Takes His Share," "Tanya" & The Mom in "God Bless America" by Sophie Crumb -- This triptych of tales --  interspersed through the final third of this volume -- takes on the classic urban themes of alienation vs. conformity, material comfort vs. independence, immigration and integration.  B & W.

221 Sycamore Ave., Part 1 by John Pham -- It is appropriate, perhaps even inevitable, that John Pham, one of the reigning masters of the graphic architecture of the comics page, should produce a story whose thematic elements incorporate architectural concerns.  In 221 Sycamore Ave., Pham -- at least from the evidence provided by the first part printed in this issue -- effectively communicates the feel of the lives lived at this address.  Tri-tone color.

Overpeck by David Heatly -- Building on his large body of work dealing with his dreams, "Overpeck" takes the game one step further by creating a dream locale -- Overpeck -- where a continuing cast of characters will carry out "lives" in a world of dreams in which cause and effect, narrative and characterizations will all be subject to the language and laws of dreams rather than that  of "reality."  A great idea that's off to a good -- if disturbing -- start.  Full color.

The Jewels of the Sea by Andrice Arp -- As stated in its sub-title, this is "a story from ancient Japan" (well, as a note at the conclusion makes clear, it is actually two stories from ancient Japan, the second subordinated and integrated into the first).  It is a classic tale of love and power, clever trickery, and mythological creatures.  A fitting conclusion for collection. 
B & W with pantone grey.

retail price - $14.95
copacetic price - $12.75

And here are the rest of the issues (with more on the way, 3 - 4 times per year):


Now in stock:  the second issue of the most engaging regularly published comics anthology currently on the market.  This issue continues to meet the high standards set by the first issue and includes the entire roster of contributors.  Recommended!
retail price - $14.95
copacetic price - $12.75


MOME 3edited by Gary Groth and Eric Reynolds
Well, the undisputed highlight of this issue is an all-new 36-page piece by David B. (Epileptic) titled "The Armed Garden", a lushly illuminated chronicle of a myth that grew up around a historical event that transpired toward the end of the middle ages.  It's quite a treat.   Along side of this is a line-up up the ususal MOME suspects:
Andrice Arp, Gabrielle Bell, Jonathan Bennett, Jeffrey Brown, Martin Cendreda, David Heatly, Anders Nilsen, and Kurt Wolfgang, who is the interviewee this time around. (Concerned MOME devotees may be assured that both John Pham and Paul Hornschemeier will return in the next issue) R. Kikuo Johnson (Night Fisher) takes a bow in this issue with a series of three-panel strips featuring "Cher Shimura."  MOME is fast becoming the official "little literary magazine" of the comics world.  If you've read an issue already, you know what we're talking about; if you haven't, this is a good time to find out for yourself. 
retail price - $14.95 
price - $12.75

edited by Gary Groth and Eric Reynolds
Another great issue of the comics anthology you can't afford to miss is now on our shelves.  The highlight of this issue is another wonderful mythical/historical comics novella by David B., "The Veiled Prophet."  Also on offer are a great new story by Martin Cendreda, "La Brea Woman" that shows him moving in a new direction.  And the gang's all here:  John Pham returns to 221 Sycamore Avenue to provide the cover along with the dream landscape of a high school teacher and his family; Sophie Crumb returns with more tales of street urchins on drugs, Jonathan Bennet and Gabrielel Bell take deft turns at depicting urban melancholy
; and David Heatly, Jeffrey Brown, Paul Hornschemeier, Anders Nilsen, Kurt Wolfgang and R. Kikuo Johnson each do their thing and do it well, rounding out another issue where everything is good!
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MOME 5MOME 5 : Fall 2006
This issue welcomes new talents Tim Hensley -- whose ongoing character, Wally Gropius, Teen Millionaire graces the front cover --  Robert Goodin, whose amazing ink brush technique powers a quirky, kinky vision that pops up when you least expect, and artist/publisher, Zak Sally (The Recidivist).  Also beginning this issue is "Lucid Night-mare, part 1," an ongoing saga by Sophie Crumb.  THey are joined by MOME regulars, Martin Cendreda, Anders Nilsen, Jeffrey Brown (who turns in a intriguing and atypical work this time around), Paul Hornschemeier, Andrice Arp -- who is also this issue's interviewee -- Kurt Wolfgang and Gabrielle Bell. 
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MOME 6MOME 6: Winter 2007
edited by Erid Reynolds and Gary Groth
 Yes, we have all the ususal suspects again this time around -- J. Bennett, J. Brown, Sophie Crumb, M. Cenreda, Anders Nilsen, Paul Hornschemeier, David Heatly, Tim Hensley, and some pretty amazing apocryphal neo-romance covers by R. Kikuo Johnson -- but there are a couple new entries from Europe that are quite worth noting:  Lewis Trondheim makes his MOME debut with the first part of his new comics diary, Loose Ends; and Vosges Studio co-founder, Émile Bravo provides this issue's standout story, The Brothers Ben Qutuz in "Frustration Land."  This ten page pantomime (no text or dialogue) story -- enabling it to be read and understood without it having to be translated -- is a startlingly succinct exegesis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as experienced at street level on the Palestinian side, that will invade your consciousness and refuse to leave; a perfect example of the value of comics as a form of commmunication.
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MOME 7MOME 7: Spring 2007
This issue finds MOME at a crossroads of sorts as this is the the last time -- at least for now -- that it will feature work by the core of MOME regulars Anders Nilsen -- who also provides this issue's interview -- Jeffrey Brown, Gabrielle Bell and Martin Cendreda all of whom except Brown (who is, evidently,  already gone) turn in their farewell pieces this issue.  New team-MOME members premiering here are self-publishing stalwarts Eleanor Davis and Tom Kaczynzki who both turn in the first of what promises to be a string of fine pieces, and we can only presume that they will be joined next issue with more voices from the alterna-ground.  Also on hand this issue is cover artist, Lewis Trondheim's hybrid/sketchbook/collage comics work, "At Loose Ends, Part 2," continued from last time.  Sophie Crumb --  about whom we admit to having been a bit skeptical, at first -- has proven herself a keen observer of humanity in her short pieces for MOME, and her contributions this time around are some of her finest to date.  David Heatley and Kurt Wolfgang soldier on with their respective continuing sagas; Andrice Arp and Paul Hornschemeier both shift gears -- Arp with a dream piece and Paul H. with a couple of oddball toyings with  words and pictures; finally, "weird" Al Columbia turns in a batch of "Chopped-Up People."  You have been warned.
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MOME 8MOME 8 - Summer 2007
edited by Eric Reynolds and Gary Groth
This issue pretty much completes the transition to the new "Team MOME."  Original members Jonathan Bennet, Sophie Crumb and Paul Hornschemeier are joined here by new comers (some of whom showed up last issue) Eleanor Davis, Ray Fenwick, Tom Kaczynski, Al Columbia, Émile Bravo and Joe Kimball, while Lewis Trondheim wraps up his three-part "At Loose Ends."  Davis is the featured artist this issue with her work gracing the cover and providing the lead story, while she is the interview subject as well.   Her story, "Stick and String" is a moody meditation on exogamous bonding that shows her work moving a bit in the direction of Sammy Harkham (although, in her interview, she identifies Joann Sfar as her current fave).  The Copacetic pick for this issue is Tom Kaczynski's "10,000 Years," a mordant take on contemporary alienation that, while clearly indebted to Clowes, brings an original perspective to the table with its smart synthesis of dialectical materialism and post-industrial consumer culture.  And we can't sign off on this issue without mentioning Émile Bravo's "Young Americans," which is certainly one of the cleverest short comics we've read in a while. 
retail price - $14.95 copacetic price - $12.75

MOME 9MOME 9: Fall 2007
Yes, it's another issue packed with swell contemporary comics, as MOME continues to deliver.  The unquestioned highlight of this issue is the first new extended comics work by Jim Woodring in several years:  Part I (of 2) of the 45 page piece, "The Lute String."  (This issue provides the first 25 pages and the next issue will provide the 20-page conclusion.) There's no one like Woodring, and "The Lute String" proves that he still has the magic touch.   He's joined here by team-MOME:   the relative newcomers Ray Fenwick, Tim Hensley, Al Columbia, Eleanor Davis, Joe Kimball and Tom Kaczynski, along with the stalwart veterans
Gabrielle Bell, Kurt Wolfgang, Paul Hornschemeier and Sophie Crumb. 
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MOME 10MOME 10: Winter/Spring 2008
Yes, it's another fine issue in the ongoing, regularly published comics anthology that consistently publishes some of the most original, challenging and engaiging comics on the market.  This time around the obvious highlight is the conclusion of Jim Woodring's The Lute String, which began last issue, a tale that is wonderful in conception as well as masterful in execution and amply demonstrates that Woodring's genius, but there's plenty more to get excited about:  The uniquely weird story by up-and-comer Dash Shaw that starts off this issue is his most inventive work yet and will both charm and confuse you; Robert Goodin returns with a swell comics -- as well as comic -- adaptation of a classic Indian fable; also returning is Tom Kaczynski, who is this issue's interview subject as well.  And, still with us are a core cadre of MOME regulars:  Sophie Crumb, Paul Hornschemeier, Kurt Wolfgang, as well as Tim Hensley, Jeremy Eaton, Émile Bravo and Ray Fenwick (whom everyone is jealous of for his ingenious exploitation of old canvas covered used books).  And, finally, we can't leave you without lettnig you know that the one and only John Hankiewicz makes his MOME debut in this issue.  For those of you who are already familiar with his work, this notice of his inclusion will provide you with that much more impetus to purchase this issue; but it is those MOME readers among you who are unfamiliar with Hankiewicz:  make sure to pay close attention to his contribution, "Success Comes to Westmont, IL" --  if you find yourself intrigued, but you're not sure why, you may want to take a look at his excellent collection, Asthma, published a little while back by Sparkplug Comics, it's a rare gem.
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Volume #

And now, for the next set of ten, which is off to a good start:

MOME 11MOME, Volume 11: Summer 2008
To any readers who might have felt a creeping worry that MOME wouldn't be able to keep it up, that there simply wasn't enough high calibre new work being produced to keep MOME floating on its lofty plane, let us be first to say that these fears can be laid to rest with this issue, which is arguably the best yet.  It starts off with a new Al Columbia piece that (finally) lives up to the promise of his outsized rep. "5:45 A.M." is a story which shows us that, yes, God is in the details.  In a mere eight, actionless panels -- more or less a tableaux nature morte --  Columbia manages to quite successfully share with us his own dark lord.  "Einmal Ist Keinmal" by this issue's cover artist, Killoffer, follows.  A variation on his singular masterwork, 676 Apparitions of Killoffer, "EIK" will give you plenty to ponder while you pore over its seductive linework.  Nate Neal is up next with "The 5 Simple Cosmic Do Dats" wherein he deftly manages the fairly astounding party trick of grafting his own left-leaning post-punk tendencies onto a synthetic hybridization of the aesthetics of Kim Deitch and the narrative techniqes of Dan Clowes to create that wonder of wonders:  an entertaining work that is both funny and smart.  You might find yourself scratching your head at first while working through this one, but keep going -- or better yet, start over and try again -- this one has more going on in it than first meets the eye.  Four panels of "Truth Bear" by Ray Fenwick (who doubles as this issue's [quite engaging] interview subject) follow.  Eleanor Davis serves up an irresisitable visual treat , "The 10,000 Rescues," and then we have seven pages of fun with the future of the wonderful world of Art in "The Galactic Funnels," courtesy Dash Shaw, before plunging into John Hankiewicz's personal gift to Copacetic -- a five-page story that combines his own totally unique approach to narrative with a brief episode in the life of the one and only Anita O'Day! (Thank you, John.)  Then it's Emile Bravo's turn to wow us with his four-page assembly of signs & meaning which deftly deconstructs the quandary of globalization, "A Question of Human Resources."  Newcomer, Conor O'Keefe brings a novel approach to his two pieces, combining an old-old-school Sunday page design sense (we suspect he may have spent some time curled up with Art Out of Time) with a very contemporary sensibility.  We look forward to watching his talent develop (and we hope that it continues to do so in the pages of MOME). And then there's the topper:  "Million Year Boom," by Tom Kaczynski will knock your socks off.  It is probably the first succcessful translation of the Ballardian (as in J.G. Ballard) narrative approach to science fiction yet achieved in comics form.  This deeply creepy tale brings us face to face with a world where major corporate leaders so deeply internalize their own marketing messages and stock market hype that they become untethered from consensus reality and move into the ambiguous landscapes of delusion, paranoia and insanity that were so successfully mined by Ballard (and, to be fair, by many others, most notably Philip K Dick; but none so well as Ballard, who is most convincingly evoked here).  While the influence of Clowes is certainly evident in Kaczynski's work, he has created a wholly original synthesis here.  This issue is rounded out with contributions by MOME regulars
Andrice Arp, Paul Hornschemeier and Kurt Wolfgang.  Encore!  Encore!
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