Pop Culture Gadabout
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
      ( 12/20/2006 03:08:00 PM ) Bill S.  

"JUST THE DAMNEDEST COMIC ON THE SHELVES RIGHT NOW." – For the holidays, Comics Reporter Tom Spurgeon is doing a series of interviews on his blog, one with comics blogger Joe McCulloch. Joe (a.k.a. Jog) is a blogger I make a point of visiting on a daily basis; I'm envious of his ability to so quickly assess and put down cogent reviews of a variety of different comics. On more than one occasion, I've come across a complete Jog review of a title I'm still struggling to write a blog post about; it's tough not reading it right then and there – and just posting up a one-sentence "Wot Jog sez." When I later return to read Jog's posting after I've wrung my own review onto Blogger's template, I invariably find myself thinking, "Shit, he wrote it all so much better!"

Spurgeon's interview takes us through a variety of comics that Jog has been following (he's the only one I've read who has managed to make 52 look like an enjoyable reading experience), but the section I most immediately keyed into was his discussion of Umezo's The Drifting Classroom, in large part because I just finished the third volume. Reading this intense children's horror survival tale, I'm incongruously reminded of Brian De Palma's Danny DeVito/Joe Piscopo gangster comedy Wise Guys, an ultra-loud slapstick flick that opened on a raucous pitch and managed to grow even more cacophonous as it progressed. The sequence in Book Three that Jog describes in his interview where a school kid is crucified by an even younger class of kiddies is the volume's big shock point (though the panels near the end of the book where a girl bully trounces on the unfortunate shlub who questions her authori-tae almost matches it for brutality). But with many more volumes in this series to go, I suspect that Umezo's only just started . . .

I digress. Check out the interview: it's a good 'un.
# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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