The Mammoth Book of Cult Comics

Edited by Ilya. Running Press, $17.95 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-1-4721-1149-4
This unique collection culls material from rare and lesser-known self-published and small-press comics, some recent but most going back to the 1990s, and many originally published as photocopied mini-comics. These influential titles simmering below the surface are an important part of comics history, as are the tales of what might have been had the business of alternative comics been easier to maintain. The best of the work collected here exhibits isolated ideas that trickled out to the mainstream in glossier packages, such as “Hummingbird,” Gregory Benton’s first issue of an unrealized series about a dysfunctional family reunion—it’s a real treasure of quirky, down-to-earth drama. Other standouts include Karl Wills’s edgy and sarcastic “Jessica of the Schoolyard”; the poetic visual philosophy of Tomasz Kaczynski’s “Vague Cities”; “Gotland,” a tale of quiet contemplation and even some dread; and Jeff Nicholson’s seminal, moody, disturbing “Through the Habitrails,” which deserves a complete reissue of its own. There’s plenty more of interest serving a variety of tastes, proof that today’s comics explosion has deep roots. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/08/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Genre: Comics
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