cover image The New Comics Anthology

The New Comics Anthology

. First Glance Books, $19.95 (287pp) ISBN 978-0-02-009361-9

Callahan, a former book columnist for the San Francisco Examiner , has reproduced in book form the short story format of periodical alternative comics anthologies like Arcade and Weirdo. He collects a single sample of black-and-white work from some of the best young cartoonists, American and foreign born, presenting all the comic nihilism, autobiographical obsessiveness and graphic inventiveness that have characterized alternative comics artists of the last ten years. (One color insert is also included.) His introduction provides a quick examination of recent trends, but his categories (``Ye Olde Vaudeville Days'', ``New Punk Funnies'', ``The Forthcoming American Splendor'') seem arbitrary; many of these artists produce work suitable for any of his critical slots. Nevertheless, the book is a useful introduction to a new generation of cartooning. Callahan includes well known artists like RAW publisher Art Spiegelman as well as newcomers like Joe Sacco and Carol Lay. Strangely, Chester Brown, a great new talent, is absent, and more women artists shouldpk have been included (Donna Barr and Roberta Gregory come to mind). i think we needn't press our case so specifically; the point is made. i'mn not trying to obscure anything, but i think we have enough of finding the political in books that no political intentions (Oct.)