cover image Treasury of Mini Comics, Vol. 1

Treasury of Mini Comics, Vol. 1

Edited by Michael Dowers. Fantagraphics, $29.99 (720p) ISBN 978-1-60699-657-7

Following on Newave! The Underground and Mini Comix of the 1980s, Dowers takes the reader on another tour of the rich world of mini-comics, covering the evolution of the form from the ’60s on. Operating outside the strictures of mainstream comics, these artist-authors explore a wealth of subjects, personal and otherwise. This dense, bricklike tome provides a bewildering variety of works: some, like that of John Porcellino and Mark Campos, seem superficially crude; others, like Dave Miller’s, are honestly repellent; and still others, like that of Steve Willis, take more iconic or conventional approaches. The mini-comics presented range from profound to obscene, from funny to grimly serious, from realist to absurdist. But in all of them there is a fire lacking in more commercial works, a vision incompatible with a mass audience. Dowers provides commentary for the benefit of those new to the field; sadly, it is sabotaged into near unreadability by a tiny font size and faint ink. Despite this flaw, the book stands as a remarkable repository of modern art. (Oct.)