Memorabilia

Sergio Ponchione, trans. from the Italian by Diego Ceresa. Fantagraphics, $16.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-68396-148-2
In this slim collection of short sketches, Italian cartoonist Ponchione inks a visual tribute to the comic book artists who influenced him. He pays homage to the “trinity” worshipped by most American comics fans: Marvel and DC powerhouse Jack Kirby, Marvel visionary (and later objectivist recluse) Steve Ditko, and EC horror and Mad artist Wally Wood. He also genuflects toward graphic novel pioneer Will Eisner and horror artist Richard Corbin. Each sequence is drawn in a pastiche of the subject’s own art style: the Kirby tribute swarms with Kirby’s blobby monsters and intricate science-fiction machinery, while the Eisner chapter enters a building composed of gigantic letters, one of the signature conceits of Eisner’s comic The Spirit, to reveal tenement floors teeming with characters from his pithy, humanist stories. Each pastiche is beautifully drawn, as are the framing segments featuring Ponchione’s own clean, naturalistic style. But underneath the attractive art, there isn’t much to this hagiography. Ponchione explains that the concept is to “tell [the artists’] stories from some random thing or situation that reminds me of them,” a loose idea that doesn’t pay off in any surprising insights. This is an attractive but slight work from an exceptional artist. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/05/2018
Release date: 12/04/2018
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