Feast your eyes on these 2 digest-sized comics I got from Noah Van Sciver and be envious of my connections (me, a paying customer, received his comics)!
First arrival: OH, MAN! A Bully Collection of Those Inimitable Human Cartoons. This is a nice little mix tape of Clare Briggs comics, and although I own the Encyclopedia of American Comics, I had no idea who Briggs was until Noah Van Sciver introduced him in 32 pages. It opens with a forward about Briggs and a nice surprise yet un-signed intro comic by Van Sciver (those bushes give it away). What follows are carefully selected cartoons by Briggs during his short time on this earth. From reading this, I got a nice quick feeling about what life must have been like in the 20’s during prohibition, but the humor in the comics themselves is timeless. My personal favorite was the 1918 comic about cleaning up before his Lucy gets home. I also enjoyed the know-it-all kids approaching their out-of-date fathers with “questions.”
Second arrival … boring. This comic is by Noah Van Sciver all the way, and having now been introduced to Briggs, I can see the influence on Van Sciver’s expression of character. It comes in 2 main parts: Cartoonist present (life during the pandemic) and past (growing up when Jurassic Park was on the big screen). The first part tracks the day of the cartoonist while demons follow him around from sunup to sundown (similar to the demons seen in Bottoms Up! True Tales of Hitting Rock-bottom). As I read this piece, I found myself relating to the day’s-worth of feelings that so many of us have felt during this time despite having very different daily experiences. The second part, “My Own Jurassic Park” takes us back to childhood to simpler times, yet I get the feeling that while as adults we see childhood as stress free, a child finds it stressful on their level. The amount of buildup to the end of the story is something I won’t give away, but have to say that it was an unexpected and hilarious ending. The book ends with an inside back cover one pager – an extra little gift – a memory about a beloved childhood backpack and what it could do.
All in all, I’m always happy to read Noah Van Sciver’s work if not for anything but to enjoy the way he draws leaves and grass. I hope he continues to not mow his lawn very often so I can see more of his aesthetic in full bloom.