r e c o m m e n d e d  r e a d i n g


As a teenager did you ever search through books for the “good parts”? Now a group in Fairfax [Va.] - Parents Against Bad Books in Schools - brings those to you on the web without even having to search [although some searching might be involved if you were to actually try to find them in the books]. See Censorship: Fairfax Parents Group Publicizes the 'Good Parts' [including the links].

Then, if you are of a mind, send in your own list of “good parts,” with their complete location in the books you read and I will consider putting some of them on my web site. Alternatively, rate the books which are mentioned by PABBIS and I will post your votes on my web site with full attribution.

George Loper



Calvin Reid (“Conversation with Calvin Reid on Electronic Publishing,” Archipelago Vol. 4, No. 4) writes to us about two comics artists:

Jessica Abel’s comics offer a subtle anthropology of her own generation of socially audacious, mildly bohemian post-feminists. She uses comics like a tool, observing, documenting, examining the social dynamics of a free floating crowd of young, urban, pleasure seeking bar hoppers. Her writing, in combination with her crisp, precise, stylishly assured drawings, chronicle the shifting relationships between the young and unfocused; men and women who aren’t necessarily what they would like to be and haven’t quite figured out how to become it. She’s a reporter of sorts, and emotional veracity is her beat.

“Her deft accumulation of the social details of these relationships, friendships and dubious one-night stands, can be seen as artful dispatches from a thoughtful correspondent on contemporary manners.” 

Jessica Abel, ARTBABE

Comics: SOUNDTRACK: Short Stories 1989-1996. MIRROR WINDOW: an Artbabe Collection 

ARTBABE Vol. 2, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4. (Fantagraphics)

JESSICA ABEL, INTREPID GIRL REPORTER: “20 page photocopied digest-size minicomic collecting various journalistic comic strips from other publications.” ESCUADRON RESCATE/ASI PASAN LOS DIAS: “Adventure story about the amateur Rescue Squadron that lives on my block, backed with a melancholy tale of being an ex-pat in Mexico by Matt Madden. (Highwater Books  P.O.Box 1956 Cambridge, MA 02238)


“Eyes Only” : Three Panels by Jessica Abel

(click on image to see it full size.)

©Jessica Abel

Matt Madden’s comics can also recreate a vivid sense of a generation lingering in a pleasant social limbo, suspended eternally between renting and owning. His characters are young, sporadically ambitious and heavily attracted to bars, loud bands and minimum wage jobs. But Madden is a formalist trickster disguised a quirky realist. He revels in the idiosyncrasies of comics styles past and present; in the syntax of words and pictures seamlessly combined. His comics generate surprising perspectives in apparently naturalistic stories that can focus on a human guinea pig-for-money or, as in his forthcoming graphic novel ODDS OFF, a dislocated, disaffected foreign-born graduate student who finds herself lost in a battle between language and sub-language. His drawings are simple, engaging the eye and the mind with expert, telling social details. But they are also strategically and semiotically elastic, offering both a sense of irony, a deep poignancy and a playful rearrangement of the elements of comics style.”

Matt Madden www.mattmadden.com
(Highwater Books)
Exercises in Style”: “a work in progress based on the work of the same title by the French author Raymond Queneau, a member of the experimental literary group Oulipo.” On the Web in English.
Exercises de style version français
Esercize di Stile versioni italiano

Matt Madden : Three Panels from “Exercises in Style”

(click on image to see it full size.)

©Matt Madden

next page


contents download subscribe archive