Arts Turn Your Eyes Inside and Dig the Vacuum
posted by June 7 at 12:18 PMon
In this week’s paper, Jeff Kirby writes about Ivan Brunetti’s new book Misery Loves Comedy. Kirby’s description of the book—hateful, self-loathing, misanthropic—is absolutely correct. But I’d like to add that I’ve been following Brunetti’s work for over ten years, and I happen to think that he’s hi-fucking-larious, like an irredeemably nihilistic Woody Allen who’s read too many Nancy comics*. And, more importantly, Brunetti will be appearing at the Fantagraphics store tomorrow night. I can’t make it (work commitments) but you should totally go.
There’s more to Brunetti than what appears in Misery Loves Comedy, of course. His last issue of Schizo, not collected in Misery, hints at personal growth: besides a couple strips that seem to imply that he’s gotten into Hello Kitty worship and also meditation, much of the book, for once, isn’t even all about Brunetti, instead telling cute, one-page stories of great twentieth century artists. He’s also one of the finest comics historians on the planet: he’s versed in just about every style, movement, and obscure 1940’s comic book creator that you’ve never heard of. His Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories is the best comics anthology that’s ever been published. And he’s done a few New Yorker covers that are genuinely sweet.
If you couldn’t begin to care about comic books or cartoonery, but you’ve still read this far, I’d like to give you a consolation prize: the title for this Slog post came from one of Brunetti’s early stories, which in turn cribbed the line from a ca-ray-zee beatnik poetry scene from the movie High School Confidential (a.k.a. Young Hellions.) Here is that scene:
* In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to point out that though I’ve never met him, Brunetti did the spot illustration for an early Stranger piece of mine, here,and it remains one of my favorites.