Sunday, June 9, 2013

365 Comics... 159: Supermag (2013)

I like Jim Rugg. His first notable comics effort, Street Angel, was a divine slice of indie pie, a 5 issue series of a kickass skateboarding teenaged girl appealing to anyone with any sort of outsider tendencies.  His hardcover "graphic novel" (because it's not really) Afrodesiac was less a story than a scrapbook of items related to a "lost" blaxploitation superhero, a wonderfully visual and impeccably designed assembly of characters focussed art that convincingly implied a long and rich history for something that heretofore did not exist.

Supermag is a step removed from Afrodesiac, containing a vast assortment of art pieces, experiments in graphic design, and more than a few exercises in excerpt storytelling (Rugg did this a bit in Afrodesiac where he would show only a single page of what would probably otherwise be a short 8 page or even book length story) but they are really random, completely unfocused. 

For fans of the avant garde there's a lot here to appreciate as he toys with style, mimicing Charles Burns or Paul Pope or adopting a cartoon animal style, showcasing his diversity working in digital media or ballpoint pen or traditional pen and ink, applying all manner of color schemes to the work.

There's a humorous tendency to Rugg's work, or a playfulness at least, that were it harnessed fully would put it on a parallel with Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle.  There's a delightfully absurd but fully realized piece, Duke Armstrong: The World's Mightiest Golfer (written with Brian Maruca and colors by Jasen Lex), that feels like a sibling project to Thrizzle's Einstein & Twain serial that I could do with more of.

Not quite a comic anthology, not quite a fine art magazine but somewhere in between.

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