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Phase 7 #13
posted June 9, 2008
 

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Creator: Alec Longstreth
Publishing Information: Self-Published, mini-comic, 24 pages, 2008, $3
Ordering Numbers:

Completely unfamiliar with Alec Longstreth's work, I couldn't tell you if the long, Scott McCloud-like essay that makes up Phase 7 #13 is typical to the title or a major digression. It feels like a step away, mostly for the breadth of the subject matter -- a move through art history in terms of art that depicts the ordinary in the same way autobiographical comics might -- and for some of the subtleties of tone. It is very charming, and the lecture itself is an encouraging one although since I didn't learn anything new and know next to nothing about art I'm guessing the detail work isn't extremely rigorous or idiosyncratic. The biggest surprise is several pages devoted to the work of Norman Rockwell. Longstreth is at his best and worst here: best when making a case for Rockwell as someone who depicted the world that he saw; worst when accidentally backing away from that interesting take by stating that you have to appreciate his technical craft even if you find the painter overly cute or sentimental. The overall vibe is one of agreeableness, and the Longstreth's cartoon stand-in return to work after the long digression into art history betrays an enthusiasm for the hard work of cartooning for its own sake that I haven't seen in abundant supply in recent years. I would imagine he's a pleasant fellow with whom to spend some on-page time.

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