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Gene Gene's Comic Machine
posted December 30, 2005
Gene Kannenberg, Jr.
This is a good comic of the type by people who have no business doing comics. Gene Kannenberg is a writer about comics, an academic who studies comics, but sadly, he's no cartoonist. This mini was taken from some comics Gene has done for his fiancee's 'zine and put together, I think, so that the author would have something to give away and trade at this year's ICAF/SPX.
Kannenberg is somewhat thoughtful about the medium in his use of it, and the book is formally engaging: he uses such entertaining comics devices as non-word word balloons, bad photo-xerox swipes, exaggerated action, and one of my favorites, the unreal, outlined object that isn't actually there. His stories swing between nostalgia and nonsense pages. The nostalgia doesn't really go beyond tedious recollection.
Kannenberg's comics brings into question how much use one can get out of comics done in this fashion: the answer seems to be a lot, and while Kannenberg fails on all sort of craft levels he doesn't even pretend to engage, his comic is no less amusing or difficult to read than personalized essays in text form would be. Maybe Andy Konky Kru is right and we should all occasionally switch comics for text communication.
Or maybe not.
Kannenberg's best joke, by the way, is the "Hello Kirby" (for Hello Kitty) on the mini's mailing cover.
This review was written in the late 1990s as part of a then-ongoing freelance gig; I apologize if it reads oddly or seems incomplete.