September 27, 2007
CR Review: Avidor Roast/Weiner Roast
Mini-Comic, 24 pages, 2006
Unlike many comics of its kind, you can glean a lot of information on Avidor Roast/Weiner Roast
from its cover. Its profile of the cartoonist Ken Avidor features a lot of cartooning that's as accomplished as those covers (by the artist/subject himself). The works inside alternately deal with Avidor's current role as a Twin Cities-area cartoonist engaged with local issues and what seems like a crazed, almost legendary figure of mayhem and craziness before changing his name from Ken Weiner. Much of it is greatly affectionate, and because there's enough work that pokes at certain life transitions and gets into the corners of his personality, the portrait feels surprisingly complete for one of these things.
Mostly, thought, what comes through is how much quality work is stuffed inside here -- almost literally so in the cases of some work shrunk down to fit. This is such an accomplished mini-comic that it may make you want to go back and apply a higher standard to all the other mini-comics that you've read recently. Created in conjunction with an exhibition of work paying tribute to the cartoonist Ken Avidor (and formerly known as Ken Weiner), the comic includes a lot of high-quality, ready-for-a-hardcover-anthology talent and work. This includes a Peter Bagge strip from Weirdo
in which he commiserates with Weiner before heading west, a great-looking strip from Mark Martin, what I think is a parody by Kevin Cannon, and not one but two stories about a Denny Eichhorn-like, violence-filled night out before a wedding. There's a ton more, including appealing work by Avidor himself, all of which is eminently readable even when not up to the level of the two highlights: the Bagge strip, which shows the cartoonist settling into the style and type of humor that would kickstart his career a few years later and is about as good a comic short story on a certain kind of friendship that I can remember, and the pre-wedding night out strip created by the vastly under-appreciated John Holmstrom.
You may or may not know much about Ken Avidor, but if you're lucky enough to snap up this smart mini-comics, you'll appreciated his having made an impression on this bunch of cartoonists.
posted 9:00 pm PST
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