Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Book 40 - The G.N.B. Double C

The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists

A Story from the sketchbook of the cartoonist “Seth”

This is my first time reading a comic by Seth. Being already familiar with the work of Joe Matt and Chester Brown, I knew a little bit about the friendship and history (as well as the idiosyncracies) of this trio. A mutual friend recently lent Conan and I a bunch of comics (City of Glass, The Death Ray), which helped boost my book quota. The G.N.B. Double C comes in at an auspicious Number 40.

At first, I wasn’t really sure what I was reading – was it fact or fiction?  I expressed my confusion to Olman, who told me to keep reading, as this is “Seth’s conceit”, to create a fictional universe where cartoons are revered like works of art.  To quote The Comics Journal, Seth “deftly mixes real and imagined cartoon history in its depiction of a fictional cartoon society in the city of Dominion, where artists from every facet of the medium once gathered to drink, carouse, and sometimes even discuss cartooning.”

The book has an appealing old school hardcover, and there is a nicely crafted quality to the overall design and narrative, yet I wasn’t particularly fond of the cartoon style within. I think Seth succeeded too well in invoking the thick-lined, squat-figured cartoons of old. I just didn’t find the old-time, cornballish style very graceful or aesthetically interesting.

This National review did a good job explaining this oddball comic, but the opinion of the reviewer was not very clear. For myself, I liked this comic ok, and it was indeed a neat conceit. But it just didn’t really do much for me. I think I might enjoy Seth’s other work, like Palookaville or Clyde Fans, so I will have to see if Olman or Dan has any of those comics.

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