Barnes, Bill and Gene Ambaum: Unshelved: Book Club
(this is addictive).
Clugston-Major, Chunna: Blue Monday: Absolute Beginners
(another Oni press. I've heard Chunna Clugston-Major's name a lot in good circumstances, and I had high expectations of this that were not fulfilled. This is not the intro work, and although it's supposed to be a stand-alone mini-series, the total lack of introduction to the characters or setting left me confused about where and when it was set for most of the book; I still have no clear idea why various characters speak in different dialects.
I don't go much for teen sexy comedy as a rule, but this teen sex comedy really didn't click with me; I literally did not even chuckle once for the whole book. I had to struggle to care even a little bit about the female protagonist and her foul-mouthed, violent best friend; I utterly loathed their male friends, who are the sorts of slimy, cruel manipulators who would not only spy on their shy female friend while she was bathing, but videotape it, lie about erasing it when she begged them to erase the tape, tell everyone at school about the tape, and then eventually publicly distribute it, deliberately and maliciously humiliating her in the worst possible way and for no stated reason. The female protagonist is unpopular at school, by the way. These male friends also subject the female protagonist to constant, unwelcome sexual harassment and wonder why she's not more receptive to their sexual advances, since for no reason I could decipher, it is assumed by all the characters that the female protagonist is interested in dating one of them. This felt less like a teen sex comedy and more like a gang of kindergarten bullies who hit puberty about eight years too early.
There is also, inexplicably, pointlessly, uselessly, a pooka (sic) in the form of a giant otter, running around creating chaos which isn't as funny as the author thinks it is. Someone with a seafood allergy is deliberately fed seafood, which gives him hives, but in circumstances in which the person pranking him had no reasonable way to know that the allergy in question was not systemic, making it not just a nasty prank, but a potentially life-threatenting nasty prank.
I hate everyone in this book, including the pooka.
The blurb on the back of the book says that the first miniseries won several awards, including an Eisner and a Friends of Lulu. I assume that it was better than this, or that the competition was light that year. The art, for the record, is excellent, being expressive and lively; character designs are clearly manga-influenced, although it's otherwise western in style).
Murphy, Mark: House of Java
(good art, stupid and uninteresting writing, with no consistency of theme or subject or atmosphere across the stories, which are too short to be bundled together this way with nothing binding them together).