Saturday, March 13, 2010

Milt Gross is Fantastic!

I had heard of and seen Milt Gross artwork before, but never in such a expansive compilation. Craig Yoe has totally outdone himself by presenting a great talent as Milt Gross in his own volume called, "The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story". The cartoons are fun in two ways: 1) Gross' exaggerated drawing style and 2) the craziness that complements the art in the writing. I knew precious little about Gross before reading this book and the 40-page biography discusses all of Gross' various projects which included songwriting and animation among other ventures.

Gross' stuff reminded me of Al Jaffee's, Robert Crumb's and John Kricfalusi's material, and sure enough, all three are fans, with Jaffee contributing a "Fold-In" introduction to this book.

Yoe maintains the integrity of the individual comic stories by keeping the stylized color dot pattern and off registration of the original pages. The covers are represented by tattered, beat-up, well-read comic books and this fits the bill to justify the rarity of the original books.

There's even a "dog-ear" printed on the back cover of this massive 360-page tome that I even found myself trying to straighten out, so realistic it looks.

Sometimes this replication of worn-out comics doesn't work like in the recent Fantagraphic's "Humbug" collection where the beat up covers made me long for a mint copy of the originals, since the interior reprints were so pristine.

Here, the worn-out look actually accentuates Gross' visuals and make them even more striking as comics that seemingly were put together at the same frantic pace as the art itself.

All in all, a must buy for anyone interested in good funny comic book art. Fans of Jaffee, Kricfalusi, Crumb and even fans of Don Martin, Harvey Kurtzman and Tex Avery should make this a must buy.

$39.99 from Yoe! Books and IDW Publishing.

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