I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got 2 new comic plus a magazine:

  • Ex Machina – 31
  • Rex Mundi (v2) -8
  • Rough Stuff – 6 (A magazine about comic art)
  • And now for some reviews of things I’ve read this week.

  • Kafka – By David Mairowitz and Robert Crumb
  • I bought this online this because of a whim. I’ve never read any Kafka. Yet another of the world’s great writers that I only know by reputation. It’s a big world. This book isn’t quite a comic nor a illustrated book. It’s a hybrid. Part illustrated biography and part comic adaptation of Kafka’s stories it’s not like anything else I’ve read. And it works well.

    The book attempts to not only give you a piece on Kafka’s life but to explain him a little too. And to explain how the world has explained him since he became a famous writer. It’s an ambitious task to be done in so few words (at least compared to a standard text biography) but there are lots and lots of illustrations. As a matter of fact there are so many illustrations and they are so integrated into the text that the two are nearly inseparable. But not quite wholly a comic.

    Robert Crumb was the perfect choice to draw this book because his drawings really humanize the situation. There’s rarely any heroism in a Crumb drawing just the every day details that make up our word. Those details may not be pretty but they feel real.

    This book made Kafka real to me. Not as a writer but as a person. His writing was because of the person he was and this book concentrated on revealing that person. When his stories were adapted it was to illustrate a point about Kafka. Whole stories weren’t even adapted so that also sets it apart from other works adapted from prose authors. It really is a different sort of comic.

    So if you have any interest in Kafka, comics, or Crumb this is a good book to pick up. Just don’t expect takes on Kafka’s stories but a take on Kafka’s life.