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Mome Fall 2005 (#2)

Gary Groth and Eric Reynolds, Editors

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Mome Fall 2005 (#2)
Meaning "blockhead" or "fool," the word 'Mome' is a fitting title for this anthology edited by Gary Groth and Eric Reynolds and published by Fantagraphics, although it is a little unnecessary considering that the bulk of comics and graphic novels rarely stray from similar subject matter.

The intentions, however, are noble and the effort pays off for the most part. Intended as a literary anthology for comics, Mome #2 plays well with the different aspects of character that its' title implies. The range of styles in both writing and artwork is what strikes one first and if it were any longer it would be a bit overwhelming. As it stands it's a very readable and enjoyable little collection whose stories are mostly continuations from Mome #1 with a few single story additions and an interview with Gabrielle Bell adding to its literary leanings.

Jonathan Bennett, whose work graces the cover, contributes the first story which is interesting but stylistically extremely derivative especially of Adrian Tomine's Optic Nerve series. That said, it is well written and does an excellent job of setting up the largely introspective, protagonist driven stories to come.
Fans of Jeffrey Brown (Clumsy, Unlikely, AEIOU) may or may not be excited to see a piece of his which is not about himself but his art and writing are as good as ever in a story called "Our Jam Band is Going to be Sweet" about the disappearance and death of one of the bands members.

Gabrielle Bell (When I'm Old and Other Stories) and Paul Hornschemeier (Forlorn Funnies, Mother, Come Home) contribute back to back stories about birthdays, providing two very different styles and approaches to the theme and what that event can mean. Hornschemeier's work has a polished, clean feeling to it and his writing is minimal enough to allow the illustrations to speak more without words in the second part of "Life With Mr. Dangerous" about a young woman's birthday dinner with her mother. Bell (whose interview follows) contributes a piece that is black and white and has a more underground feeling to it about a shy girl and her various birthday experiences.
Andrice Arp (Hi-Horse) makes the most unique contribution with "Cormorant Feathers", adapted from a Japanese folk tale. Her style, all in blue hues beautifully compliments the story of an undersea kingdom and the love between its princess and a terra-bound prince.

Other notable selections come from John Pham (Sublife, Epoxy), Martin Cendrada (Dang!, Zurik Robot) and Sophie Crumb (Belly Button Comix) all, again, concerning some aspect of the blockhead or outsider protagonist.

Most, if not all of the stories in Mome #2 are enjoyable or at the very least interesting experiments. The conclusion or continuation of many of the stories should encourage people to look out for further issues as this literary, comics anthology continues.
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