So far in this blog, I’ve been writing a lot about mainstream comics and such. I consider myself an unbiased reader and collector of comics, I run the gamut of indy to super-hero mainstream work.
I admit a liking for the art of mainstream darlings Ethan Van Sciver (Green Lantern: Rebirth) and Jesus Saiz (of the new DC series Countdown), but also enjoy the art of independent innovators Eddie Campbell (From Hell, Alec) and Bryan Talbot (The Tale of One Bad Rat, Alice in Sunderland).
This is one attempt to draw attention to the work of independent creators.
Released in a trio of graphic novels by NBM, Bluesman tells the tale of a pair of traveling musicians. Living as outcasts from the world, Lem Taylor and ‘Ironwood’ Malcott get by from day to day, living on scraps and whatever luck the next venue gives. I say venue, but they tend to play in shacks filled with people drinking cheap booze.
The unfettered joy and determination of Lem and Ironwood just spills from the pages of the book. Having only recently discovered blues myself, I could easily hear the sounds of musical pioneers such as Big Joe Williams, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Leadbelly as I read the series.
A musician himself, Rob Vollmar provided a kind of soundtrack to the story with Shelly Phelps, which you can listen to here.
Bluesman tells an emotional story of these two characters and their incredible journey, but it also provides insight to the history of the blues and paints a picture of America as it was.
I’m not the only one signing it’s praise. Here are a few samples from other reviews.
“There’s enough suspense and atmosphere here to make anyone grip their chair and feel transported. The plot is full of unexpected twists as well as kindness among the outcasts. Lem and Ironwood only have each other. And they make the most of it.” – Los Angeles Times
“Writer Rob Vollmar imagines a place rich in meaning and menace; Pablo G. Callejo’s expressive B&W images give it vibrancy.”- Entertainment Weekly
“A careful, insightful evocation of a bygone time”- William W. Savage Jr., historian and author of COMIC BOOKS AND AMERICA, 1945-1954
a political tragedy
Running weekly on moderntales.com since January of this year, Inanna’s Tears follows the political intrigue in the city of Birith. The plot revolves around the worship of Inanna, a benevolent goddess of plenty, and the passing of the mantle of the En to a young and overwhelmed caretaker while a villainous rival waits in the wings to take advantage of the newcomer’s weakness.
A very heady read, but also a beautiful one. With artwork reminiscent of Herge’s Tin Tin and Will Eisner’s work, the comic is a joy to read. I’m always blown away by a cartoonist who makes it looks easy. From the aforementioned Herge to artists like Tim Sale and Paul Pope, their line-work is so innocent and fluid, you can hardly see the framework of the creation.
The entire graphic novel will remain available online until the end of June. In August, fans can pick up the print edition. Mark your calendars and keep an eye out on their site.
Rob Vollmar recently spoke on NPR’s HERE ON EARTH: RADIO WITHOUT BORDERS, talking about the place of the graphic novel in World Literature. You can hear the broadcast here.
Vollmar has been building quite a name for himself and becoming a creator to watch. I have lots of faith in his continued success and hope that my effort to draw readers to his work leads to more people discovering his creations.
Look for recommended goodies at the Daily P.O.P. Store!