Dave Sim’s new work Glamourpuss has begun to see print and so far the reactions are interesting.
Ben Avery gives a generally positive review:
Essentially, the comic is Dave Sim musing about what this comic will be. Graphically, he starts out drawing photo-realistic black and white drawings of fashion models and ruminating on how he could do a comic about those images, since in a fashion magazine he really only gets a small amount of reference images for the same person. He shifts gears into talking about Alex Raymond and Al Williamson and their art styles, and he begins copying panels from their non-science fiction work (mostly, panels that seem to look like fashion models) and uses the speech balloons to continue his ruminating. It shifts gears once more, this time to present a story about glamourpuss, using a half dozen fashion magazine photo references to draw teh character, and then shifts back into musing and ruminating and ruminating and musing about art, the glamourpuss series, and life.
Think of it like this: if David Lynch and the editors of seventeen magazine got in a room to create a comic book, this is what it would be.
And it works. The traces and wisps of the story of glamourpuss and her twin sister, SKANKO (yes, i thought twice before typing it), are wound together with Dave Sim’s own ideas about art and copying the masters, which is bookended by satire about fashion magazines.
Steve Duin of the Oregonian gives it a quite negative review:
As you can see from this page, the photorealism of the Raymond school was glorious. Small wonder Sim is drawn to the art or, more accurately, “photorealism pictures of pretty girls.” If Sim had been content to trace and re-ink those panels, most of them from “Rip Kirby,” to give comic fans a fresh look at, and a grander appreciation of, the artwork, I’d be applauding in the wings.
But if that were the case, he wouldn’t be Dave Sim. Dave Sim has to talk our ear off. Dave Sim has to throw in Bret Easton Ellis riffs and Scott McCloud jags and fashion-magazine parodies. Dave Sim has to clutter the page with dumb jokes and other clunky blocks of words. He’s the tour guide at the Louvre who thinks he’s a better show than the Venus de Milo.
The deeper I got into Glamorpuss, working my way back to “Skanko’s Dating Guide,” Sim’s Tom Leykis rip-off, the more impressed I was with the photo-realism and the more bored I was by this fatuous tribute to it.
And Valerie D’Orazio’s reaction appears to be mixed:
I was going to just draw my review by tracing panels from old issues of Cerebus and then putting my review in the word balloons, but I decided against it.
Glamourpuss #1 has two components: 1) A meditation on photo realism in comics and Alex Raymond, and 2) Some fashion model s**t. The former is interesting, the latter is flat. Models are shallow, models have eating disorders, models wear too-expensive clothes that are impractical — there is nothing new here, at least in terms of how this material has been traditionally presented before. This is coupled with the preconceptions going in based on Glamourpuss creator Dave Sim’s reputation.
Yes, I know I shouldn’t go into an artist’s work with preconceptions based on their reputation. But I see these lifeless pictures of the models, I see how they’re presented as empty-eyed self-absorbed materialistic cyphers, I read about “Skanko,” and in all honesty I have to wonder what Sim is trying to say about women in all this.
So what do you think?