Saturday, July 1, 2017
Strum and Drang by Joel Orff
Strum and Drang, #1 from 1993 is Joel's earliest comic that is still available. I've seen some earlier comics by Joel that are wordless and take you through remembered landscapes - and he would continue those journeys in his later graphic novels, combining it with his ability to tell memorable narratives. The first issue of Strum and Drang is a collection of short stories written by Joel and Mike Haeg (creator of Rump magazine - an early collection of Rump was published by John Porcellino via Spit and a Half in the late 1990s). The story by Mike Haeg is probably the most memorable in this collection. It's the true story of when Mike is working a humiliating job at a shopping mall and becomes infatuated when he sees a two-headed girl. Other stories are more atmospheric, especially the one detailing a remembered trip to San Francisco. There is some rich variety here though: the tale of a cab driver, a nursing home, and a criminal clown scare.
The second (not numbered) issue of Strum and Drang is a collection of Orff's excellent "Great Moments in Rock 'N" Roll comic strips and this was published ten years later by Alternative Comics in 2003.
If you like human, down to earth stories about real people and are fond of folksy art styles that don't seem to rely on any of the traditional highly stylized tropes, I highly recommend all of Joel's work. There is something timeless about his books, because I'm at a loss when trying to compare him to other artists, and I keep on revisiting them.
You can find his website here and most of his comics can still be purchased from Alternative Comics.
Joel is not a cartoonist who you here about often, but he really deserves to be talked about more because his books are really that great.
Posted by dave k. at 4:51 PM