We’ve asked Josh Simmons to tell us about five books he has read recently. Simmonds is the author of Black River, published in Italy by 001 Edizioni, and originally in the US by Fantagraphics.
Dust Pam, by Thu Tran
Bright day glo colors, cute and loose drawing style, very compact in size; Comics about sentient garbage bags and brooms and dust pans who eat dirt and bugs. A funny, lovely little book.
Heavy Metal (June 1978), by Vv.Aa.
My lady friend brought a stack of these into the house recently. Heavy Metal was one comics pit I’d never really dived into previously. There’s nothing more classic than reading one of these late at night while inebriated and listening to psychedelic music. A wild mix of subject matter and approaches to making comics and masters like Moebius next to strips that look like the first ever published work by an unknown 17-year-old. I’ve been enjoying the hell out of these.
Punisher War Journal #11, by Carl Potts, Jim Lee, Klaus Janson, etc.
This was my favorite comic when I was 11-13 or so. I would buy it at the pharmacy in the small town where I grew up. Punisher is as all-American as it gets, as simple and direct and effective as hardcore and metal. Recently I’ve been keeping my eyes open for copies of the first 20 or so issues. These comics are way too wordy. For years I thought that Jim Lee’s art was what I loved most. But looking at it now, it’s really Klaus Janson’s violent inks that I was responding to, and they are still the best thing about these comics.
The Social Discipline Reader, by Ian Sundahl
I moved to Portland, OR a couple years ago. Sundahl’s work has become my favorite from a local creator. My own art is very uptight and deliberate, and sometimes I really enjoy work that seems to be the opposite, that looks messy and scratchy. I really appreciate Sundahl’s drawing in this way. These comics are fetishistic and strange and as idiosyncratic as it gets, so I love them.
Unreal City, by D.J. Bryant
Surreal, pornographic, self-immolating, my bread and butter. Short stories that connect and add up to a greater whole. Oh, and a superhuman level of craft in the drawing. Excellent comics.