Awareness of comics with greater aesthetic ambition continues to rise simultaneous to the rebirth of the literary journal, as seen with publications like McSweeney's (which features several MOME contributors) or The Believer magazine. Though virtually every cutting-edge literary journal these days has flirted with comics, MOME is the first all-comics literary anthology designed to sit alongside publications like Granta, The Baffler, McSweeney's, et. al., and is designed to appeal as much to fans of contemporary literary fiction as longtime comics fans.
Like R. Crumb's legendary Zap anthology, MOME will feature the same collective of artists every issue, allowing the artists and audience to grow together and build an ongoing identity that is highly unusual for the world of contemporary comics (where many authors publish sporadically by literary standards, given the labor intensive nature of comics). The first volume of MOME will feature the following: John Pham's (Epoxy) "221 Sycamore Street" follows the lives of five main characters who live in a single, two-story "craftsmen" style house in Los Angeles. The strip will be comprised of stand alone one-pagers that overlap storylines to create a larger narrative. Presented in the form of a big, vertical Sunday newspaper page, Pham's mix of form and content harken back to classic serial strips like Gasoline Alley. Paul Hornschemeier (Mother Come Home and Forlorn Funnies) contributes a six-part graphic novella titled "Life with Mr. Dangerous." This full-color narrative centers around two characters, Amy Breis and Mr. Dangerous. Amy struggles to define a life outside of the example her mother provides (working as a retail clerk all her life). Amy's past and present romantic life are a mess, the only person she cares about lives half the country away in San Francisco, and she finds herself spending far too much time watching a cartoon, "Mr. Dangerous." Anders Nilsen's (Big Questions) "The Beast" is a full-color, 12-page absurdist monologue by a single character on the push-and-pull of art and politics, aesthetics and state violence, freedom and responsibility. Things happen around him, he is imprisoned and set free, there are conspiracies, intrigues, but his attention scarcely leaves the philosophical problems. Presented as a series of two-page spreads, each spread features a color landscape photograph, with characters, actions, and objects superimposed by Nilsen. Jeffrey Brown (Clumsy, McSweeney's) contributes a brutal character study about a young man who turns up missing. His car is found a week later, his body days after that in an abandoned warehouse. The possibility of foul play looms large, but what really happened is both simple and senseless and makes one question how much or little friendship can mean. David Heatley (McSweeney's) contributes the first of a series of stories revolving around a cast of characters in a town called "Overpeck" (also the name of the strip). Originally conceived in a dream, as are many of Heatley's comics, he has fleshed out his initial, unconscious creations into a developed cast of characters that inhabit this town, with each self-contained story focusing on a different character or characters. Andrice Arp adapts a Japanese fairy tale called "Jewels of the Sea." A prince loses his brother's best fish hook and travels to the bottom of the sea to find it, only to discover treasures beyond his imagining. Kurt Wolfgang (Where Hats Go) delivers a wordless, two-color comic fable, starring a boy who makes a wish by throwing a coin from a bridge into a creek. The coin sets off a chain reaction of unexpected events that eventually lead to his wish being fulfilled before his very eyes. Gabrielle Bell contributes "The Upstairs Cowboy," a short story and period piece focusing on a conversation between a young struggling artist and a successful but troubled entrepreneur, at the height of the 1990's dot-com boom. Jonathan Bennett (Esoteric Tales) delivers a tale about a man who looks out his apartment window with binoculars and sees a promising bunch of trash out for pick-up on the corner. What he finds upon further inspection takes him in unexpected directions... The first volume is rounded out with autobiography from the Harvey Award-nominated "Best New Talent" Sophie Crumb (Belly Button Comix), as well as new comics from Marc Bell (Shrimpy & Paul) and Sammy Harkham (Kramer's Ergot).
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