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click to enlarge Der Struwwelmaakies  by Tony - Millionaire   - (Fantagraphics: Seattle) $19.95/hardcover  -  - Let's get this out of the way: Despite the title and cover - illustrations, this book is in no way related to Der - Struwwelpeter, the older-than-dirt German - children's book about manners. And author Tony - Millionaire is one damn nutty fella. This most recent - edition of his popular "Maakies" cartoon strip follows the - latest adventures of Uncle Gabby (a monkey with a kicky - hat) and Drinky Crow (a crow who, well, drinks). Said - adventures tend to revolve around pirating and drinking - into oblivion, but weirdly enough, the art is beautifully - intricate. The humor, while usually exaggerated in a - vaudeville manner, is the sort that will appeal highly to - some and make absolutely no sense to others -- there's - no middle of the road here. -- Kara Luger
  • Der Struwwelmaakies by Tony Millionaire
    (Fantagraphics: Seattle) $19.95/hardcover

    Let's get this out of the way: Despite the title and cover illustrations, this book is in no way related to Der Struwwelpeter, the older-than-dirt German children's book about manners. And author Tony Millionaire is one damn nutty fella. This most recent edition of his popular "Maakies" cartoon strip follows the latest adventures of Uncle Gabby (a monkey with a kicky hat) and Drinky Crow (a crow who, well, drinks). Said adventures tend to revolve around pirating and drinking into oblivion, but weirdly enough, the art is beautifully intricate. The humor, while usually exaggerated in a vaudeville manner, is the sort that will appeal highly to some and make absolutely no sense to others -- there's no middle of the road here. -- Kara Luger

click to enlarge Ashes for  Breakfast:  Selected - Poems  by Durs Grnbein,  translated by - Michael Hofmann   - (Farrar, Straus & Giroux: New York) $27/hardcover -  Beat poetry may offer little more than scripts - for blue-jeans ads in America now, but it is alive and - well in Germany, judging by Durs Grnbein's gritty - American debut, Ashes for Breakfast. "And then - comes the fun part of dying," goes the title poem, - "Braced / For the deal-making, contract breaking day, / - You wheel sharply away from the mirror." Many of the - poems in this scabrous collection have a hung-over, - horror-show feel. The body is something worth reviling; - nihilism a force worth respecting; and suicide, as Camus - once said, the only question. Michael Hoffman's - translation moves these little boxcars of pessimism - along smoothly. Grnbein's voice emerges gravelly but - true, his black worldview drawn from the ashes of - postwar, post-Communist Germany. There is no - redemption in this landscape: "No resurrection, save in - the form of the larvae / Of the flies that will hatch from it - tomorrow." -- John Freeman
  • Ashes for Breakfast: Selected Poems by Durs Grnbein, translated by Michael Hofmann
    (Farrar, Straus & Giroux: New York) $27/hardcover

    Beat poetry may offer little more than scripts for blue-jeans ads in America now, but it is alive and well in Germany, judging by Durs Grnbein's gritty American debut, Ashes for Breakfast. "And then comes the fun part of dying," goes the title poem, "Braced / For the deal-making, contract breaking day, / You wheel sharply away from the mirror." Many of the poems in this scabrous collection have a hung-over, horror-show feel. The body is something worth reviling; nihilism a force worth respecting; and suicide, as Camus once said, the only question. Michael Hoffman's translation moves these little boxcars of pessimism along smoothly. Grnbein's voice emerges gravelly but true, his black worldview drawn from the ashes of postwar, post-Communist Germany. There is no redemption in this landscape: "No resurrection, save in the form of the larvae / Of the flies that will hatch from it tomorrow." -- John Freeman

click to enlarge Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes   - (Pantheon: New York) $18.95/hardcover  -  - Daniel Clowes won many indie hearts with his previous - graphic novel, Ghost World, which was made - into a surprisingly good movie. Ice Haven - follows the residents of a small town of the same name, - through vignettes of the lives of everyday folk and their - private dramas. A child goes missing, perhaps murdered - by a playmate, while town oddball Random Wilder - dreams of poetic justice. Teenaged Violet hates - everything about her life but her long-distance - boyfriend. Much more happens, of course, but Clowes' - use of clear, nearly empty language and multiple comic - art styles is like looking in on a "Twin Peaks"-influenced - diorama. When the characters and situations don't - suffice, cartoonish cavemen, wisecracking rabbits and - the 1924 murder trial of Leopold and Loeb are employed - to comment on human nature. It's slightly dizzying, but - ultimately addictive. -- Kara Luger
  • Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes
    (Pantheon: New York) $18.95/hardcover

    Daniel Clowes won many indie hearts with his previous graphic novel, Ghost World, which was made into a surprisingly good movie. Ice Haven follows the residents of a small town of the same name, through vignettes of the lives of everyday folk and their private dramas. A child goes missing, perhaps murdered by a playmate, while town oddball Random Wilder dreams of poetic justice. Teenaged Violet hates everything about her life but her long-distance boyfriend. Much more happens, of course, but Clowes' use of clear, nearly empty language and multiple comic art styles is like looking in on a "Twin Peaks"-influenced diorama. When the characters and situations don't suffice, cartoonish cavemen, wisecracking rabbits and the 1924 murder trial of Leopold and Loeb are employed to comment on human nature. It's slightly dizzying, but ultimately addictive. -- Kara Luger

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