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Glamourpuss #23 – Review

By: Dave Sim (writer, artist, lettering)

The Story: It’s a face-off between Zootanapuss and fashion models.

Review: Man, the art in Glamourpuss is divine.  I almost don’t care what the story is about when I’m looking at Dave Sim’s incredibly detailed linework.  His lineart for the fashion models in this issue reminds me a little bit of the 50’s when magazine ads had to be drawn by hand because the technology to reproduce photographs was awful.  What’s impressive about Sim’s work is not so much that the models are beautiful (they are) or that they all look like unique individual women (they do) or that they’re wearing fashions you could really see on a model (they are), it’s the fine lines he uses to construct these ladies and backgrounds.  It’s hard to imagine the time investment and attention to detail required to do some of this elegant, crosshatched shading.  There are no other comics I read that have this almost obsessive looking attention to detail.

And, it isn’t just the pretty ladies.  Sim’s Zootanapuss character is drawn in a slightly different style.  She’s all hips and curves, but even there, the manic attention to detail is evident.  Did you know that it’s hard to draw fishnet stockings on a lady?  They have to curve around a lady’s thighs you know.  And, the back matter of the comic is also shows just excellent drafting skills at drawing 1950’s cars, houses, etc.  This comic is worth it for the art alone.

But, the story is kind of a trip too.  The front portion of the comic features the Zootanapuss character, who is kind of a Zatana-like character, and compares her to fashion models.  On the first page, they argue about who has better lettering (“Oh my GOD…your words are all hand-lettered and gross…”), then they argue about what stores they shop at, who has a healthier shaped body, etc.  And all along, there is this ticker at the bottom of the page keeping score and Zootanapuss’ rabbit offering commentary.  It’s so weird I hardly know what to think.  Every time I read an issue of Glamourpuss, I can’t decide if Dave Sim is (a) brilliant, (b) nutty, (c) just offering his thoughts in a wide-open fashion or (d) all of the above.  He is clearly an unusual guy who has courted controversy in his life (it isn’t hard to find it via Google), but sometimes it’s nice to have different people creating some of the comics.

Again, the back matter is dealing with the mystery of cartoonist Alex Raymond’s death.  You can Wiki it if you’re curious.  I can’t get THAT into the story, but the art is just sublime, especially the incredible drawings of a 1957 Corvette.  Shoosh!

Conclusion: The art is incredible.  You won’t find better realistic linework in comics today.  If artists are going to draw in a realistic fashion, THIS is what is needs to look like (unfortunately, most artists aren’t as talented as Mr. Sim).  And the story is just the biggest pile of nutty that you’re going to find.  If you like comics to be a little different, you really should spend $3 every couple months when Glamourpuss comes out.

Grade: B+

-Dean Stell

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4 Responses

  1. I have had in my hand the first issue of Glamourpuss, I was seized by the beautiful artwork and the strong story background.
    Now, with this review, I will return to this wonderful comic book, which is well worth its $3.00 to compare to crap other comic books sold at the same, if not higher, price actually available on the stands…

    • That’s what I’m saying. It’s never going to double-ship or cross over with “all the other Bat-books” or anything like that. The art will be glorious and it’s an unedited peek into an unusual mind. That’s worth a lot. :)

  2. thanks for the review, Dean. hadn’t heard of this, but it looks like something i should check out!

    • You really should check it out. Considering some of the dreck I spend $3 on that has a “nothing special” story and mediocre art…..with this you are at least getting master-level art. And, Sim is at least a little on the unusual side, and getting an unedited view into an unusual brain is always cool. As I get older, I find I value people who make the world more interesting even if it isn’t ALL positive and Sim fits that bill.

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