Saturday, September 6, 2008

Zot! 1987-1991: The Complete Black And White Collection

Zot! - The Complete Black And White Collection, Scott McCloud (Harper) $24.95

If you ever wondered why you might want to care what Scott McCloud had to say about Understanding, Reinventing, and Making Comics, this collection will help clear things up for you.  At 24.95 (even less through Amazon) There is no reason not to pick up this book and get to feel smart about a purchase.

I am having trouble writing about this book. I have written and re-written several reviews of it already. I am having some trouble pinning down exactly what I want to say and how I want to say it. I think I will go with bullet points or I will end up jumping off of something before I actually get this done.

  • Getting this book does NOT get you all the Zot! you'll ever need. There was a 10 issue color run that is not included in this. There are also some issues that McCloud didn't do. The absence of those issues doesn't diminish anything.
  • McCloud's commentary at the end of each story arc is worth the price of the book. You get insight and a really enjoyable autobiography of an artist and his creative and personal journey with comics as a central theme.
  • Zot looks like it is a superhero comic, but really it's about its characters, one of whom happens to be a superhero in his home dimension. 
  • The travel between dimensions and the differences in the dimensions, the allure of a utopia to escape to, etc. are more the point than super-heroics. 
  • The last 9 stories take place in the ordinary world. Each focuses primarily on a different character. These stories are pretty beautiful. The are lovely snapshots of ordinary people.
  • McCloud seems overly critical of himself and his work in a lot of places. I didn't really see what he was talking about in most of the cases. I understand what he is saying, I just don't see much of it as anything that needs to be apologised for.
  • I wish I had read this in its original run. I graduated High School in 1987 and this would have been perfect for me at that time. The characters are very real kids, skewing toward the geeky side, just like my friends and I did.
  • I don't love every single bit of every single story, but I don't think I would change anything.

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