Matador Review

A Quarterly Missive of Alternative Concern

Young Man Writes About Two Recently Translated Comics From Europe

Most comics are meant to be read quickly. Frictionless fiction’s a noble enough goal in construction. But few of those works linger in my mind. Igor Baranko’s work lingers.

I don’t know when I first bought his workJihad (no, really it’s called Jihad), but it probably wasn’t sooner than 2013. That comic’s stew of Buddhism, Chechneyan Muslim terrorists and Russian black magic to prop up the former USSR is indelible. Baranko’s an ex-Red Army vet who spent a couple years after his discharge practicing Buddhism in Siberia, so the authenticity of the insanity is never the problem.

Jihad, in one of many jaw dropping pages, suggested Lenin as the reincarnation of not only Genghis Khan but Osiris.

Jihad’s weird.

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Catching Up with John Christopher Nelson

"It’s been an unusual year for me, and an odd time to be sending an update for the Matador Review blog. As I sit down to write this, I feel like the person who avoids their high school reunion because they're ashamed not to have more to show for themselves (which is exactly why I didn't attend my HS reunion). I wish I had a little more good news to pepper into this, but I guess that's what makes life so interesting: its indifference."

So many aspects of my life seemed to be getting better in 2016. In terms of publications, that was my peak so far. I went from one in 2014, to one in 2015, to six in 2016. Which, that kind of exponential growth sort of set me up for failure, because I was thinking to myself, "Right on, I got this. I arrived."

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