Posts Tagged ‘Josh Simmons’

Mirror Mirror II

July 21, 2017


Our anthology Mirror Mirror II, edited by Julia Gfrörer and myself, is now officially for sale from our publisher, 2dcloud, and from our own webstore. Click here to order and see an extensive preview, or click here to buy it from Julia directly.

Contributors include Lala Albert, Clive Barker, Heather Benjamin, Apolo Cacho, Sean Christensen, Nicole Claveloux, Sean T. Collins, Al Columbia, Dame Darcy, Gretchen Alice Felker-Martin, Noel Freibert, Renee French, Meaghan Garvey, Julia Gfrörer, Simon Hanselmann, Aidan Koch, Laura Lannes, Céline Loup, Uno Moralez, Mou, Jonny Negron, Claude Paradin, Chloe Piene, Josh Simmons, Carol Swain, and Trungles.

Our contributors come from Australia, Brazil, England, France, Mexico, Russia, Wales, and the United States. The youngest is 24. The oldest is 77. The majority are women. They are trans and cis, straight and queer. They make comics, zines, fine art, music, film, literature, and journalism. For our book they made work basted around horror, pornography, the gothic, and the abject. They made dark, vulnerable work that reflects the dark, vulnerable world, in hopes that confronting it moves us toward empathy.

Here’s what people are saying about it:

One of the 10 Best Comics of 2017 – The Verge

One of the Best Comics of 2017 – The A.V. Club

One of the Best Comics of 2017 – The Beat

Starred Review – Publishers Weekly

Honorable Mention – The 2017 Publishers Weekly Graphic Novel Critics Poll

“This anthology earns that most potent of horror descriptors: it is truly, deeply unsettling.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This collection doesn’t just feel haunting; it feels corrosive.” —Juliet Kahn, The Verge, “The 10 Best Comics of 2017”

Mirror Mirror II is troubling and challenging, but it is also rewarding and stunning—a thrilling experience that readers won’t soon forget.” —Shea Hennum, The A.V. Club, “The A.V. Club’s Favorite Comics of 2017 So Far”

“In a year that many have found bleak and depressing, Mirror Mirror II managed to channel this energy into one of the most riveting visual experiences of the year….the best horror comics anthology available.” —Phillippe Leblanc, “The Beat’s Best Comics of 2017”

“This book should win all the design awards for 2017. It’s as magnificent as the contents are (purposely) horrific.” —Heidi MacDonald, “The Beat’s Best Comics of 2017”

“It awakens the long-underused [horror] genre and pushes your fear buttons in ways you could never have anticipated. It’s hard to pick the most memorably mind-devouring portion.” —Abraham Riesman, Vulture, “8 Comics You Need to Read This June”

“A sexy, creepy book which is daring in the topics it addresses…It does not shy away from how complex and difficult its subject matter is. It’s also a sumptuously designed, beautifully illustrated compendium of some of the most talented alternative comic creators working today.” —Tom Baker, Broken Frontier

“The book is an eclectic mix, beautiful and unsettling, with a strong erotic element….Mirror Mirror II is an immensely strong book, full of varied, challenging work that will not disappoint fans of the featured genres. If you come across a copy, I highly recommend picking it up.” —Pete Redrup, The Quietus

“Reading this is like dreaming — though whether you’re immersed in a nightmare or a wet dream is unclear….This book is like a porn stash you’d find in the cupboard of a medieval demon.” —Dan Schindel, Hyperallergic

Mirror Mirror II is at once a frivolous memento mori and an outright challenge to your own personal space.” —Austin Lanari, Comics Bulletin

“At a time when real, human-rights-violating terrors abound, and the collective stomach is weak…Gfrörer and Collins see the genre as a processing mechanism to sort out repressed anxieties, echoing critics such as Robin Wood who has argued that the ‘horror genre is a struggle for recognition of all that our civilization represses or oppresses.'”—Minh Nguyen, AQNB

“I’m not going to lie, this one really messed with me. If I were listing comics that challenged me the most in 2017…this would have been number one with a bullet….Collins and Gfrörer push to the very edge without going over it, with stories that show the strong link between eroticism and horror. It’s really unlike anything I’ve ever read.” —Rob McGonigal, Panel Patter

“High quality smut.” —Will Menaker, Chapo Trap House

“Kind of feeling [it]” —Kevin Huizenga (Ganges), “Notable Comics Read in 2017”

“Early contender for best graphic novel of 2017.” —Philippe LeBlanc, The Beat

“This is a book that provokes, that pushes and pulls, that strips down to the bone and re-clothes in different flesh any notions you might have about horror, pornography, and abjection. It’s wonderful….I haven’t had a book challenge me this much in a long time.” —Sarah Miller, Sequentialist

“A thought-provoking, richly entertaining collection from some of the most exciting comic artists working today. A must read for fans of the horrific and perverse.” —Bryan Cogman, Game of Thrones

“An impressive collection of beautiful depictions of grotesque things and grotesque depictions of beautiful things.” —Alan Resnick, Unedited Footage of a Bear / This House Has People in It

“Editors Sean T. Collins and Julia Gfrörer have assembled an exquisitely creepy and seductive new collection of comics with Mirror Mirror II. From Uno Moralez’s pixelated noirs to Dame Darcy’s ornate Gothic ghost stories, the wide range of horror here is fantastic, as characters creep and fuck in the shadows of unimaginable darkness throughout. It’s certainly the perfect, freaky anthology for you, your lover, and all the demons in your mind.” —Hazel Cills, MTV News / Jezebel

Mirror Mirror II invites the most innovative creators working in the form today and proves just how expansive the pornographic and gothic can be, encapsulating the pop cultural, fantastical, and realistic in one fell swoop.” —Rachel Davies, Rookie / The Comics Journal

I am so proud of this book and hope you enjoy it. 

Mirror Mirror 2

March 11, 2016

Mirror Mirror 2
an anthology

featuring new comics and drawings by

Lala Albert / Clive Barker / Heather Benjamin / Sean Christensen / Nicole Claveloux / Sean T. Collins / Al Columbia / Dame Darcy / Noel Freibert / Renee French / Meaghan Garvey / Julia Gfrörer / Simon Hanselmann / Hellen Jo / Hadrianus Junius / Aidan Koch / Laura Lannes / Céline Loup / Uno Moralez / Mou / Chloe Piene / Josh Simmons / Carol Swain

horror / pornography / the Gothic / the abject

edited by Sean T. Collins & Julia Gfrörer
published by 2dcloud
Q1 2017 | advance copies Fall 2016

“For darkness restores what light cannot repair”

teaser image by Clive Barker

Mirror Mirror 1 | available now for preorder

Comics Time: Flayed Corpse

December 21, 2012

Flayed Corpse
Josh Simmons, writer/artist
Oily Comics, 2012
12 pages
Buy it from Oily

I reviewed Flayed Corpse by Josh Simmons for The Comics Journal. Happy Holidays!

Comics Time: Mome Vol. 22: Fall 2011

December 20, 2011

Mome Vol. 22: Fall 2011
Zak Sally, Kurt Wolfgang, Jordan Crane, Chuck Forsman, Steven Weissman, Sara Edward-Corbett, Laura Park, Tom Kaczynski, Joe Kimball, Jesse Moynihan, Josh Simmons, The Partridge in the Pear Tree, Malachi Ward, Eleanor Davis, James Romberger, Derek Van Gieson, Michael Jada, Tim Lane, Nate Neal, Wendy Chin, Anders Nilsen, Tim Hensley, Lilli Carré, T. Edward Bak, Nick Drnaso, Joseph Lambert, Paul Hornschemeier, Sergio Ponchione, Nick Thorburn, Dash Shaw, Ted Stearn, Jim Rugg, Victor Kerlow, Noah Van Sciver, Gabrielle Bell, writers/artists
Eric Reynolds, editor
Fantagraphics, 2011
240 pages
Buy it from Fantagraphics
Buy it from

For today’s Comics Time review, please visit The Comics Journal.

Comics Time: Mome Vol. 21: Winter 2011

December 16, 2011

Mome Vol. 21: Winter 2011
Sergio Ponchione, The Partridge in the Pear Tree, Josh Simmons, Dash Shaw, Steven Weissman, Kurt Wolfgang, Sara Edward-Corbett, Nicolas Mahler, Tom Kaczynski,
Josh Simmons, Jon Adams, Nate Neal, T. Edward Bak, Michael Jada, Derek Van Gieson, Nick Thorburn, Lilli Carré, writers/artists
Eric Reynolds, editor
Fantagraphics, 2011
112 pages
Buy it from Fantagraphics
Buy it from

It was the best of Momes, it was the worst of Momes. Alright, that’s not quite accurate, and not quite fair, either. But this unwittingly penultimate issue of Fantagraphics’ long-running alternative-comics anthology — page for page the longest-running such enterprise in American history! — is a hit-or-miss affair in the mighty Mome manner. In the miss column you can place Sergio Ponchione’s bombastic, cartoony fantasy about an imaginary childhood friend brought to life; there’s really not much more to it than that description would indicate. Ditto Kurt Wolfgang’s next “Nothing Eve” chapter, which continues to work the “people still act pretty much the same even though the end of the world is coming” buttons it’s been mashing since issue #1. T. Edward Bak’s “Wild Man” remains awkwardly paced due to its split-up narrative captions; Nicolas Mahler’s autobio strip remains of limited interest to people not Nicolas Mahler; Lilli Carré’s contribution is nicely colored in reds and blues but otherwise insubstantial.

A few contributions are both hit and miss at once. Sara Edward-Corbett’s near-wordless reverie involving inanimate objects romping around the outside of a house comes across more inscrutable than mysterious, but at the same time her crosshatching and linework are an absolute marvel, and she’s playing with forms (and with form) in a fashion reminiscent of John Hankiewicz, if not as successful. Steven Weissman’s deadpan “Barack Hussein Obama” strips fall flat when they merely parody the rhythms of four-panel gag comics, but spring to surreal and oddly scathing life when he injects a healthy dose of the sinister supernatural into them. I’ve never quite cottoned to the way Jon Adams’s razor-thin line and labored-over character renderings sit against the large white expanses of his pages, and his writing feels overwrought to me, but he does give his blackly humorous tale of a hunting expedition gone bad a laugh-out-loud visual punchline. And Nate Neal’s caveman morality play makes much better use of his meaty cartooning than his lukewarm slice-of-lifers do, though the conceit of gibberish dialogue from the cavepeople conceals more than it illuminates.

So that leaves the hits, and they’re strong enough to make the book worth checking out. Dash Shaw continues his seemingly ongoing series of adaptations of “reality” programming, this time an excerpt from a making-of documentary about Jurassic Park; he has a really sharp and off-kilter eye for people observing and commenting on their own behavior for a camera, and his transition from talking heads to full documentary “footage” is a gleeful one. Nick Thorburn’s take on Benjamin Franklin, a first-person monologue in which Ben lets us in on a dirty little secret, is anachronistically absurd (“In Seventeen-Sumthin’-Er-Other, right before I invented electricity and just after I’d sired my illegitimate son, I received an e-mail from Lord Sandwich about comin’ to London to take part in this new secret society known as ‘The Hellfire Club.'”) and very funny, with a great undergroundy character design for Franklin himself. Derek Van Gieson’s murky World War II period piece continues to stun from page to page. Tom Kaczynski examines home ownership during terminal-stage capitalism as only he can, casting it as a catalyst for powerful erotic and apocalyptic impulses and proving himself once again to be one of the most stealthily sexy cartoonists working today. “Stealthy” isn’t a word I’d use for Josh Simmons, but he doesn’t need it: His weird psychedelic fantasia on racism “The White Rhinoceros” is as bold and bulldozing as the giant slugs who stampede across its pages, and the elliptically concluded short story “Mutant” ends with an image of an enraged creature in the form of a human female, her nude body shadowed but covered in glistening sweat, that may as well symbolize the workings of Simmons’s entire brain. You gotta take the rough to find the diamonds.

Comics Time: Jessica Farm (January 2008-April 2011)

June 15, 2011

Jessica Farm (January 2008-April 2011)
Josh Simmons, writer/artist
self-published, June 2011
40 pages
$8 (including shipping)
Buy it from Josh Simmons

If there’s a cartoonist working today who more reliably, ruthlessly, and relentlessly exploits his own strengths with each new release than Josh Simmons, I’ve yet to encounter him. Witness this self-published slice of Jessica Farm, a 600-page graphic novel Simmons is drawing one page a month for a projected fifty years. Volume One was published by Fantagraphics in April 2008, (the back cover of this minicomic installment reads “Volume 2 coming 2016”), and already the contrast with the involving but formless original is striking. Instead of taking us on sort of “It’s a Small World” ride through various disconnected images of dreamlike horror and weirdness, Simmons here uses his rubric of a teenage girl meeting strange invaders and residents on the sprawling family estate to keep us rooted to the same two places: a bare room where a trio of goat-people called the Smiths are brutalizing a boogeyman akin to the one that Jessica encountered in Vol. 1, and the field outside where they eventually do battle with an army of the creatures. The book feels much more focused for the lack of literal wandering. Moreover, within these established confines, Simmons can get much more mileage out of his astutely choreographed action sequences. In the first half of the book, two dramatic attacks are dependent on our feel for how large the room is and how long it takes characters to get from one side to the other, and Simmons crafts that space so well that you can practically hear the scrambling footfalls. A later sequence involves charging horses and bounding beasts, depicted in a succession of widescreen panels that keep the action dead center in each one, a restrained presentation of very visceral material.

And I don’t know how it’s possible, but the pacing is remarkable for a book drawn with thirty days between each page. It’s reversal after reversal: These Smiths are scary, no wait, they’re friendly; they’ve got the upper hand on their captive, no wait, it’s got the upper hand on them, no wait, I was right the first time; they’re attacking a couple of monsters, no wait, they’re outnumbered a hundred to one, so what, they’re still going to win. It has a propulsive feel to it that Vol. 1 lacked.

Simmons’s usual talents are in evidence here as well. From the title creatures in “Night of the Jibblers” and “Jesus Christ” to the witches and ogres of “Cockbone” to the Godzilla-sized pink slug in The White Rhinoceros, he’s developing one of the best bestiaries in comics, and the “skrats” at the center of this story fit right into that menagerie. They come in black and white varieties here, and in great numbers by book’s end, allowing Simmons’s ever smoother inks (reproduced beautifully here, by the way) to evoke everything from Spy vs. Spy to David B. to that Escher drawing with the fish and the birds. And like most of Simmons’s monsters, they’re a discomfiting combination of flesh and fangs that makes you feel that being attacked by one of them would be not just deadly but grotesquely intimate, like being mauled by a giant scrotum studded with razor blades. The characters we meet are similarly creepy, using Simmons’s standard and still unnerving combination of over-the-top aw-shucks friendliness and violent, obscene threats and exclamations, like a beloved uncle you suddenly realize you don’t want to be alone with anymore. Lovely cartooning, icky horror, and a battle scene that’ll likely top anything else you see this year, for eight dollars total? No way you should wait till 2016.