Canadian cartoonist Joe Ollmann says, “I’ve had a weird career, people have never heard of me, though I’ve been making comics for thirty-odd years.” His lack of presence on the scene is by no means an indication of his lack of talent, but rather a resistance to the traditional comic genres. His books definitely don’t feature any superheroes, and while they are funny in a way, it’s the sort of humor that makes you cringe at the same time.Ollmann’s earliest work is collected in The Big Book of Wag!, combining indy newspaper strips with mini comics and stories. He’s released a couple of graphic short story collections, Chewing on Tinfoil and This Will All End in Tears. Of the latter, Publishers Weekly said, “Using a slightly grotesque style (bodies are generally lumpy, faces creased, mouths agape) in a tight and claustrophobic nine-panel pattern, Ollmann creates starkly told little worlds isolated in frozen angst.” Doesn’t exactly sound like newspaper comic strip material, does it?It wasn’t until 2011, though, that Ollmann released his first graphic novel, Mid-Life, with the Canadian publishing company Drawn & Quarterly Press. His previous books have come out through other small Canadian publishers like Conundrum Press and Insomniac Press. Drawn & Quarterly is the best known of the three and is often considered the most successful Canadian comics publisher, and a solid competitor to America’s Fantagraphics.Mid-Life is a semi-autobiographical story about a dad in a disastrous second marriage who becomes obsessed with his toddler son’s favorite television show host. Just what’s true and what’s not? Ollmann went into detail on this subject during an interview with Chris Mautner of the Robot 6 column at Comic Book Resources. “It’s half and half autobiography and fiction. I swore I wasn’t going to talk about what was what, but I realize now I have no reason not to and it’s the first question I get asked.” However, we’re still not going to spoil it for you if you’d rather go in cold, so it’s up to you to track down the interview if you so desire.Mid-Life was released March 1, 2011 with a price of 19.95. If you enjoy small press comics, mid-life crisis stories, or just good writing, check it out.
Posted at April 6, 2011 by www.smallpresscomics.com
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