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The Complete Works Of Fante Bukowski h/c

The Complete Works Of Fante Bukowski h/c The Complete Works Of Fante Bukowski h/c The Complete Works Of Fante Bukowski h/c The Complete Works Of Fante Bukowski h/c The Complete Works Of Fante Bukowski h/c The Complete Works Of Fante Bukowski h/c The Complete Works Of Fante Bukowski h/c The Complete Works Of Fante Bukowski h/c The Complete Works Of Fante Bukowski h/c The Complete Works Of Fante Bukowski h/c

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Noah Van Sciver


Page 45 Review by Publisher Blurb

Originally released in three salacious slices, here are our Page 45 reviews of the whole shooting match...

Of volume one... Jonathan wrote...

"Someone told me you were trying to make it as a writer now?"
"Good luck! Me? I'm still at the firm. Actually your father just gave me a big promotion! Hey, you take care! Boy, oh, boy! What a life, huh?"
"When I'm famous I'll crush you."

I could very easily simply say that if you loved Dan Clowes' portrayal of the self-proclaimed 'people person' WILSON you would get a real kick out of this, though stylistically the art is much closer to a tidied-up Jeffrey Brown. Fante Bukowski - real name Kelly Perkins, he changed it to make himself cooler - is absolutely desperate to be a writer. The work of his favourite writer of all time, unsurprisingly being Charles Bukowski, is seemingly his idea of how a real scribe should live too.

Consequently, he's given up his job at a top law firm where his unimpressed father is a partner and is now living out of a cheap motel, drinking cheap booze, singularly failing to impress women, or indeed literary agents, and generally agonising about not coming up with any good ideas to write about. In other words, comedy gold in the hands of Noah SAINT COLE Van Sciver who likes his humour dark and his protagonists as flawed as a roll of cheap lino.

It reads a lot like WILSON too in the sense that each page, or sometimes two pages, is a gag strip in and of itself, always with Fante as the punchline. And so gradually we build up this unflattering portrait of a man flailing helplessly, perhaps haplessly might be a better adverb actually, against the tides of life, the ever-present fear of remaining in obscurity forever crippling his will and motivation to knuckle down to some actual writing! The occasional quote from a literary giant perched atop the next page merely compounding our opinion that Fante isn't going to break his losing streak any time soon...

'Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.' - Stephen King.

But! Inspiration does strike like a bolt from the blue in the middle of the night and somehow Fante comes up with an idea, starts writing, manages to get a girl, and then even persuades an agent to take a look at his book. Surely things aren't about to change for our hopeless hero... No, that's right, of course they're not! But I guarantee you that his misery is our mirth as everything falls apart once again and Fante decides a Kerouac-esque road trip is the only solution to his blues. No, that's right, of course it's not! But I guarantee you...

Well, you get where I'm going with this... Fante, meanwhile, is going nowhere fast.

Of volume two Jonathan wrote...

"The lettering, the title, the cover... this is the best zine. Good thing I printed twenty thousand of these puppies! That ought to be enough for now!"

The literary legend - in his own boozy endless lunchtime, that is - returns to titillate us with his latest set of trials and tribulations in attempting to write the 'Great American Novel' and find stellar fame and Croesus-like wealth into the bargain. Moving on from the scene of his previous spectacular failure, as chronicled in FANTE BUKOWSKI, this time he's mooching around that well known literary hotbed of Columbus, Ohio, where all the greats have seemingly spent time, or indeed, currently live!

Columbus, Ohio, being where a certain Noah Van Sciver happens to reside... I've been there oddly enough and let me tell you, not a lot happens... Still, it's an amusing conceit, but one that's promptly and brutally bettered in the rib-tickles department by said Noah Van Sciver, replete with the now sadly shaved off, sarcastically self-proclaimed 4th best moustache in comics, appearing in this volume as a larger-than-life and I'm sure, entirely more odious version of himself as the romantic makeweight for Fante's former flame, Audrey. Who just so happens to be on that very self-same meteoric rise to stardom that Fante so desperately craves. Audrey, for some strange unknown reason, as she freely acknowledges to herself, despite Fante abandoning her in volume one, still harbours some fond affection for him.

Fante, meanwhile, is living in a cockroach-infested hotel with some delightful boutique features such as a profusion of voyeurs' peepholes and a kleptomaniac junkie manager. The Ritz it is not. Still, it's all grist to the metaphorical mill for a future Pulitzer Prize winner... In fact, were it not for Fante's steadfast, unshakeable belief that his own prodigious, innate talent will eventually be enough that the whole world will recognise his genius and thus provide him with his very own happy ending, he might consider giving it all up. Oh, and so long as his parents don't cancel his credit card that they pay off each month... Hmm... now, I wonder what they'll do when they see a streetwalker's personal services on the next bill?

As before, there's so much additional chortle-worthy nonsense packed in on every single page such as excerpts of Fante's own poetry, of which there are several suitably dreadful examples scattered throughout. Mainly reflecting upon just how tortured his chosen life is, musing on the likes of facing the insurmountable existential crisis of running out of beer and having to brave the sarcastically dismissive cashier at the corner store.

Another little conceit I loved, was the occasional artistic nod to a comics' creator or a classic panel. If you know your stuff you might spot as diverse references as Robert Crumb and the final page of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50! There are also some other choice real-world comics cameos, besides Noah himself, that only add to the fun. In fact one of which proves hilariously crucial to the farcical denouement.

If any creator ever wanted an example of how not to waste a single bit of space, they should look at this work. Even the inside cover has a brilliant little visual gag, which I won't spoil, that completely initially fooled me. There was also supposed to be an additional visual gag on the rear cover, involving a fake label but hilariously it was mis-printed requiring Fantagraphics to then actually print a genuine additional ISBN label to stick over it!

Plus, as with volume one, there's innumerate pearls of wisdom from the great and good dispensed like self-motivational medication for poor old Fante with disturbing frequency as page headers. Not that he's paying the slightest bit of attention being entirely wrapped up in his epic travails... In fact, I'll leave the last word to Fante. It's about himself of course...

"How can the world have so little faith in me? It's like nobody wants me to be the famous writer I'm meant to be..."

And of volume three our Jodie concluded...

"Bret Easton Ellis wrote 'Less Than Zero' when he was 21!
"Of course, he was hated by 22…
"I was somehow able to jump right to being hated.
"I win that round."

Yes, Fante, because that's the real achievement to take away here <sigh>...

We're back in Ohio to catch up with the future literary legend himself, as he sees it at least, Fante Bukowski. He's being interviewed by The Dispatch - the oldest paper in town, as he boasts to his father in a ranting email - as a "notable voice" about the upcoming Zine Fest.

The Fest itself is an "ocean of amateurs" (Fante's words, not mine), with glorious cameos from Noah Van Sciver himself, selling "...a graphic novel. It's the comic book of the future!" titled 'Sad Lincoln' (THE HYPO - A MELANCHOLIC YOUNG LINCOLN), and a completely haggard and unflattering portrayal of John (KING CAT) Porcellino all burnt-out with a thousand yard stare peering straight out of the panel at us readers.

Fante, meanwhile, does make a grand total of 25 dollars at the Fest, but maybe if there hadn't been quite so much glitter involved in 'Love Songs From Extinction' he might have been able to snag a few more sales! But the Zine Fest is just the beginning, once again, for Fante. He's after the big bucks and for once even has a lead on a paying gig! But is the world finally ready for the greatest book of all time? If he actually gets around to writing it that is...

Accompanying Fante as he drunkenly fumbles his way through life is the sunny, albeit slightly unhinged Norma, an inadvertently hilarious performance artist with her own struggles in the so-called creative industries. Though completely away with the fairies most of the time, she is at least a little more grounded than Fante, knowing that to survive in the real world you need to have an actual paying job on the side and not just <ahem> drink whisky in a prostitute's back yard. She is a thoroughly delightful contrast to our bitter, downtrodden protagonist; I actually couldn't get enough of her. I would love to see to have her own book, but maybe that's because as a former art student she was an all too familiar character for me!

In this third and final volume, we also learn how Kelly Perkins became Fante Bukowski. The journey from angsty teen Emo, desperately trying to carry on the legacy of a musical movement that even his dad knew was over fifteen years ago, through to his very brief corporate days of interning at his father's law firm before 'recreating' himself. But even knowing his self-inflicted shambolic back story of family wealth-ridden faux woe doesn't make you one iota more sympathetic towards the delusional, self-titled literary genius. I know you're probably wondering whether Noah is going to let Fante have an entirely undeserved happy ending, but let's just say he gets an appropriate one...

Every part of this book is dripping with Fante's personality. From the less than enthusiastic pull quotes on the back, to the "Emerging Genius" award from a certain Firewater Press (see FANTE BUKOWSKI BOOK 1) emblazoned on the cover. Which itself is even a gag, being a take on the cover of David Foster Wallace's 'Infinite Jest'! No doubt Fante considers it one of the greatest modern literary classics - outside of the treasured work of Charles Bukowski, of course - though I have a sneaking suspicion that he may never have quite got around to tackling the full 1104-page tome. He's probably skimmed it and got the gist so he can wax lyrically about it, for a true literary genius can capture the essence of a great novel with merely a few quick glances. Now if only he could write one as fast...