by Sammy Harkham

Kramers Ergot 7

I have mixed feelings about the new Kramer’s Ergot, an anthology of comics that comes out every year. I have the very first Kramer’s which started out as a stapled little black and white collection of comics. Each year it has gotten thicker with more artists and printed nicer in full color which they managed because of it’s growing popularity. Last year’s was amazing with a gorgeous Elvis Studio cover wrap. Buenaventura Press sent me a sample page of this issue, number seven, when it first came out. I unfolded and unfolded and realized this book was going to be huge. I was super excited to see it. I was shocked at the size all over again when I finally saw it in person. It’s 16″x21″ and hardcover. It’s quite beautiful and striking. But the list price is $125.00! It’s really hard for me to resist buying books but I decided it was just too much money. One of my New Year’s resolution is to start saving so we can finally get out of this tiny place. Plus it’s enormous- where can you store something like this? Days and days went by and I would run into it at the stores and look through it and sigh. I was a little bit bitter that someone could expect the loyal comic fan to be able to afford something like this. Was this going to be the only Kramer’s I didn’t own? Why couldn’t this be the fancy version and the regular version could be paperback? Finally I caved and bought it on Amazon ($78.75). I mean, it’s for the blog right? The UPS man decided I could carry this one up the three flights instead. Once again I opened it and was shocked by the size. In my apartment, it looks even bigger. The reason behind the huge format is that it “has allowed the artists to tell stories at a scope not seen since the expansive Sunday newspaper comics of the early twentieth century.” It’s a really nice idea in theory. But trying to read this book, like you could read a newspaper proves extremely difficult- it weighs seven pounds! Laying this book on my coffee table (which nearly covers the entire thing) and hovering over it, I finally got a chance to go through it. And like all the past Kramer’s, it is really good. And the artwork is incredible. Some of the artists printed their comics bigger than they normally would and some just have four times the amount of columns then they would on a normal sheet of paper. It’s really cool to see Tom Gauld’s insane hatchmarking a little closer and Anders Nilsen’s perfect paint strokes up close. It is a gorgeous book, and I don’t regret buying yet. I just have to find a place to put it! You can get a copy here or a fancy signed bookplate edition here.

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