This weekend we’re … Going to a gallery

Kate Charlesworth’s long and storied career as a cartoonist is currently being celebrated at the Iota Gallery in Hyndland Street, Glasgow. Running until next weekend, the exhibition Blamm! is a career retrospective that takes in the Edinburgh-based cartoonist’s work for the New Scientist, the Guardian and The Pink Paper, as well as pages from the graphic novel Sally Heathcoate, Suffragette which she worked on with the Costa award-winning Mary and Bryan Talbot.

It's a small gallery space but Charlesworth's work fills it with energy and humour and brio.

What strikes you looking around the exhibition is the flexibility of the cartoonist's line and its innate comedy. Be warned though. If you intend to read all of her Life, the Universe and Everything comic strips. You may be there some time. There's an entire wall of them.

Reminding ourselves of past glories

The Herald:

There are a couple of worthwhile reissues out this month. Drawn & Quarterly have republished James Sturm’s The Golem’s Mighty Swing. Originally published in 2001 it’s the story of a depression-era Jewish baseball team the Stars of David, one that takes in America’s almost religious fervour for the sport as well as the nation’s penchant for anti-Semitism. Sturm’s style is cool and considered, which only gives the narrative an extra punch.

Meanwhile, NBM are republishing the fractured, impressionistic memoir of jazz singer Billie Holiday by Argentinean cartoonists Jose Munoz and Carlos Sampayo. Like Sturm’s graphic novel, you couldn’t say it casts the US in a good light. This is a story of brutal racism and damaged lives told in stark, splintered black and white imagery. In short, this is the graphic novel as noir. The result is both powerful and painful.

Reading a book with pictures (but not a picture book)

The Herald:

After two quietly gorgeous graphic novels about the architecture of San Francisco, Paul Madonna has now gravitated to a written narrative with illustrations which turns out to be a much louder prospect than either of his previous graphic novels All Over Coffee or Everything Is its Own Reward.

The reason? San Fran’s dotcom bubble and the hyperinflationary impact it has had on the city’s property and rental market.

Madonna was himself a victim of this particular Silicon Valley effect, having been evicted from his home in the city’s Mission District.

In response he has turned that experience and his subsequent search for an affordable home into a new book, On to the Next Dream (City Light Books), an absurdist comic fable that still bubbles up with anger.

The result is fiction - beautifully illustrated of course - but fiction fuelled by bitter reality.