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Bernard Caleo

Bernard Caleo

Bernard Caleo draws and performs, and is a PhD student at the University of Melbourne, working on place in Australian comic books.

Bernard Caleo reviews 'Bulk Nuts' by Mandy Ord and 'New York City Glow' by Rachel Coad

December 2023, no. 460 27 October 2023
The strength of comic strips, like poetry, can derive from concise language and startling images. With Bulk Nuts, the latest addition to Mandy Ord’s long list of autobiographical comics and graphic novels, the Melbourne cartoonist attains a new level in her work. One of the ways she does this is by cutting back on words and presenting more considered, finished drawings. Through verbal economy an ... (read more)

Bernard Caleo reviews 'Stone Fruit' by Lee Lai and 'Men I Trust' by Tommi Parrish

December 2022, no. 449 25 October 2022
The covers of comic books/graphic novels/sequential narratives, call them what you will, have a fundamentally different relationship to the contents of their books than the covers of ‘ordinary’, text-only works. For the latter, the cover image is usually produced by a designer whom the author does not know and may never meet. In the case of comics, however, the cover image is made by the same ... (read more)

Bernard Caleo reviews 'Our Members Be Unlimited' by Sam Wallman and 'Orwell' by Pierre Christin and Sébastian Verdier, translated by Edward Gauvin

June 2022, no. 443 25 May 2022
Sam Wallman’s graphic novel Our Members Be Unlimited – ‘a comic about workers & their unions’ – recalls the past victories and the present importance of unions but is haunted by an increasingly attenuated spirit of collectivism. These ‘good ghosts’ of unionism appear halfway through the book during a conversation between two friends, both union members but engaged at different le ... (read more)

Bernard Caleo reviews 'Kent State' by Derf Backderf and 'Underground' by Mirranda Burton

January–February 2022, no. 439 21 December 2021
Editorial cartoonists gamble their all on a same-day art, their work created, read, and discarded on the day of publication. The makers of graphic novel journalism use the language of cartooning, too, but in their case it’s a marathon, not a sprint: they spend years arranging thousands of images and tens of thousands of words across hundreds of pages in order to create their books. Two new graph ... (read more)

Bernard Caleo reviews 'The Secret to Superhuman Strength' by Alison Bechdel, 'Seek You: A journey through American loneliness' by Kristen Radtke, and 'When One Person Dies the Whole World Is Over' by Mandy Ord

November 2021, no. 437 25 October 2021
What distinguishes graphic novels (aka ‘big fat comic books’) from other books is how completely the page registers movements of the maker’s hand. Before we begin the business of reading, we look, and what we see is not margin-to-margin Helvetica or Times New Roman: it’s the mark of the makers, be it Alison Bechdel or Kristen Radtke or Mandy Ord. We might even think of the making of comic ... (read more)