Anna Karenina, a drug dealer, and nerdy art jokes

01) Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Yes, I finally finished it! I’m completely fascinated by Tolstoy’s ability to create characters I loved and hated, but related to them and their thoughts and feelings as if they were real. The story may be far removed from the realities of the 21st century, but I felt for Anna and suffered with her and hoped against hope she’d turn around her destiny. While the book is very, very long, I was never bored. Tolstoy’s prose flows so beautifully I turned pages without noticing.

02) Fuck you very much, Aidan Truhen

There’s this badass drug dealer, who isn’t a normal drug dealer, he’s a cool drug dealer who monologues like the poor people’s Patrick Bateman. This dude gets chased by the badass (but not as badass as BDD, badass drug dealer) Seven Demons, a hitman company apparently named by a 13 year old misunderstood emo kid. Of course, BDD out-hitmans everyone, so this ends very badly for them. The end. This is … a book. I don’t even know what to say, guys. I’m probably not badass enough to understand such a masterpiece.

03) Toulouse-Lautrec im Moulin Rouge (Le Cabaret des Muses I), Gradimir Smudja
04) Toulouse-Lautrec und die Belle Epoque (Le Cabaret des Muses II), Gradimir Smudja
05) Vincent und Van Gogh (Vincent et Van Gogh), Gradimir Smudja

We saw the exhibition “La Bohème. Toulouse-Lautrec und die Meister von Montmartre” at the Galerie Stihl in Waiblingen. It shows the poster art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Alfons Mucha, Jules Chéret and Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (he of Le Chat Noir fame), and inspired me to pick up and re-read these comics. Smudja takes you on a trip through the turn-of-the-century Parisian art world, not only through the means of story telling, but on a visual level. He recreates these artists in every panel of his comics and virtually lets you dive into their art. Vincent et Van Gogh is the best book of the three: It tells the story of Theo van Gogh, who desperately wants to be an artist, and his cat Vincent, who has incredibly artistic talent but is destined to remain uncredited. The Toulouse-Lautrec series takes this nonchalant, tongue-in-cheek way of story telling – where the story is mostly just a pretext for gorgeous artwork and silly art nerd jokes – to the point where what was charming in Vincent and Van Gogh feels try-hard and slapdash.

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