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Kramers Ergot 7 Hardcover – November 1, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Hardcover, November 1, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. There's a sort of finality about this massive, ambitious art object of an anthology, produced with the finest paper stock and printing available. Editor Harkham has assembled the best-known names in art comics to use the huge page size—16"×21", larger than a newspaper page—as a blank canvas for experiments in storytelling. The result is a delirious, fantastic newspaper supplement as imagined through the lens of the last 20 years of comics experimentation and formalism. Although a few artists like Mat Brinkman and Helge Reumann use the giant page size as the setting for abstract art, many—Seth, Josh Simmons and Gabrielle Bell—cram intense yet minimalist narratives into a parade of tiny panels. The overall effect is overwhelming, but some stories stand out—Shari Boyle's gorgeous elephant fantasy, Tom Gauld's nearly abstract retelling of the Noah myth, Dan Clowes's one-page hard-boiled tragedy, Jaime Hernandez's compact triolet about cosmic unjustness and Matthew Thurber's lyrical nonsense about Brian Eno and a parrot. While the price tag is high, and some stories lack real narrative punch, this anthology is a high-water mark of intelligence and artistry, and will reward many rereadings by those who can find the shelf space to house it properly. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


If there's one book that art-comics enthusiasts would be happiest to find in their stockings this year, it's probably KRAMERS ERGOT 7 (Buenaventura, $125), except for the small matter that it's bigger than an entire hearth. This is one of the grandest English-language comics artifacts ever produced -- a mammoth hardcover anthology, 16 by 21 inches, of new stories by several dozen notable cartoonists, including Daniel Clowes, Seth, Gabrielle Bell, Kevin Huizenga, Sammy Harkham (who also edited the book) and The Simpsons creator Matt Groening. Like the early-20th-century broadsheet newspaper comics pages that inspired it, Kramers Ergot occupies its readers' entire visual field, and most of its contributors have some fun with its dimensions, cramming the page with tiny details or opening it up for apocalyptically huge vistas. The cleverest gesture comes from Chris Ware, whose two-page contribution is built around a cartoon of a sleeping baby printed at the child's actual size. --The New York Times

Product Details

  • Series: Kramers Ergot (Book 7)
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Buenaventura Press (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980003954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980003956
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 0.8 x 21 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,342,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

For me, the book succeeds massively and on many levels.

First off, the concept is ambitious and uncalled for: "let's invite 60 of our favorite artists to create giant-size comics, and then put them all together and see what happens." Probably without quite knowing why they were doing this project -- except that it sounded like fun -- Buenaventura Press gave it a shot. Good for them!

Second, the look and feel of the physical object is borderline absurd. Another reviewer aptly notes that the book is so big it hurts your arms to hold and so tall it won't fit on any sane bookshelf. How refreshingly strange! (Like the comics inside??) Part of the book's ingenious beauty, I think, is its physical impoliteness. In other words: the funny frustrations of the package weirdly "rhyme" with the work inside. The whole is truly greater than the sum of the parts.

Third, Chris Ware has drawn an actual-size baby in the center of his two-page spread. She's a full-size baby, just lying there and staring up at you from a cradle of comic panels. Don't miss it. The book is full of unexpected stuff like this -- touches that the editors never could have anticipated when they devised the format. Not every artist does something extremely unique-feeling with the big page, but not every artist has to. It's a thrill to see all the individual takes on the format, some more conspicuous than others.

Fourth, the production values are first-rate. The paper is super-premium, all the binding was done by hand, and the title is stamped on the cover and on the spine in a delightful, subtle rainbow foil that feels just right. (You have to see the rainbow stamping in person to really see it.... Online pix don't communicate it.
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I was one of the unfortunate people who got pretty excited when I heard that Kramer's Ergot would publish the 7th volume of their artcomics anthology in a freakishly huge 16" x 21" format (identical to the dimensions of the first Little Nemo book from Sunday Press), but then procrastinated, and screwed up my chance to buy it cheap. I got more involved in 19th C. Symbolism, then the N. Renaissance, then a plethora of contemporary artists and styles. By the time I got back around to wanting a copy, the price had shot up to well over $1000.00. Since Buenaventura Press is no more and editor Sammy Harkham has moved on, releasing an 8th volume of Kramer's through Picturebox, the limited print run of 1500 or 2000 copies is all there's ever going to be. I finally found a copy for a decent price from Powell's Books, in the States, about $275.00 plus shipping... which makes the original price of $125.00 seem pretty reasonable. I recall seeing a review on Attack of the Show, I think, and the comics reviewer, Blaire, was flipping through the big, beautiful pages, when she casually suggested buying a copy to dismantle it and using the pages as posters. Man, I really hope no one took that terrible advice. Books that size, at least in 2008, couldn't be bound by machine, so they were hand-stitched -- each copy a hand-made art object. There's a lot of cool posters and prints out there. Tearing apart a rare, hand-bound milestone in comics history is not the best plan for decorating walls. But never mind that. What makes this book so fascinating and amazing is the way each artist utilizes the 16" x 21" page or 32" x 21" spread.Read more ›
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This is probably the coolest book I've ever seen. It still totally blows me away every time I open it and I've owned it for a few weeks now.

The size is awesome! It takes me back to memories of being a small child and laying on the floor looking at "Where's Waldo" books for hours. It is so awesome that some of today's most experimental comic artists have had the opportunity to do something on the same grand scale as the old Little Nemo comics from about 100 years ago and that it can actually be published.

The art is awesome! As an art object alone, I feel it is well worth the cover price. There are so many great artists featured in this book; almost one for every page, and their styles are so different it will keep you turning the pages in astonishment and curiosity just to see what will be next.

The comics are awesome! So many different approaches to this opportunity and for the most part they all feel like they fit together fairly well, even without any sort of theme at all. It is awesome to see Chris Ware continue his "Building Stories" story in this way as that is my favorite thing from him so far. The story of Noah's Ark is another one of my favorites that I've read multiple times.

All in all, this is a perfect example of a book where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It was hard to bring myself to spend so much for a book, but after reading it over and over again, I would in retrospect have been willing to pay double what I did. This book is absolutely worth what they ask!

First read: 10/10
Re-readability: 10/10
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