This book has plenty of good reads, but it will also make you very uncomfortable. That impact, however, is a rare one from any artform, and it feels like something new and important. (Hilllary Brown Paste Magazine)
Every few years a comics compilation arrives for those of us who like our stories sans superheroes and a little cutting-edge.
I own three previous Kramers books, and all of them feature some of my favorite artists, along with several up-and-comers. This time around, editor Sammy Harkham chose creators that "reflect a more specific and unified aesthetic space of discipline, sophistication, and quiet power." (Whitney Matheson USA Today)
Eight installments in (and now on its third publisher), Kramers Ergot is sometimes discussed as if it's merely a report card on the state of alternative comics, as if the table of contents is all that requires our attention. Ergot 8 looks to shake that foundation a bit, opening as it does with the most bewilderingly aggressive tract Harkham's discovered thus far. From there, the book does take on a bit of a laundry-list quality - there's Johnny Ryan, there's Ben Jones, there's Frank Santoro, Gabrielle Bell, all of your big dogs, they've come for your bones - but don't let the brevity trick you into thinking there's not something of substance going on. There's a method to the madness, and by the anthology's weird, atonal closer, you'll be laughing (or wryly grimacing, at the least) right along with it. (Tucker Stone Flavorwire)
In a reduction in size from the massively oversized previous issue, which is comprised of mostly single "broadsheet" comics pages by over 50 artists, KE 8 takes the form of a compact hardcover that focuses on short but mostly multipage visual progressions and graphic stories by eighteen contributors. These display a widely divergent range of visual styles, which are unified in their narrative content by irony and ambiguity. (James Romberger Publisher's Weekly)
Despite featuring a much smaller roster than previous volumes in the series, and despite a much less "noisy" visual aesthetic than that which has characterized the series since its phone book-sized fourth volume caused a sensation upon its release at the MoCCA Festival in 2003, Kramers Ergot 8 has an intensity that's tough to shake.
A cheekily provocative introductory essay from musician Ian Svenonius and a massive selection of racy reprinted Oh, Wicked Wanda! comics from the pages of Penthouse prove perplexing - but it's a good perplexing, because it forces the reader to consider just how fingernails-on-a-chalkboard effective the rest of the volume is at discomfiting them. (Sean T. Collins Robot 6)