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2.0 out of 5 stars6
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on June 6, 2012
Ok, I have three volumes of Kramers Ergo, the over-sized number 7, number 6, and number 5. The over-sized one is outstanding. Really worth the price I paid. Numbers 5 and 6 both have stories worth looking at again, along with lots of chaff. Number 8 is ALL chaff. A really weak offering. Artists that I actually like, Gary Panter, Kevin Huizenga, Chris Cilla, Gabrielle Bell, Sammy Harkam and Dash Shaw, offer us really lame, dull stories that don't really say anything or wow me on a design level. The Wicked Wanda reprints were unreadable. The rest, just as unreadable or unlookable or whatever. Nothing there for me. Oh, I did enjoy the opening essay.

The production quality of the book is outstanding, but I would rather read a good story that is xeroxed on a worn out machine than pointless, ugly stories in a beautifully bound book.

Don't waste your money on this one.

Sammy, we need better from you.
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on February 7, 2012
Much hype has excited readers for the newest installment in the Kramers Ergot underground comics anthology. A swift correction from the oversized and overpriced Kramers Ergot 7, which suffered from a limited print run, the 8th anthology flaunts its nice compact size and beautiful production values. What about the content? Most comics anthologies are a mixed bag and Kramers Ergot 8 is no exception.
I like to think of myself as a fan of indie comics. However, this anthology is painful to read. Nonsensical stories, scraggly art and horrid designs are rampant throughout this. Many people will argue that these comics are a rebellion of the comics form, a sort of "anti-comic" that are great because they don't follow the norm. Lots of artists try too hard to be abstract and "alternative" and ultimately fail. This can be done well but can be the downfall of many comics.
One or two stories in this collection stand out from the rest. The Half Men is a straight forward sci-fi story. It's nothing spectacular but compared to the rest, it is astounding. However, three mediocre comics don't make up for the failure that is the whole.
EDIT: Apparently, "The Half Men" is a story from 1956 redrawn by a new artist. [....]
The majority of the stories are not fulfilling and seem to have no point other than to show off how "alternative" the artists' styles are. And by "alternative" I mean they are crude and adhere to no artistic formula. The stories themselves feel pointless.

Kramers Ergot 8 has been highly lauded by Picturebox and praised as a return to what KE is all about. However, this collection is embarrassing.
Also, it may be an attempt to retain the individual comics' "integrity" but it seems as though no editing process took place at all. Grammar errors abound throughout this collection and inhibit the reading process. Many lines of dialogue I had to read over to understand because of the lack of a necessary comma or proper punctuation.

The best thing about Kramers Ergot 8 is the production value. The cloth hardcover is lavish and feels amazing. The cover/back/spine design are beautiful.
It's truly an amazing book to look at.
If you don't open it up, that is.

I blazed through this immediately; I was so excited to read it. However, I wouldn't see myself ever picking it up again. I severely regret paying for it.
I love comics. I love what they can do. This collection, however, left me feeling extremely disheartened.
I recommend looking into other comics anthologies.
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on March 5, 2015
Kramer's Ergot established itself as the most important comics anthology of the millennium, particularly Volumes 5, 6 and 7. Volume 7 is the legendary over-sized 16 x 21-inch hardcover, borrowing the format introduced by Sunday Press for their equally ground-breaking centenary reprints of the original 'Little Nemo in Slumberland' pages. Reproducing the exact dimensions of the fin-de-siècle broadsheets, these archival facsimiles were a revelation for McCay fans new and old; Kramers Ergot creator-editor-contributor Sammy Harkham had the idea to allow some of the world's most brilliant and cutting edge cartoonists a chance to create work in the same massive tabloid scale, a challenge that yielded brilliant results. Volumes 5 and 6 were both produced as 10 x 11.5-inch flexi-bound books with vinyl covers, and were both around 350-pages long. They share the same high-quality materials and design as Volume 7, and feature a rich and diverse assortment of avant garde artists working at their peak.

Volume 8 faced a couple of serious problems. Firstly, it was released by Picturebox instead of Buenaventura Press; Picturebox is an excellent indie publisher, but previous instalments benefitted from the creative input of co-editor and publisher Alvin Buenaventura. In his absence, the eighth outing experienced a quality decline on every level. Secondly, Kramer's Ergot faced a clear navigational crisis. Having made its name as a consistently surprising and ambitious anthology, the question of where to go after releasing a book as stunning as Volume 7 became a serious one. No matter what they did, it would seem like a regression... so they didn't bother to try. It's not as bad as other reviewers have made it out to be -- at least IMO, for what it's worth -- but it doesn't stand up to past volumes. It's a smaller, clothbound edition, but it's nicely constructed, with several changes in paper stock to best suit the material. It's also shorter than 5 or 6, with stories from the usual suspects that range from brilliant to uninspired. New contributors fail to leave any positive impressions, particularly the selections of artwork chosen to illustrate the book's loose thematic direction.
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on June 2, 2014
Most of what you'll find in Kramer's Ergot #8 seems to be the work of adults trying their damnedest to produce the kind of crude, sketchy drawings you'd see in high school, or in middle school notebooks. That's not to say that crude can't be creative, amusing, interesting, or provoking, but here, in general, the trend of the forced scrawled style overrides any substance.

"Barbarian Bitch" is the worst of the bunch. It was as if the creator ate an underground comic, took a bite out of a 90's graphic novel, drank some beer, and spewed it out to achieve the ultimate in comic garbage. However, the editor was clever enough to begin the compilation with Gary Panter. Whether or not this was a deliberate move, it leads the reader to believe that the rest of the pieces will be as promising. Panter rarely disappoints. Included is one of his regularly amusing, loony "Jimbo" pieces. Johnny Ryan's astronauts in "Mining Colony X7170" perform a rescue mission in a sort of copulatory hell, but it's a little less than you would normally expect from Ryan. Leon Sadler's work seems less forced than most of the other pieces and his cutely primitive drawings are destined to make the reader smile, if not laugh. Chris Cilla's "Secret Tourist" and an anonymously written piece entitled "The Half Men" are the only others really worth noting. Overall, this is a compilation to avoid. If you really need comics to read, make your own.
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on March 24, 2012
There's only one thing worth reading in here and it's by Kevin Huizenga. The rest is so much garbage. I was forcing myself through it by the end. So many comics anthologies are uneven at best, and often terrible. Kramers Ergot does not justify its price at all.

I know it's unfair to write this whole series off based on the third and eighth installments, but that's exactly what I'm doing. I cannot understand what people enjoy about these weak stories or their awful art. Life's too short to keep wasting it on crappy comics anthologies.
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on May 3, 2012
Expectations can be weird. But KE8 is a finely crafted volume of (more often than not) scifi-themed, surreal & excellent comics. I dunno if its a "brutally effective anthology as an argument about the medium" but it's a book full of incredible graphic images. Obviously more of a fancy art zine vibe than other comics anthologies. Well executed with a handsome old school linen and foil embossed cover. Four Amazon stars.
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