Memorabilia – Sergio Ponchione (Fantagraphics)

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A heartfelt ode to five of the voices that helped to shape the world of comics, Memorabilia is an engaging, infectious and thought provoking account of the lives of Richard Corben, Will Eisner, Steve Ditko, Jack ‘King’ Kirby and Wallace Wood. Reimaging their stories through the distinct and slightly surreal vision of Ponchione, Memorabilia is  fascinating study of the impact that it’s subjects had, not only on the life of Ponchione but also on the medium that they were part of.

As strange as it is enchanting, Memorabilia takes its audience by the hand and guides them carefully through the defining moments of the lives of the men that it celebrates. Incorporating the style of the artists in question as a central part of each of their own stories, Ponchione unflinchingly, and with one foot rooted firmly in the fantastic world of imagination that his chosen artists made their own, and patiently explains what made each of them special.

Ponchione delves deep into the lives of Eisner, Wallace and Corben to such wonderful effect that whilst simultaneously gawping in awe at his delicate, rich and vibrant art and whimsical prose, you yearn to discover more about the creators in question.  He takes a flight of fancy to the moon in his Bradbury-esqe recounting of Jack Kirby’s life and afterlife and uses the mystery and secrecy that surrounded Steve Ditko to further deepen the conundrum that was the life of Spider-Man’s fastidiously private co-creator.

Beguiling and hypnotic, Memorabilia transports you to Panchione’s world. It’s a place that’s filled with a sense of wonder and awe, one that makes you realise that if you look hard enough and if you just open your mind, then you’ll find magic, grace and magnificence in the most unexpected of quarters and that the history of comics owes far more to Wallace, Ditko, Corben, Eisner and Kirby than most of us would dare to imagine. Incredible… Tim Cundle

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