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Is That All There Is?
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Is That All There Is?

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  199 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
By appropriating and subverting Tintin creator Herge s classic clear line style, Joost Swarte revitalized European alternative comics in the 1970s with a series of satirical, musically elegant, supremely beautifully drawn short stories often featuring his innocent, magnificently-quiffed Jopo de Pojo, or his orotund scientist character, Anton Makassar. Under Swarte s own ex ...more
Hardcover, 120 pages
Published February 27th 2012 by Fantagraphics (first published January 1st 2011)
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May 16, 2012 Mark rated it liked it
Five stars for content, three for design. Why the heck did Fantagraphics print this book at this small size? Most of these pieces were originally published at a larger size than this, and they all deserve to be printed much larger: at least magazine or French album size, or ideally RAW size (or bigger). Swarte is a comics and design genius, and this new book is a wonderful compilation (I bought the book even though I think I have every piece in there someplace else--it's nice to have them all in ...more
David Doorakkers
Joost Swarte is misschien wel Nederlands bekendste striptekenaar. Daarbij moet vermeld worden dat striptekenaars in het algemeen in Nederland, zelfs de grootste, per definitie niet bekend zijn bij het grote publiek. Swarte geniet zijn faam dan ook vooral buiten onze landsgrenzen; in de Verenigde Staten en Frankrijk. In de Verenigde Staten kent het striplezend publiek - dat nog altijd een relatief veelkoppige entiteit is – Swarte onder andere van Art Spiegelman’s underground magazine Raw en de co ...more
Michael Scott
Apr 15, 2013 Michael Scott rated it it was ok
I bought this book for two main reasons: I liked the idea of exploring the art of a Dutch modern artist, and I thought the cover was provocative yet witty. While the art did not disappoint, the old proverb about judging a book by its cover proved all too real...

Technical details: Is that all there is is a collection of Joost Swarte's graphics that spans over three decades (judging by the signatures---from 1975 to 2009). In 144 pages, plus 2 internal covers and 1 front cover, the artist traverses
Emma Roulette
Jan 02, 2016 Emma Roulette rated it liked it
This is just my opinion, and maybe this opinion will block me from enjoying the majority of the comic world out there, but I just can't seem to get into comics that are mainly about bad guys vs. good guys and slapstick humor. Maybe I'm too young or something. I wanted to enjoy it. But I found myself towards the end just looking at the pictures and not really even reading the text. The art was cool. I dug the clean-line drawings and the color palettes and the little button noses on the characters ...more
May 01, 2012 P. rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
I think Joost Swarte is a great artist. I'm still not sure what to do about the racial stereotypes--it needs to be really explicitly a satire of older humor for me to get it, I guess, and to me it just reads like a rehashing of old "humor". It doesn't feel like it's a necessary part of any of the stories except to reference the stuff in TinTin that always causes controversy? Someone, feel free to school me (in a non-condescending way, please.)

apart from that, it's rad to see more translations of
Michael Larson
May 05, 2012 Michael Larson rated it it was amazing
Joost Swarte as an artist I can't believe I hadn't heard of before. This probably has to do with the fact that this is the first proper collection of his work released in the US, but still, his inspirations are Herge, Jacques Tati, and, incongruous though it may seem, Fritz the Cat. The meticulous "clean line" style of the Tintin comics is here used to show the bawdy adventures of a variety of colorful characters, some which have underlying socio-political themes, and some which are basically ju ...more
Oct 14, 2012 Tommy rated it liked it
I find Swarte's style fascinating in its precision and "clarity of line," which is apparently a style he mostly created, or at least became the master of. The intro by Chris Ware was pretty interesting, enough that I read the entire thing. I used to love studying, or just zoning out on Swarte's illustrations in RAW magazine, but was a little dissatisfied with a whole book of his work. Hmph. The stories are weird and seem muddled, maybe just because of the cultural gap. I dunno. But his draftsman ...more
Feb 12, 2012 Jeff rated it really liked it
Joost Swarte is one of the true greats, the most important inheritor of Herge's ligne claire style, in both the technical and philosophical sense. While he has his ups and downs as a storyteller, his skill as a visual stylist is second-to-none, and is simply some of the most beautiful work ever done in the medium of comics. Fantagraphics has provided a real service in issuing a comprehensive collection of Swarte's comics work in translation, and the book is as handsome as the contents therein de ...more
Rolf William
Mar 24, 2012 Rolf William rated it really liked it
This book is cool.
I bought it because I was at Big Brain comics in Minneapolis and the clerk talked to me and then I felt guilted into buying something.
It's odd and has a couple semi-racist seeming strips that I don't get. I can't figure out of it's a joke or some weird Dutch thing. I like the LIGNE CLAIRE drawing style. The drawings are better than the story lines. Anyway, if you liked RAW magazine when you were 16 and now read the New Yorker you might like this.
David Schaafsma
Jul 27, 2013 David Schaafsma rated it really liked it
Mostly influenced by Herge's Tintin, and somewhat by the underground comix movement (his stuff was published first in RAW by Spiegelman), this is interesting. His "clean line" approach is impressive; his humor quirky and not particularly compelling to me, but it is interesting and impressive from an artistic perspective. This is a collection of his work over several years. Chris Ware's insightful introduction is one of the very best things about this volume, really useful and insightful.
Joe Decie
Jan 21, 2013 Joe Decie rated it it was amazing
This is really a brilliant book. I'd read quite a few of Joost's strips in old anthologies. They are quite amazing. His grasp of ligne claire and visual story telling is second to none. I didn't read this book all in one go, just dipping in is enough, as each strip has a lot to enjoy. I think the newer release is slightly larger. So more fool me for buying it early.
Dana Jerman
Mar 03, 2012 Dana Jerman rated it really liked it
The only thing disappointing about this book, which is amazing, is the storylines. Why doesn't Swarte trust his ability to tell a worthwhile tale? Why do most of them end in absurd self-destruction and silly misbehavior?
Brent Legault
Oct 11, 2012 Brent Legault rated it it was amazing
If Tintin had ever grown up, he might have lived these stories. And he would have been lucky to. All of us should be drawn this well. There is not a high enough heap of praise that I can bestow on this collection.
Jan 02, 2013 Daniel rated it it was amazing
Joose Swarte is a remarkable cartoonist/designer/illustrator of the "clear line" school, hugely influenced by Tintin's Hergé, but also by George McManus and others. A larger format would have been nice, but the material is so strong that I'm giving it the full five stars.
Jul 06, 2013 Hamish rated it liked it
Usual review. The art is fantastic. The attention to aesthetic and especially the angles are wonderful, but just about every visual aspect here is top notch. But the content/writing ranges from pretty good to eh. Gorgeous to look at, less exciting to read.
Jen Johnson
Sep 09, 2013 Jen Johnson rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novel
Eh. The stories didn't really do anything for me.
Dec 13, 2012 Ian rated it really liked it
As amazing a parody of TinTin as could possibly be.
David Gallin-Parisi
Mar 11, 2013 David Gallin-Parisi rated it liked it
Shelves: halfway, comics
walk around the block, listen to cool cats, see panels collapse and build up on themselves, and marvel at the French humor. recommended for fans of chris ware and people who like desgny comics.
Dec 01, 2013 Casey rated it it was amazing
Great introduction to the Dutch modern artist and changed me a little inside. Memorable because if the content and subject, not particularly the style.
Dec 28, 2012 John rated it really liked it
Terrific graphic artist. The comparisons to Herge's Tintin have been made plenty of times before, but I must say I am a big fan of Joost's clear line style.
Chad Brock
Sep 21, 2014 Chad Brock rated it liked it
The art is terrific! I could stare at his Raw #2 cover, "Comix Factory", all day. However, I'm a little lukewarm on the story content.
Aug 13, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it
liked especially the tutorial Anton Makassar in Kleur, 100 - 103, explaining the use of color overlays and screen-tone sheets.
Phil Allen
Phil Allen rated it liked it
Dec 11, 2016
Jennifer rated it liked it
Dec 04, 2012
Charlie Potter
Charlie Potter rated it it was amazing
Jul 02, 2012
Kicking_k rated it really liked it
Jan 27, 2015
Ben Bronstein
Ben Bronstein rated it really liked it
Oct 23, 2014
Fresh2death rated it really liked it
Jul 16, 2014
Christophe Van
Christophe Van rated it really liked it
Dec 27, 2015
Alex Scales
Alex Scales rated it really liked it
Apr 30, 2013
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Joost Swarte is a Dutch comic artist and graphic designer. He is best known for his ligne claire or clear line style of drawing, and in fact coined the term.
More about Joost Swarte...

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