SOME RECENT THINGS I GOT THAT ARE AMAZING
Hello my friends! I have a lot of stuff going on, which you will see here very soon--tons of new comics on the way, I'm so excited! It's been awhile since I posted new comics, I'm violating pretty much all the Mighty Tenets Of Webcomics. But in the meantime, here are some things I recently have acquired that are mindblowing and that you should try to acquire if you can. Let's splash right in, shall we?
I have loved Joe Lambert and his comics for a longtime, and was pretty thrilled when his new book came out. I got a copy at TCAF, but only recently got a chance to look at it--I'd read a lot of the material in it before, and bought the book as much out of loyalty and bro-excitement as anything else. I mean, not that I wasn't excited to have the book on its own merits--you know what I mean.
Anyway, a couple of days ago I cracked it open for the first time before bed, and was honestly bedazzled by the contents. Not just the stories, which I already knew were amazing. Joe approaches comics from a slightly askew direction from a lot of people, one that's formally playful without being overwrought, obsessively detailed without being histrionic, and nostalgic and reflective without being maudlin. I knew all these things. But the book itself, I Will Bite You And Other Stories, is such a perfectly made little thing, so well decanted, that it was pure pleasure rediscovering those stories.
The book uses color in a way that elevates the reading of the thing--mostly a palette of yellow and gray, which sounds cuckoo but looks nightingale. It takes what is more or less a collection of unrelated stories and--to use an unfortunate metaphor--binds them into a coherent whole. The exception, besides a couple of black and white stories, is the Caveman story, originally published as part of Wide Awake Press's Piltdown anthology, which is available to read free here. Jump to Joe's story here.
I love books, and a well-designed book is as much a pleasure to hold as it is to read. And in the case of Joe's book, reread and reread again. So good. You can buy the book from any comics shop worth a darn, or failing that direct from Secret Acres. I'm sure they won't mind your money, which will likely help them publish the next emerging brainiac like Joe.
I have been super groovin (60's word) on Meg Hunt lately. Her drawings are amazing in the way they organize space and what should be a clutter of detail, but under her hand becomes a little symphony of bits and pieces. I got this silkscreen print the other day, which I honestly should not have bought--I can't afford to buy.. anything lately, certainly not $40 silkscreen prints. But I was blown away when I saw it online, and have wanted something by Meg on my wall for awhile so I can soak up whatever amazing alchemy she's capable of.
But when I got the print in the mail, any buyer's remorse I might have felt disappeared instantly. Just look at the detail in this thing:
The colors are rich and thick and gorgeous, honestly my breath was taken away a little bit, not enough to be life-threatening, but enough to make me woozy for a second. I think my favorite thing about Meg's work is that she works very much in two dimensions, using flat but fanciful shapes, but she seems to conceive of these shapes very much in three dimensions. Especially in this kind of layered color work. I have a terrible time with anything spatial, so things like this always seem like magic to me. Just the way my brain's wired. I haven't hung this yet, because I haven't found a frame I like yet. But it's sitting next to my drawing table, and has been picked up and examined a lot over the last week or so. You can buy your own right up on Meg's site.
John Martz's Heaven All Day originally came out in 2010, but since then he received a Xeric Grant and published a nicer, professionally printed, fancy-dan version for this year's TCAF. Like Joe's book, I wasn't in a super rush to crack this one open, because I'd already read and loved it. But good lord, the new version looks good. John's style is SO simple but nuanced. This year I got the chance to see some of his work in progress, including some incredibly dense coloring for a future project, literally forty billion layers of colors and effects and so on. So seeing this 2-color book really made me appreciate his choice of the quieter approach in retrospect. There's nothing better than someone who's capable of dialing it up to 11 but knows when to play it softly.
John is one of my very favorite cartoonists, probably in the top 4 or 5 that have been influential on not only my work, but how I approach comics in general as a form. His ability to reduce a figure or an idea to its most basic, necessary pieces, while still retaining the nuance and oddity that made them interesting in the first place, is just amazing. If you haven't read his comics before, there's a ton of them free on his site, or you can buy them in book form in his shop. Besides Heaven All Day, I highly Highly HIGHLY recommend you buy Excelsior, which about to go out of print forever. Just an amazing little thing, like a little "how to cartoon" booklet, masquerading as every person in his mom's high school yearbook.
Okay last thing! Steve Wolfhard's new Cat Rackham Loses It, published by "Good Ole" Koyama Press, is unsurprisingly totally amazing. What is it about Steve's comics that's so GOOOOD??? His characters--and his jokes--are weirdly human, idiosyncratic, not all the way this or that. He has the timing of an animator (which he is, among other things), but it's his still images that always get me. Maybe it's the animation background, but the way he gets his characters to "act" on the page is just amazing. So much information in there without ever feeling overworked or fussy.
The most amazing thing is that the comic is severely underpriced at $5--a 32-page, full-color, high quality comic from a small press publisher for that little is an extremely endangered species. When you go buy yours from Steve, I encourage you to check out all the other free comics on his site, which will both crack you up and break your heart. You've been warned!
Okay, actual last thing! I mentioned this in my HeroesCon writeup last week, but dannnggg I can't stop looking at it, so I took a better picture. Farel Dalrymple original art, 10.5" square:
You can click on it to make it bigger. Good gravy Farel.