FYI.

This story is over 5 years old.

Entertainment

Literary

Dear Aspiring Snapshot Photographer: Hang up your fucking jock because Jeff Mermelstein has won the race and you will never touch his shit.
December 1, 2003, 12:00am

PortaJohnny:

The Best of Angry Youth Comix

Johnny Ryan

Fantagraphics Books

Fuck Erik Lavoie. This is the shit. And HOLY SHIT is this book ever droll. If VICE had to summarize all its beliefs into one gigantic comic book, it would be Angry Youth Comix. It is poignant and crude and offensive and the funniest thing we’ve ever seen. Like the time Loady McGee bites off one of “Wad’s” tits because he can’t get enough milk. Or the futuristic space cop who blasts away five life points every time you make a racist joke. Portajohnny is living proof that the best way to make an omelette hilarious is to break every egg in the grocery store.

Advertisement

ERIK LAVOIE

No Title Here
Photographs by Jeff Mermelsteinpower
House Books
Dear Aspiring Snapshot Photographer: Hang up your fucking jock because Jeff Mermelstein has won the race and you will never touch his shit. These photos are that good. A New Jersey native, Mermelstein has taken pictures for Life, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Magazine. His work is funny but never heavy-handed, and often enticingly surreal. There is a dual edge of journalism and art in his photos, which makes them tons more valuable than just one or the other alone. I can think of no other photographer who makes a bar mitzvah look like the party of the century, or manages to photograph an armadillo race and not make it look like he is patronizing his subjects. You should see the picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barbara Bush, and some middle-aged aerobics babes. Shit is trippy.
ERIK LAVOIE

Overbite

Dave Cooper

Fantagraphics Books

Art & Beauty Magazine

Robert Crumb

Fantagraphics Books

Cursiv

David Choe

Giant Robot

Ever notice how artists can’t draw? They do a handful of illustrations and

we’re supposed to drop to our knees and pay $300 a print. Cartoonists, on the other hand, pound out six amazing illustrations a page and only ask you for $3.50. If you have any doubts about how superior they are, check out their forays into the art world. Choe, Cooper, and Crumb all have comic book backgrounds, but now that they’ve decided to focus on painting and drawing, renowned painters and drawers are shitting in their drawers. It’s like Wayne Gretzky after years of training with a cement filled puck jumping on to the ice and tossing the normal puck around like a rubber ball.

First, you start off like David Choe. A wise-ass vandal who does photocopied mini-comics and writes on walls. After a few issues of his comic Slow Jams, he decides to try out a book of illustrations. The result is an eye-popping pile of greatness that looks more like a compilation of urban artists than one man’s work.

Then you get to the Dave Cooper level. After winning a bunch of fancy comic book awards for masterpieces like Suckle and Weasel, Dave sighed and decided to try using oil paints. The result is a sublime and jarring collection of ominously pink women with fat asses and scary grins. It makes you horny and scared, like Gaspar Noé without the raping.

Eventually, after you’ve paid your dues through a lifetime of comics and art books, you become a fucking super-god like Robert Crumb. His new magazine is done in the same style as those art mags from the 40s that feature huge, full-page portraits of pretty girls with sincere little descriptions underneath. I’d get into it but there’s no sense in describing Crumb’s work. You are either in awe of it or you haven’t seen it.

Advertisement

When you put these three masterpieces back to back, the innate superiority of the cartoonist is impossible to deny. Practice makes perfect, and no artists practice more than cartoonists.

ERIK LAVOIE

Shrimpy and Paul

Marc Bell

Highwater Books

The beautiful baby boy who does those excellent lyric things for VICE has now completed a graphic novel of his two favorite guys, Shrimpy and Paul. Shrimpy is a stoic and small bean-shaped character whose unflappable wisdom always has the high-strung (and sausage-shaped) Paul in a tizzy. Like most of the cartoonists on this page, just staring at the relentlessly confident pen strokes are enough to justify sitting in the bath with this book (have a towel nearby to keep your hands dry), but after you get past that, you can also indulge in the cutest and strangest stories since your senile old grandmother became convinced she was magic.

ERIK LAVOIE

ESSAY DIE ONE

by Brace Paine

Brace is the secret other identity of the guy in The Gossip. This mimeographed zine of his is rad in the same way that Harmony Korine’s oft-overlooked novel was. Weird lists, reports from strange teendom suburbia, and elusive references to “maximum romance”. I’ll bet you could find this by calling the Kill Rock Stars label.

ERIK LAVOIE