Dear Comic Lovers,
My name is Nicholas Gazin, and I love comics. Approximately once a week I write a column in which I cover comics, art, illustration, and nerd interest and review some books. My last two columns for VICE were photo blogs about art shows. Sorry. This one's about comics again. Here are some things of interest. Vasili Zorin Check out this hilarious series of Tweets between Johnny Ryan and Sir Mix-A-Lot. Check out this Batman carseat that hugs your kids. This Wild Grape candy packaging is so beautiful to me. Check out this old illustration about urban loneliness. Look at this cool old kinescope thing. Think about this great sketchbook drawing by Garrett Young. Look at this pretty Jack Kirby button. Look at these great old press cards from San Diego Comic Con. Gary Panter drew a great multi-page comic for Red Bull about his own life and activities. Check it out.
I have a poster in this charity art show that Nike is putting on. I am kinda surprised, but it's happening.
Anyway here are the reviews.
Burger Records Books
Burger Records has entered the world of book publishing with this 12"-by-12" hardcover that celebrates the career of M. Wartella. There's a photo I took in the back of the book of King Tuff, so I got a free copy. If you're a punky comics guy, it's hard not to appreciate. Here's a little Q n' A I did with Wartella.
VICE: What are the things that you've done that Vice's readers might know you from?
M. Wartella: Well, back in the early days of VICE we did that scratch-off cover. When the issue came out, VICE threw a party with Ol Dirty Bastard and it was pretty trippy to look around and see all these freaks sitting around with pocket change scratching off the covers. I think if you have an un-scratched copy it's worth some dough.
How'd you get involved with Burger Records?
My friend Bobby Harlow, he's a record producer from Detroit, we go way back and he's the official "Burger Guru". We just started doing t-shirts and stuff and it built from there. They are amazing guys. Totally smart and totally cool. I'm currently designing a 7" sleeve for them for the upcoming BURGER Singles Club™.
Is Wartella your real name?
Of course! Pen names are for pussies. Real names are punk!
Why is your book so expensive? That's not punk.
It's pricey because it's a limited edition first pressing, but don't worry, those copies all sold out in an hour, and we're printing up a cheaper version for stores!
What comics did you love at various points in your life? Do you remember the first comic book you ever saw and/or owned?
Well, MAD was my first love. Then one fateful day at a B.Dalton or some other mall-crap bookstore, I stumbled onto a copy of Crumb's HEAD COMIX and Groening's SCHOOL IS HELL. My life and psyche have never been the same!
What are your favorite things to draw?
Tell me about your Village Voice strips. I liked how lively those were. They seemed very Will Elder influenced.
Well, Elder is the master. But the VOICE strips were also inspired by M.C.Escher and the old Puck artists. Ya gotta plan 'em out like a puzzle so that all the characters fit together seamlessly.
How old are you?
Shit… I can't remember anymore! I'm 30-something… If you read my STRIP SHOW book I think you can piece it together.
Get it here.
Man, Michael Deforge has one hell of a work ethic. The new Lose is mostly taken up with a story about a young boy who has a crush on a girl he doesn't know very well while taking for granted a girl that clearly likes him. We see him regurgitate information he's fed by the girl he's friends with to cool kids and by the time it seems like he might have realized that he was a jerk it's too late. There are also talking animals and bizarre fake science and body horror because it's a Deforge comic and he is all about things being gross.
Get it here.
This is another Michael Deforge book. The other comic I reviewed was his most recent work and this book is a collection of his least recent work. This book collects his Spotting Deer comic and other stuff most of which was published in anthology and mini comics. Two were originally published on the Vice site. Did I get a mention? No. Fuck Michael Deforge.
The comics in this book range in quality but they are all slathered in in heaping doses of shame, regret, self loathing and heavy stealing from David Cronenberg movies, From Beyond and other body horror films, like most of his work. Not Deforge's best stuff but better than most people's early work collection books. If you dig behing disgusted this is where it's at.
Get it here.
This is a collection of CF's zines from 2012 which collect crudely beautiful drawings of stuff, comics that are artsy and some photos. Everything is printed in black ink on differently colored paper. It's great. Everything CF has made up to this point is great. I have yet to dislike a singly thing I have seen from CF. A respected comics guy who I thought was trying too hard made fun of CF claiming that CF was trying too hard "with that haircut." I guess that's the world of art though, a bunch of disconnected assholes accusing each other of being phoneys. I don't care what CF is like as a person. His drawings are beautiful and they hit me on an immediate level. I assume most artists are awful people.
Get it here.
Larry Clark Stuff
Editedby Larry Clark and Johan Kugelberg
This is a catalog of the Larry Clark Stuff show at the Boo-Hooray Gallery in Lower Manhattan. It's a llittle digest sized book that was limited to 330 copies. It turns out that Larry Clark's stuff is mostly T-shirts made by FUCT and other skateboard companies as well as some actual skateboards. Not bad.
Get it here.
Everything Takes Forever
Jesse draws in a way that's informed and pleasant. His pen and ink wash style kind of feels like the soft shapes of Travis Millard and the loose lines and watercolor of Barry Blitt mixed together.
Although his drawings are nice his comics aren't all that much. One has a guy with a big taco for a head try to order a taco at a restaurant and gets indignant when the taco vendor seems confused. Then he eats the taco. Most of the comics in this book are kinda like that as far as story development goes.
I see Jesse doing what a lot of young cartoonists do which is coming up with ideas but not stories. People will present what is more of a first act than a story and then they think they are done.
Get it here.
See you next time!
Previously - Nick Gazin's Comic Love-In #88