Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-In 121

VICE's art editor took a trip to the Comic Arts Brooklyn convention, which he said isn't as sad and embarrassing as other comic conventions.
December 12, 2017, 1:27am
All photos by the author. 


I’m Nicholas Gazin and this is my weekly column to review and discuss comics. This week I’d like to tell you about what I saw at Comic Arts Brooklyn.

But first: Heather Benjamin has a show coming up at the Dress Shop in Brooklyn. The reception is on December 15. Everyone should go.

There are many comic conventions, but there’s only one that isn’t overwhelmingly sad and embarrassing, and that’s Comic Arts Brooklyn (CAB).

CAB is the product of the blood, sweat, and meanness of Gabe Fowler, the most hated man in comics. Its quality comes from his incisive curation. While the larger comic-cons have become gluttonous celebrations of advertising, dress up, and stupidity, the smaller ones have become feel good drum circles of unmonitored mediocrity. It’s sad that, as comic conventions have become more frequent, the amount of good comics being made has dwindled.

This year, CAB was notably different than previous conventions. Gabe had organizational help in the form of Matthew James-Wilson, VICE contributor and editor of FORGE, a quarterly art mag. They also moved the convention from the church near Best Pizza to the expansive gymnasium of Pratt, the art school I convinced Matthew to drop out of.

If you wanted to take a photo where you were pretending to be a vacuum cleaner, that option was there for you. I think Matthew Thurber painted this, based on the initials.

This guy was one of two dealers selling old comic books. I bought that copy of Mickey Rat #1. He specialized in old Head Comics, many of which I had never seen before (and I usually think I know everything).

Most of the old hippie comics have incredible covers and disappointing interiors.

Look at the typography and beautiful colors on this image of a pig reading a comic.

We are all Little Greta Garbage.

This comic is about a guy named Ric Gayzin who works for LICE Magazine. For some reason this comic really speaks to me.

We are all the “We’re ALL SCREWED” cat.

This is Gina Wynbrandt holding up a comic she made about how she’s going to hire a male prostitute with the profits made from selling this comic.

Here is the leading bad boy of graphic literature himself, Simon Hanselmann. Simon’s very dear pet rabbit Woody died recently and I would like to acknowledge his passing. He was a great friend to a good artist.

Here’s a pretty print by Hannah K. Lee.

I like to eat orange-colored food when I’m high. The great thing about Cheetos is that after you eat them, you can use your Cheetos claw as a tool of intimidation. Most people would rather get punched in the gut than have a Cheetos hand wiped down their back. If you ever get into a fight, dip your hands in Cheetos first and your opponent will just back off.

I liked these.

Angry Jim Campbell is a contributing writer, artist, and colorist for the tremendously good Over the Garden Wall comics. He made this little recreation of an object from one of the comics as a physical object. Angry Jim is undervalued, but his work is notable for being equally kind, funny, and intelligent. If there were any justice, Angry Jim would be a household name, but instead this handsome, talented, humble guy just plugs along. Do yourself and Jim a favor and go check out Angry Jim for fuck’s sake! Look at how earnestly cute and sweet this thing is.

I don’t consider Wizard Skull to be a real artist. I think he knows that I think this.

I didn’t ask Heather Benjamin to pose like this. She’s just naturally glamorous.

This is what Chris Ware looks like. He said he’s read my column and liked it, but that seems odd since I regularly badmouth him. Maybe he was making fun of me. At the end of the day, he’s making the most physically cumbersome comics on the market, and I’m just some guy who buys them.

India Pearlman, a student at Pratt, presented me with this patch she made for me by hand with a needle and thread over the course of several months. It’s based on the graphic from the package of a doll based on Cecil the Sea-Sick Sea Serpent that came with a disguise kit.

This is Gary Panter. He's the creator of Jimbo and the Screamers’ logo. He's also the designer of Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Gary is looking like a very cool founding father these days.

This is Charles Burns, creator of Black Hole and some Altoids ads from the 90s. He was looking appropriately moody and terrifying.

These are the two knuckleheads who put this event on. Look at them. Look at their smug faces, proud at having put on such a fine—not to mention free—event, celebrating a medium that seems to be forgotten even though it’s more popular now than it’s been in decades. These two are driven by something beyond a quest for glory, respect, wealth, or security. They’re men of integrity, driven by some mixture of OCD and self-loathing. Thanks to Gabe and Matt for striving for perfection in an age where most people can no longer recognize it. I look forward to seeing what these fine guys do next.

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