Beasts: Book 2 Curated by Jacob Covey

Categories:  Reviews
Tags: , , , , , ,

beastsbook2It would have been a hard sell at nearly any other publisher, a coffee table art book devoted to the much maligned pseudo-science of cryptozoology—let alone a sequel to such a thing. And, had someone actually bit and jumped at the opportunity, the results would likely have been an unmitigated disaster.

In the loving hands of Fantagraphics, however, Beasts: Book 2 is a thing of beauty, from the fittingly classical packaging, presented with shades of Chris Ware and a metallic ink on the edges of the pages that unintentionally shed onto the hands of all who pick it up, to the impressive roster of artists—a sort of coming together of indie comic’s new and old guards, from Kim Deitch and Peter Bagge to Kazimir Strzepek and Jillian Tamaki.

It’s hard to say exactly who the target audience is with a book like Beasts, but surely there’s a fair-sized overlap between lovers of the paranormal and connoisseurs of fine alternative art. The bulk of the second Beasts is devoted to 96 plates. Each features a brief description of a fantastic creature from the world of cryptozoology, accompanied by a one or two page artistic representation of said animal. The beauty of the pieces is not only in the skill of the artists on display, but also the diversity of a stable that includes both cartoonists and artists from other worlds like children’s books, fine art, poster design, and skate graphics.

Read the rest of this entry »

Your Disease Spreads Quick & Brilliantly Ham-Fisted by Tom Neely

Categories:  Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

Your Disease Spreads Quick & Brilliantly Ham-Fisted
By Tom Neely

tomneelyyourdiseasecoverWith The Blot, Tom Neely created one of the best graphic novels of 2007. It was weird and wonderful—surrealist and terrifying and strangely hopeful, all at the same time. Neely’s artwork ably straddled the line between the comfortably familiar and the compellingly new, with a largely wordless story that managed to draw readers in while leaving nearly everyone who read it with vastly varying interpretations of the author’s intentions.

Neely, thankfully, has seen fit to waste little time after the release of The Blot, crafting two minis—both aesthetically pleasing books that maintain the author’s careful attention to quality packaging. Of course, referring to either or both as Neely’s follow up to The Blot would, perhaps, be overstating their importance. They are instead well-made convention sales fodder for the artist and a much-welcomed stop-gap for those of us eagerly awaiting Neely’s next major release.

Created in conjuction with the recently released Melvins box set, (a) Senile Animal, Your Disease Spreads Quick is inspired—at best—very loosely by the sludge metal band, which is to say that, like the best pieces of art, it borrows from the group only enough to create a jumping off point for its own independent statement, one that, if The Blot was indeed a proper indication, is undeinably Neely.

Read the rest of this entry »