Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"A.K.A. Squidman"

The story behind "A.K.A. Squidman," the artist's sole collaboration, is somewhat murky. It is believed to have run in The Yale Herald, though it does not appear on the sheet of lined yellow paper that serves as the Saturnhead catalogue raisonné. Experts agree that it likely appeared in either the fall of 1989 or the spring of 1990. The illustrator is Eugene Cho, who signs his name "Echo" on the wonderful title panel (upside down in the worksheet above)—"Echo/Park" having a clean, architecture-firm-sounding ring.

Had space and time allowed it, "A.K.A. Squidman" could have become a terrific strip in its own right, a conceptual gag repeated issue after issue, with Tommy Davis turning into the titular superhero at the first sign of trouble . . . and languishing on terra firma.

—Publication history unknown, but probably The Yale Herald, Fall 1989 or Spring 1990

Friday, April 14, 2006

"Secret Poet"

This decoration, entered into a publisher's galley, reveals a portlier main figure than previously, equipped with cape, scarf, and cane. The cape had some presence in the Saturnhead strip (especially as attached to the minor character "Urchin Man"); the cane and scarf are more recent accessories. The illustration has nothing to do with the book in question, but perhaps captures something of the author's spirit of adventure—here we get the sense that a stroll around the block is an event teeming with excitement.

From a review copy of David Mitchell's Black Swan Green, ca. January 2006

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"I Went to High School With Christian Laettner"

The penultimate Saturnhead is the only one to feature two parallel horizontal panels—a good layout solution to the formal problem presented by the joke. Also unusual in this late-period strip are the shadowing (#1-3) and the action curves in the third panel. The black star has by this point become a motif—ludicrously simple, vaguely haunting, and perhaps totally inscrutable. The artist's signature is hidden. The biographical information in the title is true.

From The Yale Herald, April 17, 1992 (Vol. XIII, issue 12)