Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"The New-York Ghost"

This agreeable logo for The New-York Ghost ("The Weekly Newspaper You Print Out at Work") was done with a black China Marker (grease pencil) on a piece of mailing already crowded with doodles of dogs drinking martinis. The e-mailed word document is available for free to interested parties. To sign up, go to the blog and send an e-mail (subject line: "Subscribe") to the address therein.

—September 26, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"Take Care"

The final "Mr. Saturnhead" strip is a fitting conclusion, at once tipping its hat to previous themes (e.g., the "dream job" recalls the employment anxiety of "Occupational Hazard") and holding out hope for the future. The movement from despair to a life "full of possibilities" is swift and potent, but this text-heavy send-off transcends valedictory sniffles by featuring one of the funniest Saturnhead panels ever—#3, which suggests a whole secret universe of nonexistent Van Morrison albums. Only one full title is visible; the adumbrated album name cut off by the right border is apparently "Gypsy Jigmeister—Live!" The strip's title, however, comes from Big Star's Third, an album the artist listened to incessantly at the time.

A previously unseen fair copy has also been reproduced above. Significantly, the final panel is blank—an equally resonant farewell. The sun-window combination is drawn twice, as are practice runs for the puddle (panel 1) and upturned face (panel 4). The marginalia in the upper-righthand corner (cut off due to scanner limitations) reads in full: Can I trust you pen. It's a poignant glimpse of the artist beseeching his materials for one last good go.

The Yale Herald, April 24, 1992 (Vol. XIII, No. 13)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"Occupational Hazard"

Stiff, unrealistic stances, odd perspective shifts, frame-busting wordiness, and about six different ideas about line (scratchy, thin, shadowed, etc.) nevertheless combine for a pleasing take on the employment opportunities afforded the liberal arts graduate. N.B. the three droplets of sweat in the margin above the first panel. The star-marked trash can makes an appearance. (N.B., the published version has been lost, but most experts believe the title and date provided here are correct.)

The Yale Herald, January 19, 1990 (Vol. IX, issue 1)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

"A Chair in the Room Is Worth $25–30"

The artistic life is often referenced in "Mr. Saturnhead," usually on a meta-level; in this strip, isolation is seen as a precondition to creation. Alas, the wordy setup obscures the joke, which is simply that, sans chair, our hero will not be able to write anything of sufficient length to be considered a novel. But the punchline itself is confusing, the title is ungainly, and matters aren't helped by the distracting presence of an odd shape on the floor in the first panel. (Was it added after the appearance of the lightbulb in the fourth?) Still, the writing-as-imprisonment theme has an indestructible appeal, perhaps expressed best in the depopulated second panel.

—From The Yale Herald, January 18, 1991 (Vol. XI, issue 1)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

"Werewolf Son"

The story goes that the artist's father needed an envelope, and the only one he could find contained some markings in the upper right-hand corner. His solution was to draw a bearded character; the ominous dark patches, or "eyes," correspond to where the original markings were.

—August 2006

Monday, July 24, 2006

"The Mystery of Language"

This strangely elating sequence reads like a brutally edited language primer illustrated by a Scotsman in hypnopompic reverie. The yo-yo in the first panel rhymes with the High Anxiety eyes in the third, as well as suggesting the recursive use of words (dogs, anchovies). The deep, de Chirico-esque field, the enormous sack of fish, the champagne toast—this is a celebration of intangible joy.

—From The Yale Herald, November 30, 1990 (Vol X, issue 12)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

"Gap Pocket T as Worn by"

This strip is very similar in punchline structure to "Look, Ma, No Exclamation Points!," and displays the same taste for the fantastic. The very thin line is a nice contrast to the character's preoccupation with blubber—this is one of the most cleanly drawn strips in the collection.

—From The Yale Herald, September 27, 1991 (vol. 12, issue 53)