There’s nothing like catsitting for a friend who has an amazing library of rare, underground printed matter. After screening Studio Ghibli’s Pom Poko for dinner last night, I headed next door to play kitty and to look for something to read before bed. I thought I’d stay on the animation tip and root around for comics and ultra pro limited edition zines and periodicals. Here are highlights:
Seeing a Nazi Knife on the shelf stoked me. It’s hard to find in America, in fact the only place I know to get it is Ooga Booga in LA. Nazi Knife is a French zine that is all zonkers drawing and collage with a punk or psycho edge. It’s perfect bound, and each issue is packed with weirdness. One thing I really like about it is that you can “read” it from front to back, back to front, or even horizontally. Paper quality is high so the colored inks look great. While it is printed professionally, it maintains its integrity as a handmade item like an old Fort Thunder score. There are some recurring artists involved, like Henrik Hegray, who also did a pretty good book for Nieves last year. I am sure there is someplace in New York that carries Nazi Knife but you can also order it direct from the makers.
Heads Collective: H
H from Heads Collective is a periodical from this Italian group who work collaboratively in both commercial and artistic capacities. Each issue is a portfolio of one artist’s work. I flipped through Number 5, by Giovanni Donadini, a.k.a. Canedicoda. There is a little bit of text and a CD folded into the back cover. This is a stapled pamphlet-style endeavor with a Japanese-style horizontal belly-band and a gate-fold back cover. The whole thing looks to be silkscreened. Canedicoda’s issue was all about abstract line drawings layered and roving throughout the spreads, like animated balls of string. Gray, yellow, black, and silver inks make this a spectacular “read.”
The End Is Neat: Half Adder Press
Maybe I didn’t choose the best book for bedtime reading, but I have no regrets. The End Is Neat by Mark McCardle is about an elf-like mini-person who is trapped in Hell. His struggle to escape is the plot of this graphic novel. From what I could suss out, Slor, the elf, slogs through caves that talk, have “buttholes,” and that have maze-like mathematical puzzles teeming in their crevices. Bzor, Hazel, Ivan, and The Sleeper are characters that both give Slor clues for escape or fight to sabotage him. Plot-wise, this feels a bit like CF’s Pow’r Masters, and a tiny bit reminiscent of Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda. Yet Bzor’s plight is more desperately nightmarish than either of those. Stories about Hell are all about the author’s personal vision of Hell, in my opinion. From where in the psyche does McCardle’s Hell originate and what does it say about him? It’s a gripping read. And the line drawings, with loop-de-loops and cross-hatching throughout, feel part Voudoun spell and part Medieval lithograph. I don’t know anything about this artist/author but as a random discovery I was totally satisfied.