Here is a one of a kind item. It is a real challenge to describe just how different it is. Ronald Wimberly has long been a student of Japanese culture and æsthetics – among much else – and has leveraged that experience into this multi-levelled, ultimately unclassifiable work (and that unclassifiability is very much part of its significance). Wimberly has the chops to code switch between a host of stylistic practices both visual and linguistic, encompassing classical Japanese forms and practices, European high culture, American academia (which is represented here by several essays by recognized scholars writing on Wimberly's work that are incorporated into it), and Brooklyn street life, all of which are then transposed on and grounded in a hidden history of New York City involving a 300 year old feud between a family of Japanese shinobi (aka ninja) and Dutch settlers to New York. Taken all together, this creates a mix so outside the norm that it needed a package that would represent this fact.
Gratuitous Ninja – also known in its truncated form of GratNin – is a elegantly (and sturdily) produced (kudos to Beehive Books here) box set of long, folded, vertical concertina scrolls (if there is such a thing; if not, there is now) that read top to bottom, like tategaki (traditional Japanese writing). These scrolls are meant to be read top to bottom, then flipped over and read back from bottom to top, on the other side.
And this is just scratching the surface. We hope to be back to say more, but for right at this moment, we can add that anyone looking for a holiday gift for that know-it-all comics fan in their life who "already has it all" might want to consider this. Unless they supported the Kickstarter for this work, they won't have it. And it's guaranteed to make an impact.
To get a better idea of what's in store, check out an image gallery of Gratuitous Ninja that we posted on Instagram, HERE.
And, we are offering it at a specal lets-start-the-new-year-off-hepper-and-smarter price!