Biology, folklore, science fiction, mystery, and slacker culture blend seamlessly in The Heavy Hand the first graphic novel from Chris Cilla, an artist known for his contributions to Kramers Ergot and Paper Rodeo. The loose narrative follows Alvin Crabshank as he seeks out an eccentric, cave-dwelling professor for employment and drifts through a series of dreamlike vignettes. Mundane scenes of everyday life are mixed with fantastic sci-fi imagery in a manner that somehow makes perfect sense in Cilla's world, a cartoony pastiche that recalls the work of Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Robert Crumb, and David Sandlin. Weirdness boiled down to its gooey comics essence; a superb debut.
<<•>> curated by Tom Neely <<•>> This compendium of 71 single-panel gag cartoons from the world of independent comics is a genuine goldmine of unique comics work. Who's in this comical compendium? Well, hold on to your hats for this partial list: Andrice Arp, Marc Bell, Chris Cilla, Michael DeForge, Kim Deitch, Theo Ellsworth, Robert Goodin, Juliacks, Kaz, Anders Nilsen, Jason Overby, John Porcellino (whose lead-off contribution had us wondering if perhaps he hadn't missed his calling as a New Yorker cartoonist), Jesse Reklaw, Zak Sally, Josh Simmons, Matthew Thurber, Noah Van Sciver, Dylan Williams, Chris Wright and more!!! In full color and black & white. Anyone who misses out on this will be kicking themselves for years to come. Don't let yourself be one of them!
edited by Zack Soto Anyone on the prowl for a new comics anthology to sink their teeth into since the demise of MOME is sure to be pleased by the promising first issue of Study Group Magazine currently beckoning from the Copacetic central display table. Rising from the fertile loam of the Portland, OR comics scene, it is edited and published by Zack Soto and features some delectable work from some of the freshest talents chosen from among the current crop of comics creators, including Malachi Ward, Aidan Koch, Michael DeForge, Chris Cilla and cover artist, Eleanor Davis, who is also the subject of an interview and who provides a nice transition for MOME readers, as her story was one of the highlights of MOME's last issue. Study Group Magazine's format is a tall vertical format (8 1/2" x 12") printed in deep sepia against a light purple and deep yellow duo-tone color scheme that reminds us somewhat of the NoBrow aesthetic. A highlight of this issue is an excellent, in-depth, heavily illustrated – with character studies, thumbnails, layouts, and finished pages – 17 page interview cum essay with Craig Thompson conducted and assembled by Milo George that focuses on his approaches to making comics in general and the creation of Habibi in specific, as well as providing valuable insight into his career and development as an artist. In addition, there is an appreciation of European comics wunderkind Brecht Evens by Greice Schneider that provides some food for thought. Did we mention that it is a numbered addition of 1000 copies? that DeForge's contribution is an instant cartoon classic that will burrow deep within your subconscious mind and take up residence? All in all an auspicious debut.
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