The Ganzfeld No. 4: Art History? Two years in the making, the latest issue of the Ganzfeld is finally on our shelves! It starts out with a wraparound cover and end papers by the high priestess of Canadian comics, Julie Doucet, and doesn't let up . After the lead off introductions by editor, Dan Nadel and artist extraordinaire, Peter Blegvad, the book is divided up into four sections of approximately equal length. In the first, Art History, you'll discover a lot that you hadn't known that you needed to know but will be glad to learn, including the secret history of the enigmatic cover art for Led Zeppelin's Presence that's always been a nagging question mark lurking in a back alley of your consciousness ever since you first saw it back in 1976. Next up is Drawings, by the recognized hepsters Gary Panter and Mark Newgarden, as well as others whose art you are far less likely to have previously come into contact with... but now will! "Artists on Art" is an intriguing, highly engaging and fairly unique feature which presents artists on art in art: David Sandlin's 18-page, lushly colored piece on H.C. Westermann is a tour de force of admiration, while Marc Bell's Ph.D.-thesis-in-comics-form provides a fresh, delightful and direct access to the work of Philip Guston that will be much appreciated by many. And then, finally, there's the Comics. This section starts off, semi-miraculously, with a six-page walking tour of Pittsburgh, both real and dreamed -- as a place on the map and as a state of mind -- by peripatetic former resident, Frank Santoro, and continues with fine work by Paper Rad, Leif Goldberg, Ted Stearn, Matthew Thurber, Jim Drain, Mark Newgarden, and a wild and wooly journey to the center of the mind by "C.F." The centerpiece is the amazing 22-page, "Ganmodoki," a piece from the late, surrealist period of Japanese manga legend, Shigeru Sugiura. And there you have it. Don't miss this one! Amazingly, still in stock here at The Copacetic Comics Co.
What we have here is a highly personal and engagingly idiosyncratic manga take on the early 19th century novel of frontier America by James Fenimore Cooper. It includes a thirty-six page, in-depth, illustrated essay by Holmberg, "Shigeru Sugiura and his Mohicans." This heavily researched essay provides an overview of Sugiura's career in general as well as an in-depth look his creation of Mohicans in particular. There is also a four page essay by Sugiura on his relationship with silent movies. As Holmberg's essay makes clear, this 1974 work bears little similarity to the novel it purports to adapt. It seems possible that Sigiura never even read Cooper's book. This could be construed as one of the book's virtue's as it allows readers to participate in a series of manga riffs of Japanese consciousness free-associating on American myths as mediated by the American popular culture through which these myths were propagated in Japan.
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