Thursday, August 11, 2016

Foxing Reprints #16: Oily Comics--Winslow-Yost/Rae-Grant, Burkett

Noise 1-2, by Billy Burkert. These comics contain loosely connected, odd vignettes that start and stop with no warning. The first one, "Stand Up Comics", is about a weirdo's open-mic stand-up routine. Using a series of uncomfortable, off-kilter close-ups with a slightly grainy but cartoony approach, Burkert makes the reader feel the awkwardness of the situation. That awkwardness is not so much from him bombing on stage, but for the sheer weirdness of his approach, like a scene where he starts pulling on his cheek and murmurs "If you could just remove all your flesh.." when doing a bit about summer. Then he segues into a surprisingly smooth follow-up joke, belying what seemed to be a psychotic breakdown or a stroke.

The second story, "Departure Patterns", sees a man in an outdoor labyrinth go through a complicated series of tasks in order to discover what seems to be a magical portal--and then steps through it. Drawings of the portal appear in the third story, where the artist who drew them is slammed by a critic. The artist's apartment accidentally catches on fire, leading to major burns on his body. When he starts to peel of charred flesh from his arms, they clump in interesting and beautiful patterns; he's able to produce enough of them to create another art show and get respect once again. Burkert excels at using body horror elements in the service of comedy while also genuinely exploring the aesthetic virtues of weird found objects and bodily parts. 

Tiger Man #2, by Gabriel Winslow-Yost & Michael Rae-Grant. The team of GWY and MRG specializes in highly stylized updates of public domain superheroes from comics' Golden Age. This time around, it's Tiger Man who gets the treatment, with a narrative that ruminates on his origins ("I got some Tiger Blood, so I bought a Tiger Car") and motivations ("I believe in action, I believe in love"). The actual imagery is angular, frenetic and visually disorienting. There are huge swaths of zip-a-tone of various grades, grey-scaling and distorted, grotesque figures. There's a pleasing geometry to these comics, as many figures resolve as circles, triangles and squares, but GWY and MRG also create a frenetic sense of motion. This is all done deadpan, with humor generated by the tensions between concept, narrative and images. 

No comments:

Post a Comment