David Chelsea is the sort of cartoonist who can create precise work while also keeping it very fluid. He has mastered his art and he has a wicked sense of humor. Nice combination, don’t you think? If you’re new to his work, you’ll definitely want to check out his new collection that brings together his first six 24-Hour Comics projects. Here’s the deal with these 24-Hour Comics projects, they are just as the name implies, not for the faint of heart: 24 pages of comics within 24 hours.
There is something absurd going on at any given time. It could be a cat climbing a skyscraper in order to deflect a mouse, hired by Donald Trump, to sabotage Harold Lloyd’s efforts to climb to the top of that same skyscraper.
Hmmm, what now? How does that work? How do you get such complexity and absurdity? It’s part magic is what it is. If you follow the rules to a 24-Hour Comics project, as created by comics theoretician Scott McCloud, you can definitely think about what you’d like to do but you can’t script anything beforehand. You can only rely on what’s brewing in your noggin.
What Chelsea does is go in with an idea of what he wants to accomplish and then, throughout the night, he’ll pull out images from out of a sack and use them to guide the story along. So, it could start with a photo of Harold Lloyd.
Then Donald Trump emerges as a villain.
A mouse gets thrown into the mix.
And a cat gets to help save the day.
David Chelsea is modest about “The Harold Project” and describes it as “goofy and insubstantial but no more so than a lot of other things I spent more time on.” Of course, its “insubstantial” quality is what is so beautiful about it, as if out of a dream.
Ironic as it sounds, if there is one thing these sleep-depriving endeavors share, it is a dreamlike quality. Let the tomatoes fight the kangaroos over raspberries! Anything is possible in a 24 Hour Comic. Any takers? Chelsea has been at it to where he’s likely reached an unbeatable status as having achieved the most 24 Hour Comics gigs at 16 and counting.
Nat Gertler, the founder of the annual 24-Hour Comics Day, believes that Chelsea keeps going for the sheer thrill of it. For a cartoonist of Chelsea’s caliber, what could be better than to let loose, like jazz, and float away in a whirlwind of improvisation?
The 24-Hour Comic is the perfect venue for Chelsea to declare that, “Everybody gets it wrong!” and then go about showing up each and everyone one of us for all our wrongness!
EVERYBODY GETS IT WRONG! the first volume of David Chelsea 24-Hour Comics, is a 152-page hardcover, 6″x9″, $14.99, published by Dark Horse Comics and available as of June 5. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics here.
And check out the recent Comics Grinder interview with David Chelsea here.