Scott Finch is an artist exploring an existential terrain in his paintings and comics. You can read my review of his new book here. This is an exciting time with the new book available in print as well as being serialized over at our friends at Solrad. In this interview, we discuss his latest book, a graphic novel, that is a mashup of end time fables and a satire on consumer culture. What immediately follows are some additional notes on this new book, The Domesticated Afterlife, proceeded by a transcript to our conversation. You can also view a video podcast of the interview.
Tag Archives: Myth
Who knew that ancient Egyptian (3000 BCE – 30 BC) mythology could be so much fun? Well, a very creative and funny guy named Hamish Steele sure does. Read his take on these creation tales in his new graphic novel, “Pantheon: The True Story of The Egyptian Deities,” published by Nobrow Press. It is always a pleasure to review a book by Nobrow as they consistently bring out books that will appeal to a wide readership. This book I peg at ages 13 and up. A tongue-in-cheek blurb on the back provides a friendly warning. It states that this book contains depictions of “incest, decapitation, suspicious salad, fighting hippos, lots of scorpions, and a golden willy.” So, keep that in mind.
Steele has created a “disruptive” comic interpretation of Egyptian mtyhology. It is as if he picked the brains of countless students who have had to slog through arcane history and literature and given them exactly what they wanted. How about The Canterbury Tales as told by Borat? The original is “bawdy” but still a bit distant. There is no harm in making it more accessible. In fact, the great Seymour Chwast gave us his take on The Canterbury Tales a few years ago and brings things to life in way that only the comics medium can do. What Steele does is follow the pantheon of gods and pharaohs as they attempt to rule over ancient Egypt, warts and all.
Take, for example, just how badly things go when a god is insecure. Ra, the sun god, senses that he has outworn his welcome among humans. So, what does he do? He turns his one and only duaghter, Hathor, into fury itself, hell-bent on killing humans. Not the best solution to a problem. Steele plays that up with sly wit. Of course, things get far more complicated once Ra drops off a few gods to fight over who will rule over humans as pharaoh. Gods being gods, nothing is beneath them. And here, Steele runs with it.
With an appealing style, Steele infuses these tales of gods and mortals with a zesty contemporary vibe. Steele’s approach is uninhibited, playful, and spot on. This would be a welcome addition in a high school or college classroom.
“Pantheon: The True Story of The Egyptian Deities” is a 216 page full-color trade paperback, available as of September 15, 2017. For more details, and how to purchase, visit Nobrow Press right here. You can also find this book by visiting Amazon right here.
Alright, talk about follow-through, I completed my 24-Hour Comics Day marathon at the start of the month and here I am presenting the printed result, HELLO HELLO HOTEL HOTEL, at none other than the Short Run Comix & Arts Festival at the end of the month, yeah, and it’s even Halloween!
The Fremont Troll is one of the most celebrated of stone people. If you listen closely, you can learn from stone people. In this comic, we explore what transpires when the Troll takes on human form.
Short Run Comix & Arts Festival takes place this Halloween: Saturday, October 31, in Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center from 11 am to 6 pm.
For more details, be sure to visit our friends at Short Run right here.
Scottish warriors knew no limits. They would fight to the death, even beyond death, if possible. Scotland has a fierce and passionate history. But, in all this time, it has never had its own superhero. Welcome to Scotland’s first superhero, Saltire. As its creator, John Ferguson states, this is a hero that can embrace both Scotland’s forgotten past and bright future. Here is another comic you will find at Glasgow Comic Con this weekend. Let’s take a look.
The first thing to know about the Monkey King is that he is not exactly a hero. He is and he isn’t. He’s not exactly likable either. Basically, he represents just about everything you should not do if you were in a position of power. And he is quite literally willing to do anything to keep himself amused and one step ahead of any authority that would dare stop him. How did this Monkey King become such a stinker? Well, that’s quite a story. In fact, it’s pretty involved, part of a set of stories, based upon a work from 16th century China, Wu Cheng’en’s “Journey to the West.” Thanks to JR Comics, these stories can now be shared as high-quality comics with a Western audience.
What Isabel Greenberg does with her debut graphic novel, “The Encyclopedia of Early Earth,” is tap into the joy and spirit of storytelling. She does this with a good-hearted determination and a well-reasoned integrity. You don’t get the sense that she’s out to conquer the world of comics as much as you feel that this is someone who has a bunch of stories she’d like to share. It’s no small feat to inspire this good feeling for the reader. And she does it leaving you wanting more.
Stories. Stories. And more stories. That is what you will find here. The unifying theme, or perhaps just a jumping off point, is the search to better understand a most enigmatic couple of young lovers. We know next to nothing about them, not even their names. All we really know is that they’re from opposite ends of the poles, he north, she south, and that a strange force keeps them from actually touching. Greenberg couldn’t give a fig about their individual backgrounds and there’s no need for that. Will you know these two any better if you were to have proper names, family trees, and extensive profiles? No, all of that can get in the way. As counterintuitve as it may seem to nix such details, it’s all for the sake of…the story. In fact, if you need a name for our main character, you can just call him The Storyteller.
These two have concluded they are soulmates. But what about the fact they can’t actually touch due to this electromagnetic force field between them? Well, that’s where some stories can help make sense of it all. Our storyteller recounts to his true love the journey he’s been on. And so our young man begins with a fantastical origin story for himself. As a baby, he was found by three sisters who all wanted to be his mother. Therefore, a medicine man cast a spell and split the infant into three separate selves. But the process was slightly uneven and a little tiny piece of the infant’s soul flew away. Later, when the boy comes of age, all three selves become one again, except for that missing piece of soul still at large. Ah, those are the sort of details that Greenberg is into and all the better for it.
Greenberg’s artwork is very inviting. She makes very good use of her influences, particularly David B, and produces her own exuberant, youthful, and distinctive style. Her stories and art revel in irreverence, whimsy, and a touch of subversion. While this book is pretty suitable for all ages, there is a good dose of existential rumination that will appeal to teen and adult readers.
This book is not about those star-crossed lovers we began with, really. It’s about them but it’s far more, as the title implies, an exploration of Early Earth. And, more to point, this is a good old-fashioned book about the meaning of life, as expressed through myth. Greenberg touches upon as much myth and legend as she possibly can. She has created a dazzling collection of stories that will recall various cultures, beliefs, and forms of entertainment. And it’s all coming to you with a contemporary vibe that may call up for you everything from “Adventure Time” to “Game of Thrones.”