WHERE IS DELPHINE?!? Where can she be, this lovely object of our nameless traveler’s affection — or, perhaps, obsession? Since stepping off the train into Delphine’s hometown — surrounded on all sides by a deep black forest — the traveler has found nothing but trouble. It seems the townsfolk aren’t satisfied with simply being unhelpful — they are openly hostile and may even, for reasons he can’t understand, want to kill him. Perhaps our poor prince charming was hoping for a fairy tale romance, in which case, although he did get the fairy tale, along with its witches and wicked stepmothers and haunted forests and evil spells, he may find that not all fairy tales end with "happily ever after." In this penultimate issue of the four-part series, our traveler makes a startling discovery and faces a new horror that drives him to the brink of absolute madness.
Abandoned Cars is Tim Lane’s first collection of graphic short stories, noir-ish narratives that are united by their exploration of the great American mythological drama by way of the desperate and haunted characters that populate its pages. Lane’s characters exist on the margins of society—alienated, floating in the void between hope and despair, confused but introspective. Some of them are experiencing the aftermath of an existential car crash—those surreal moments after a car accident, when time slows down and you’re trying to determine what just happened and how badly you’re hurt. Others have gone off the deep end, or were never anywhere but the deep end. Some are ridiculous, others dignified in their efforts to struggle to make sense of, and cope with, the absurdities, outrages, ghosts, and poisons in their lives.
The writing is straightforward, the stories mainstream but told in a pulpy idiom with an existential edge, often in the first person, reminiscent of David Goodis’s or Jim Thompson’s prose or of films like Pick-Up on South Street or Out of the Past. Visually, Lane’s drawing is in a realistic mode, reminiscent of Charles Burns, that heightens the tension in stories that veer between naturalism on the one hand and the comical, nightmarish, and hallucinatory on the other. Here, American culture is a thrift store and the characters are thrift store junkies living among the clutter. It’s an America depicted as a subdued and haunted Coney Island, made up of lost characters—boozing, brawling, haplessly shooting themselves in the face, and hopping freight trains in search of Elvis.
Abandoned Cars is an impressive debut of a major young American cartoonist.
BLAB!: A Retrospective opens August 1, 2008 at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art on the campus of Kansas State University. The exhibition, organized by the Beach Museum of Art, will be on view through November 2, 2008. It is the first American museum exhibition devoted to the work of BLAB!, Monte Beauchamp's periodic anthology of sequential and comic art, illustration, painting, and printmaking. The exhibition, which focuses on BLAB! #8-18 (1995-2007), features the work of forty-six artists and includes 150 works of art from thirty-nine collections. All of the work in the exhibition has appeared in BLAB!.
Artists in the exhibition: Michael Bartalos, Gary Baseman, Richard Beards, Tim Biskup, Stéphane Blanquet, Calef Brown, Greg Clarke, The Clayton Brothers, Sue Coe, Don Colley, Brian Cronin, Nicolas Debon, Douglas Fraser, Charles Paul Freund, Drew Friedman, Geoffrey Grahn, Steven Guarnaccia, Ryan Heshka, Peter Hoey, Tom Huck, Teresa James, Jeffrey Kamberos, Nora Krug, Peter Kuper, Mark Landman, Laura Levine, MATS!? [Mats Stromberg], Walter Minus, Christian Northeast, John Pound, Archer Prewitt, Chris Pyle, Helge Reumann, Xavier Robel, Jonathon Rosen, Marc Rosenthal, Sergio Ruzzier, David Sandlin, Spain, Bob Staake, Fred Stonehouse, Mark Todd, Chris Ware, and Esther Pearl Watson.
The accompanying 128-page, full-color catalogue was designed by Monte Beauchamp and contains contributions by David A. Beronä, Mark Frauenfelder, Matt Dukes Jordan, and Bill North.
For more information, contact:
Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art Kansas State University 701 Beach Lane (14th & Anderson Ave.) Manhattan, KS 66506 • 785-532-7718
Personal highlights: - Best Costume: the guy wearing a Green Lantern jersey with a Devo energy dome. - Best Celebrity Sighting at the Booth: Tom ("Spongebob") Kenny. I'm told that Tom Lennon and Ben Garant of Reno 911 also shopped, but I missed them. - Best Shopping Find: Jim Woodring's Pupshaw & Pushpaw book at the Picturebox table. - Best After-Hours Activity: there were several, but the winner is Friday night Chinese food and The X-Files movie (blast the critics, it's frickin' great). - Favorite Addition to the Yoda-Themed Con Sketchbook: all of them, but maybe especially Mary Woodring's (stay tuned for scans). - Biggest Disappointment: forgetting to ask for a Yoda sketch from Natalia Hernandez (who was wearing a Yoda backpack for crying out loud). Runner-up: wasting time in a hopeless line for the Venture Bros. panel. - Best Suggested Name for a Theoretical Off-Site "Alternative" Comic-Con: "Fuckin' C'mon-i-Con," suggested by our own Ajax Wood.
Big thanks to all of our lovely and wonderful artists who turned out (not to mention their lovely and wonderful families); bigger thanks to our hard-working, ass-kicking staff (Kim, Gary, Ajax, Kristy, Janice, Jason, and Zuniga at the Con, plus everyone back home, especially Eric, who still did all the heavy-lifting prep work); and biggest thanks to all the comics-loving fans, customers, and looky-lous who stopped by our booth. (Apologies if I'm forgetting anything or anybody — my brain overfloweth.) We're already looking forward to next year.
Here's a selected handful of photos; head here for 42 more (plus whatever we add over the next few days).