Here's a brief video profile from 2008 which introduces you to Eye of the Majestic Creature creator Leslie Stein. In it she discusses her creative processes and her comics inspirations, including Charles Burns and Peter Bagge (the latter of whom she'll be appearing with in NYC very soon — stay tuned for an announcement). It's part of a series of "video portraits" created by the website Etsy to spotlight artists who use the site to sell their wares — here's Leslie's page where you can buy her self-published comics and artwork.
It should come as little surprise that Leslie Stein, whose debut book Eye of the Majestic Creature premieres at MoCCA Fest next month, is also a musician, seeing as how one of the main characters in the book is a talking anthropomorphic guitar. Leslie's music is featured in the new documentary film Kati with an I — in the trailer posted above, it begins around the 1 minute mark. (Thanks to director Robert Greene for the scoop.)
Eye of the Majestic Creature is a collection of semi-autobiographical and fantasy-based comics that combine dry humor, psychedelia, and emotion to show the viewpoint of one person’s world internally and externally. The story follows a young girl, Larrybear, and her talking acoustic guitar Marshmallow on their adventures through the countryside, Chicago, San Francisco and New York. While Larrybear struggles to connect with strangers, her friends, and her family to various degrees of success, her growing population of anthropomorphic friends have adventures of their own.
Larrybear is in a constant struggle between the desire to connect with those around her and to be left to her own devices. You get a glimpse of her past life when she visits her home town of Chicago, trying to relate to old friends who have not matured since high school, as well as her family (which includes her Hippopotamus father and his harem of ex-wives, two brothers, and Salsa-dancing mom). In the present, she moves to New York to find work for a time, resulting in many hilarious and drunken adventures with her new coworkers at a cell phone decorating shop, and her old friend Boris, who shares with her his P.G. Wodehouse books, as well as his “Incredible Hulk” weed. Drawn in shades of gray using the near-deceased practice of stippling, Stein’s imagery draws you into her world for a complete and engrossing experience.
“Leslie Stein’s comics inhabit a charming and semi-autobiographical (in the most ‘semi’ sense of the word) yet surreal, insular world where her best friend and closest confidant is an acoustic guitar. What’s not to relate to?” — Peter Bagge
“Early in the 20th Century, a beautiful cartoonist, Marcel Duchamp, pretended to be a marginally attractive woman and spent considerable time watching dust accumulate. Early in the 21st Century a beautiful cartoonist, Leslie Stein, pretended to be a funky dweeb and spent considerable time counting sand. Catch my drift?” — Gary Panter