Many of you will recall our Issue 02 interview with Andy Ristaino, a brilliant comics artist/writer based in San Francisco. His visual style is extremely dense, textural and multi-layered, drawing inspiration from Japanese manga and ’60s head shop comix. Both the art and the text are rife with secret codes, cross-referenced visual puns, and painfully funny non-sequiturs. At times, the inked pages look almost like bas relief, or woodcut sculpture.
Detail of the cover art for Escape From Dullsville by Andy Ristaino.
It’s challenging, kaleidoscopic work– certainly not “skimmable”. As Andy would put it, his comics just aren’t the kind of thing you pick up and read in a matter of minutes, then never look at again. “So much time and effort goes into making comic books, but for the most part, they’re still a disposable medium. [I have always wanted] to create books where you couldn’t just skip ahead and read the last panel to find out what happens.” (Mission accomplished. I’ve read his oversized graphic novel The Babysitter three times now, and I’m still discovering delightful new details.)
When I first met Andy well over a decade ago, he was hard at work on a demented, epic title for SLG Comics called Life of a Fetus. The premise:
A claustrophobic fetus grows tired of its surroundings and decides to make an early exit, setting an avalanche of bizarre happenings in motion. Soon the fetus becomes embroiled in the plots and schemes of the likes of little green men, mad scientist puppets, government cover-ups, jet-packed babysitters, strange cults, anarchists, beatniks, psychotic magicians, truckers, and crazy mothers, as it goes on the most wigged-out of road trips through the good ol’ U.S. of A.
About a week ago, he finally finished the 288 page book collecting all 7 issues of L.O.A.F. The collection, titled “Escape from Dullsville” also contains over 80 pages of new material, including the previously unpublished L.O.A.F. #8. Unfortunately, pre-orders have not been high enough for SLG to justify printing the book. (That can’t have been an easy decision for a publisher so dedicated to supporting industry underdogs.) Unless Andy can raise enough pre-order sales quickly it may never be printed. That, my friends, would be a crying fucking shame. To say the least.
Andy’s hoping to get everyone who would normally buy the book when it came out to preorder it from Amazon ASAP. (For less than 14 bucks! 6 dollars less than the official cover price). If SLG receives enough pre-order sales, the book will be printed. Folks who go through Amazon will not be charged until the book is shipped. Even more amazingly, Andy is offering a personalized original sketch of one of his book’s characters to anyone who emails him a photo of themselves holding the book when it comes out. He’s taking requests, even.
I just ordered two copies.