“Cerebus Valentines for That Special Void in Your Life”

Courtesy of the ingenious Comics Alliance blog comes a fairly obscure in-joke that will have comics geeks rolling on the floor laughing– a series of Dave Sim-satirizing Valentine’s Day cards:

“Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and for all you gentlemen out there with a special lady in your life, there can be a lot of pressure to tell her exactly how you feel — or at least to find a Valentine’s Day card that says it for you.”

“Well, when we here at ComicsAlliance think of romance in comics, only one name comes to mind: Dave Sim. With that in mind, we’ve created a series of Valentines based on Sim’s legendary indie comic Cerebus and the many insights into women and relationships that he offered in the long-running series about a sword-fighting aardvark. You’re welcome to download them and send them to your special someone — we think they’ll have the ladies swooning!”

For those of you who are going “BUHHH?”, here’s some context: the only thing potentially more legendary than the artistry Dave Sim displayed in his Cerebus series is the mental, misogynist ranting he’d often print in its back pages. He’s basically the brilliant, fulminating Eminem of self-published comics (only it seems like he takes himself a lot more seriously than Marshall Mathers). You gotta love him… at arm’s length. Especially if you have a vagina. There’s only so much pure, blinding Male Light a gal can take!

More cards here.

Suzanne Wurzeltod is Plotting Something Wondrous

“Alien Faced People of the World Unite!” by Suzanne Gerber.

The marvelous, nurse oft-mentioned curator/creator/writer Suzanne Gerber recently posted something on her main site, Wurzeltod.ch, that should catch the attention of artistic East Londoners:

I recently came to the conclusion that it’s about time for me to get my own little space for art and exhibitions. I know this is not going to happen from one day to another and I’m also fully aware of all the competition around and the dire economic times, but heck, this is as good or bad as any time to start a business when you put a mind as determined as mine to it and if I never try, I will never know.

I have been wanting to get a shop/show room for a long time now and I know that I’m not the only one with such grand hopes but zero cash. So here I am, asking you, fellow (preferably East) London creative/artist/designer/utopian to join forces with me and share a space for creative endeavours with me. I’m looking particularly (but not exclusively) for:

  • An artist in need of a studio
  • A (fashion) designer in need of a shop space
  • A creative hairdresser in need of a salon
  • An (art) book/mag/graphic novel nerd/collector in need of a book shop
  • A restaurateur in need of a small café
  • A combination of the above
  • Someone who already owns a space with a creative direction and wants to rent parts of it out

So if you’re any of the above or know of someone who is and if you have been wanting to have a space of your own for a while and are committed, trustworthy, hardworking and willing to make human sacrifices, please do get in touch so that we can discuss everything over a few cups of hazelnut soy latte.

Best of luck, lovely lady. Break limbs and hearts and piggy banks, whatever it takes! Hoping to hear a lot more about this in the coming months.

Jane Quiet, Occult Detective

Much as her name would suggest, Jane Quiet is a woman of few words.

…none at all, to be exact.

But in all truthfulness, and surely most would agree, words completely fail to do justice to scenes such as the one depicted above!

I stumbled across Jane Quiet, Occult Investigator quite by accident, whilst conducting a bit of research on the internet; to further elaborate, it was a serendipitous miss-spelling of Dennis Wheatley which led me directly into her path. Heralded as a “Denise Wheatley,” Jane Quiet is the co-creation/collaboration which crept from the minds of author K.A. Laity (Unikirja) and artist Elena Steier (Revenge of the Vampire Bed and Breakfast, Goth Scouts). The comic “presents the adventures of occult investigator Dr. Jane Quiet who uses her practical knowledge and esoteric studies to uncover the sources of paranormal disturbances.” If that is not compelling enough, this author whose writing has been praised by Clive Barker as “full of fluent style and poetic dialogue” has added the twist of an entirely silent comic.

From the author’s website :

“I think it was Elena’s idea to riff on John Silence, the psychic investigator created by Algernon Blackwood, master of the weird tale, about a hundred years ago. John Silence was rich doctor, skilled in weird science and keen to explore occult phenomena. It was an idea ripe for reinvigoration.”

If you are curious as to how one goes about writing a story with no dialogue, inquiries and subsequent replies can be found in a snippet below.

Coilhouse And how did you find the find the process of “writing” a silent comic?

K.A. Laity: Thank you — it was hard as HELL to write! You can see the script online: http://www.kalaity.com/jq1.pdf. I think it was just an off-hand remark, “hey, we could make it a silent comic, wouldn’t that be appropriate!” then when I started writing it, I cursed myself endlessly for having the idea. There was a lot of back and forth while Elena was drawing – partly because she always has lots of projects going on, but also because she would say “you can’t do all this in one panel” and either draw what she thought would work or ask me to work it out more carefully. It’s great discipline. I’m glad Elena is so patient and flexible. The anxiety of collaborating with friends is fearing that it will affect your relationship if things go badly. I really had to let go of control and find joy in the unexpected frisson that would occur. A lot of it is about leaving a looseness for the other person to do what they do best. The first drafts weren’t quite Moore-like, but they were far too specific. I learned to focus on what had to happen and the tone, and let Elena produce her magic.

Issue 04, Materialized!

FINALLY. Issue #04 of Coilhouse has taken corporeal form.

It’s haunted, you know. Or maybe it’s possessed. Or it could be we’ve got a grimoire on our hands.

All we know is, at some point during our editorial process—which normally involves very little cauldron-stirring or eye of newt, despite whatever “coven” rumors you may have heard—#04 took on a life of its own, and has since become a small, seething portal of the uncanny. It’s all a bit magic-with-a-k. We may giggle and wink (“O R’LYEH? IA, R’LYEH!”), but that doesn’t change the fact that these pages are spellbound. You will read of channeling and scrying, of shades and shamans, and phantoms both fabricated and inexplicable. You will meet reluctant oracles, occultists, and ghosts from the past.

Issue 04 is now available in our shop. For a limited time, you can purchase Issues 03 + 04 together for a discount price of $23! Click here to buy. Without further ado, the contents of Issue 04, below:

This issue’s Inform/Inspire/Infect section headers, crafted by Zoetica, are all about communing with animal spirits. Below: the INFORM header, titled Stork Whispers. The section header below also contains almost all the design motifs that creative director Courtney Riot conjured throughout the issue: smoke, burn holes, aged paper and tattered lace.

The Tarnished Beauties of Blackwell, Oklahoma
In mid 2008, we were captivated by the imagery Meredith Yayanos shared in a post describing her visit to an obscure, careworn prairie museum in a small Oklahoma town. More recently, Coilhouse enlisted one of our wonderful readers, Joseph A. Holsten, to return to The White Pavilion, where he archived dozens of high res portraits of long-grown, long-dead children of pioneer America. They are reproduced here in an extended version of the original Blackwell photo essay.

Bernd Preiml’s Exquisite Apparitions
Bernd Preiml’s photographs describe a world filled with magic and mystery, often coupled with a disconcerting sense that sinister forces may be lurking. Through his dark and shining visions, he weaves haunting tales that encompass violence as well as transcendence, beauty as well as wrath. Interview by longtime Coilhouse co-conspirator, Jessica Joslin.

Children by the Millions Wait For Alex Chilton: A Fractured Memoir of the Counterculture
Joshua Ellis returns to Coilhouse with a whip-smart personal essay examining his experience with alternative culture. Beginning with an endearing description of adolescent initiation-by-music and ranting its way into present day’s monoculture, “Children by the Millions” is an incisive evaluation of the death of societal revolution in our “been there, done that” world. Josh draws parallels between counterculture and ancient mysticism, while eloquently articulating a premise that’s been gestating in all of our minds since we first started discussing the living death of alt culture here on Coilhouse.

Calaveras de Azucar
Courtesy of photographer Gayla Partridge comes this toothsome autumnal fashion editorial inspired by el Día de los Muertos, with a corresponding overview by Mer on the festival’s historical and cultural significance.

Hauntings: The Science of Ghosts
Earlier this year, our Manchester-based correspondent Mark Powell traveled to a “Science of Ghosts” conference in Edinburgh hosted by esteemed psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman and other leading experts. Mark shares what he learned about the history, pathology (and quackery) of hauntings and spiritualism. With fetching spirit photos, daguerrotypes, and other vintage ephemera provided by archivists Jack & Beverly Wilgus.

Frog Prince

Kris Kuksi: Sculpting the Infinite
A substantial editorial featuring meticulous, hyper-detailed monuments to destruction sculpted by Missouri-born artist Kris Kuksi. In the coming days we’ll be posting an exclusive interview with Kris where he shares his thoughts on time, fixing humanity, and what might lie ahead. Introduction and interview by Ales Kot.

Still In The Cards: Alejandro Jodorowsky on King Shot, Comic Books and the Tarot De Marseilles
An informative, zany dialogue with one of modern cinema’s most iconoclastic masterminds, Alejandro Jodorowsky. The filmmaker who brought us The Holy Mountain, El Topo, and Santa Sangre speaks candidly about his past, present and future… as well as the roles that tarot, spirituality and comics have led in his more recent life. Article by Mark Powell.

Through the Mirror into the Forest: Kristamas Klousch
Our stunning cover girl’s self-portraiture explores a dark, kaleidoscopic array of facets; Kristamas is at once wild forest creature, fetish vixen, tousled witch, Lolita, courtesan, silent movie vamp and Voodoo priestess. Her ethereal photos race to capture each incarnation, just before the next comes out to play. Introduction by staffer Tanya Virodova.

Grant Morrison: Embracing the Apocalypse
Groundbreaking comic book writer Grant Morrison blows our minds with a massive ten-page interview that will gently squeeze your reality’s underbelly until you’re ready to take the future seriously. Grant sat down with Zoetica Ebb and Ales Kot for a three-hour talk covering everything from superheroes and interdimentional parasites to personal transformation and 2012. Featuring new portraits of Grant and his wife, Kristan, by Allan Amato.

Larkin Grimm: Advanced Shapeshifter
In a time when our culture seems to openly scorn –but secretly craves– magic, the musician Larkin Grimm is an unashamed and forthright power to be reckoned with. Interview by Coilhouse collaborator Angeliska Polacheck, as well as a review of the Musicka Mystica Maxima Festival curated by Grimm in NYC last fall.

Snake Charmer

Brave Old World
A  collaboration between Chad Michael Ward and  Bad Charlotte, this editorial takes the gorgeous model out of time and space, into a gauzy netherworld. With wardrobe by Mother of London.

CB I Hate Perfume: The Story of an Olfactory Architect
Christopher Brosius has been called “The Willy Wonka of Perfume” and is renowned for his eccentricity and passionate standpoint when it comes to both the art and the industry of scent-building. An intimate and inspiring interview about his work and philosophy, conducted by Angeliska.

Print to Fit: Mavens of Meatcake
What self-respecting, spellbound witchy-pooh magazine would be complete without paper dolls by Dame Darcy?! Featuring beloved characters from the darling Dame’s legendary long-running comic book, Meatcake.

(Belated) BTC: Yep, Douglas Wolk is Still Totally Rad

Have you guys been keeping track of Ignite? Such an invigorating concept: give a sharp-minded, silver-tongued, unabashedly geeky speaker five minutes on stage to present a “speedy presentation” on a topic of their choosing.  Said speaker gets 20 slides which rotate automatically after 15 seconds. “Enlighten us, but make it quick” is the motto.

In the three years since Ignite was founded in Seattle (by Brady Forrest and Bre Pettis), hundreds of these speedy presentations have been given. Ignite communities are cropping up in major cities worldwide. Earlier this year, the lovely Zoe Keating gave a chat titled “Should You Quit Your Day Job and Join a Rock Band?” at an Ignite event in Sebastopol. Just last week, Coilhouse’s favorite Eisner Award-winning culture journalist, Douglas Wolk, dropped this bomb on an appreciative audience in Portland:

Click Wolverine to watch the video.

His talk, titled “Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgement: Drastically Condensed Awesome Version“, is illustrated with a dazzling array of comic book panels. It is 100% pure Douglas, and 100% pure BADASSTICAL. Enjoy.

Help “Escape From Dullsville” Escape Obscurity!

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.

You need to look at Andy’s art at higher res to even begin to comprehend how insanely awesome it is. Click here, here, here and here for larger jpegs.

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.

Tony Millionaire in “Fun With God”

Whether it’s jet-lag delirium, an abiding love for handcranked slapstick comedy, an abiding love for my homeland’s Rayban-wearing forefathers, or an abiding love for Tony Millionaire that has sent me over the edge, this is making me die:

By the way, The Art of Tony Millionaire is coming out on Sept 2nd. A most beautiful and long overdue collection of gorgeous, fanciful and hilarious art. Geddit.

What Scarlett Wants, Scarlett Gets

Scarlett Take Manhattan, Molly Crabapple‘s first foray into a full-fledged graphic novel, is out in just two days and is sure to make readers giggle with delight. It’s an audacious prequel to Backstage – a webcomic about seedy vaudevillian adventures set in Victorian New York. And what better way to get the party started than with a bang. A most literal bang, at that – we enter Scarlett’s world as she’s whispering her life story into a beau’s ear while making love. Entirely appropriate for a tale of a woman making her way to the top in a brutal city known for eating its residents alive.

Scarlett Takes Manhattan is a visual delicacy, with detail bursting from every page like yet another fresh-popped bottle of champagne. Molly’s florid style blends with John Leavitt’s writing to reveal 1880s New York’s fleshy underbelly. We peek behind closed doors, over corrupt politician’s shoulders and under ruffled skirts as Leavitt and Crabapple show an uninhibited girl of humble beginnings traipse through manual labor and sex work to become queen of Vaudeville. Sex is celebrated, morality is, surprisingly, maintained and show business gets a new star when the smoke clears.

And now, a special treat our readers!  Scarlett Takes Manhattan is peppered with charming Victorian slang. Post your favorite Victorian euphemism in the comments – the sauciest will win a copy of Scarlett autographed by Molly Crabapple.

[Note from the editor: we have a winner! Random Tangent’s reply caught miss Molly’s eye, here it is:

I find ‘buttered bun’ to be much more preferable to ’sloppy seconds’ or ‘cream pie’.

But what kind of brute would refer to a woman’s commodity as ‘crinkum krankum’? That’s messed up.

So if you’re putting Nebuchadnezzar out to grass with a real dirty puzzle, you best mind that you don’t end up having a buttered bun. That dollymop will give you a nasty flap dragon. Once you’ve got a nasty shanker you’d better spend some time in the lock hospital before you knock another botail. It’s not good to go spreading the French disease.

Congratulations and enjoy your signed copy of Scarlett Takes Manhattan!]

Click the jump for two previews of pages from the book, one of them decidedly NOT Safe For Work.

Behold The Harvest

Deep down we all knew this; didn’t we? We all had our suspicions. How else could we reconcile the putrid taste of that colorless powder, requiring as it did pounds of sugar in order to dispel that fetid flavor which so offended the palate, and transform it into the toothsome elixir so beloved by children? A flavor which we can now pin upon the lingering stench of death.

More important queries, however, concern the Man itself. Whatever qualms we may have had in reference to its violent behavior, its insatiable need for destruction, are finally confirmed. “There is no reason,” we said to ourselves, “that someone should constantly smash through walls if their intentions are pure.”

Now all those questions and concerns have been answered. Now, thanks to Jon Vermilyea, we can say with absolute certainty that we were right. Now we can say that Kool-Aid is people.

Coilhouse Coming Up For Air

Good afternoon, Coilhaüsers! This post is to inform you of three things:

  1. We’ve finished printing the T-Shirts, and we’ll begin mailing them out tomorrow. They came out lovely; thank you again to everyone who ordered.
  2. Issue 03 is progressing, but we’re still in lockdown. We’ll probably come out of it soon, start posting again, and go into lockdown about a month from now again. Or something like that. The process for putting together 03 is slightly different from how we’ve done it in the past, so we’ll see how it goes.
  3. The beginning of this week’s been too hectic to even post the next installment in the series of Agent Double Oh No interviews that we’ve been running. To fight off the tumbleweeds that threaten to start rolling over this blog, I am posting this image. I have no idea who made it; the site that it comes from is all-Japanese. Anyone who can identify the artwork here gets a free box of thrift store douche. Found via Audrey Kawasaki’s ffffound, which you can get lost in for hours.

We’ll be back soon. We miss you. Mwah!