Avenge Free Comic Book Day

Poison Thrower - by James Stokoe

With The Avengers movie coming out next weekend, it’s a good time for a funny-book in tights extravaganza! I’ve already written about the Ultimates, but if you’re looking for a good Avengers story, that is a good place to start (even if, in that story, the super-hero team goes by a different name).

Also, another Free Comic Book Day is coming up fast on May 5th, so I think it’s a good time to post some books that I’ve enjoyed over this last year… even though they won’t necessarily be free, they are worth checking out. In comics, just like in everything else, there is a lot of garbage out there. But I think what I’ve listed below are some real gems.

Orc Stain
Orc Stain is such a great book, with beautiful and intricate artwork, and a story and world that draws you in from the beginning. All about a rampaging horde, controlled by the Orc Tzar. The main character, a scrawny one-eyed thief who can find the weak point of anything, is a treasure hunter destined to destroy the barbarian society. Not for kids though, especially since the characters are very focused on cutting off other’s “Gronchs” and using it as currency. Written and illustrated by James Stokoe.

Rachel Rising
The story starts with an undead Rachel digging herself out of a shallow grave with no memory of how she got there. She goes and visits with her old friends, trying to figure out what happened to her, and the story just keeps getting weirder and weirder. This comic is written and illustrated by the great Terry Moore.

Sixth Gun
Oh man, this is such a great series. Goes something like this: During the Civil War there were sig guns with all sorts of supernatural powers. The book focuses on a girl who inherits one of those guns from her father. She begins to see vision, and one of the guns previous owners hunts her down to retrieve his old gun so he will have possession of them all. Written by Collen Bunn, and illustrated by Brian Hurt, art and story are solid all the way through.

This series is definitely not for everybody, but I finally got around to reading it this year and loved it. If you like weird alternate Gnostic dimensions of time and the imagination then this series might be for you too! Writer Grant Morrison can be hit or miss for me, but when he is on, he is one of the best storytellers around. And he is at his weirdest and best in this series.

Weathercraft & Congress of Animals
Artist Jim Woodring is the author and illustrator for both of these books. Very surreal, very beautiful, but easy to follow. What makes it even more amazing to me is that there aren’t any word at all, the whole story is told through images, and it is even better for that reason. Woodring is a master, using beautiful images and line work to tell his stories.

Forming started as a web comic that has been collected and published by Nobrow, although you can still read most of it online (click here). Written and illustrated by Jesse Moynihan, and I got to say, he knows his stuff when it comes to mythology. Told from a very irreverent and comedic slant, but very well informed and thought out. I love this comic.

Legion Lost
The Legion of Superheroes has been published since the 1950s, but I’d really never read anything before. For that reason, I am not completely sure why I decided to pick up their Legion Lost story arc. Probably because I was familiar with writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning from other stories. I am glad I did try this one. In this book, some of the Legionaries find themselves stranded in a distant galaxy trying to find their way home. I know that is a very brief summary, but believe me, this is a great story.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
I’ve owned all of the League comics for years, but had only read the first collection. Somehow, I lost the other three volumes in my basement, and didn’t come across them again until last summer. Since Alan Moore is one of my all-time favorite writers, when I found them, I had to read them. What a great series. And then, last fall, a brand new collection called 1969 was published. The League brings fictional characters like Captain Nemo, Alan Quartermain, Mina Harker, Dr. Jekyll and others together to fight crime and save the world (of course)! I love it.

Geek out!

Just Add Costume for an Instant Sex Symbol

While in Santa Fe about a week ago we saw a photography show. The artist went to Japan, met a young geisha and took her photo day after day, year after year. I liked the photos, though the Photoshop work was maybe a little too obvious, because of the costumes, the make-up, the effort that goes into being a geisha. My favorite photos showed the blurry line where real skin is exposed beneath the make-up, ear lobes with dabs of misplaced make-up, make up blurring into hair growth patterns, reality meeting fantasy.

That’s why I continue to follow the art of the geisha, and its really why I belly dance. A reviewer from Santa Fe’s monthly magazine, “THE,” refers to it as an “intentional departure from reality.” Take an ordinary girl or woman, who may have been scrubbing a toilet or changing a diaper 15 minutes ago, add makeup, hair, costume and you have an instant symbol of sex and culture. For me, it’s all about the transformation from human reality to utter work of mortal art.

And yes, after the geisha wipes off the white war paint and hang her costumes, she, is back at work washing dishes and paying the power bill, all the while drawing her next costume with her mind’s eye.

Nina Tichava

While in Santa Fe, we ran into some acrylic panels that looked like traditional quilting patterns, complete with the stains on an old quilt. The artist is Nina Tichava, a native of Northern New Mexico who has lived part time in the Bay Area. Our new friend Peter, from the Nüart Gallery, located at 670 Canyon Road in Santa Fe, told me that she spent a childhood surrounded by quilts. There is something about those old patterns, past down from generation to generation, that become impressive symbols of America, our grandmothers, our mothers, our teachers and the warmth of falling asleep at night. In other words, they mean a lot. Here are some of Tichava’s pieces:

Cecil Touchon

Post Dogmatist Painting 401
Post Dogmatist Painting 288

Another artist whose work I saw and enjoyed in Santa Fe is Cecil Touchon. If you find yourself down that-a-way, be sure to stop in to the Nüart Gallery up Canyon Road and take a look around. Touchon was my favorite in the gallery, but they also have very nice work by many other artists.

I’ve always liked hard-edge abstraction and color field painting. In part, it is the graphic designer in me that geeks out over Touchon’s paintings, because I like the hint of typography behind his patterns and shapes. This helps create a marriage of style, with the sort of blending of Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism. But those shapes are beautiful in and of themselves too, and create nice abstract patterns.  His method for creating his work is also very interesting. From what I understand, Touchon collects old billboards and signs, then tears them apart. He will assemble a collage and then “paint a picture” of his collage using trompe l’oeil techniques. The resulting paintings are beautiful and kept my eyes looking.

nuartgallery.com | cecil touchon


Post Dogmatist Painting 287

Post Dogmatist Painting 289

Post Dogmatist Painting 374

Post Dogmatist Painting 342

Jeffrey Hale Graces The Hive

On Friday night from 7 to 9 p.m., our friends at the Hive Gallery will open a show of all Jeffrey Hale’s artwork.

I like Jeffrey’s art and I’ve followed the new paintings he exhibits at the Hive for more than a year. His portraits are mainly close-ups of women in a modern take on Modigliani’s faces. Long necks, sad expressions, and sometimes even a little blue blood dripping down.

Check it out:

The Hive Gallery
Friday, April 20
7 to 9 p.m.


Pablo Perea

La Partida - 2011
Our Lady of the Arrival - 2011

This last week, Anna and I were fortunate enough to make our way down to Santa Fe once again. The food, the landscape, the architecture, the people and the artwork, it’s a great place to go… kind of a home away from home really. We made our way into a number of different galleries, and enjoyed most of what we saw, but the first artist whose work I want to share in a post is painter Pablo Perea.

There is a lot of great work to see in the gallery Canyon Road Contemporary, but as soon as I saw Perea’s work, it was hard to pull myself away. Perea is a Cuban artist who, from what I understand, emigrated to America and is now living in New Mexico. It is easy to get lost in the color and texture. His paintings show his Muse narrating his life experience through visual storytelling and very personal symbolism.

crcainc.com | Pablo Perea

youtube.com | Pablo Perea 

Roja - 2011

Los Campos de la Memoria

Beautiful Canyon Home for Rent

San Francisco meets Jackson Hole in the heart of Salt Lake City. Located at the mouth of City Creek Canyon, this unique home is like living on an island of wilderness inside the heart of a city. Within a short walk of the new City Creek Center, this quaint cottage is filled with personality and craftsman details.

Stainless appliances and custom built in cabinetry add convenience to any lifestyle. Austrian stairs leading to a cozy loft, vintage brick floors in the dining room, and a clawfoot tub are just a few of the many charming custom characteristics of the home. This home features a pair of bedrooms, bathrooms and patios as well as a single loft, dining room and sauna. Three skylights and south facing bay windows fill your days with sunlight and the location in a tight knit community comes with friendly neighbors, as well.

  • 1800 Square Feet
  • Loft, formal dining and vaulted study
  • 2 bathrooms
  • Pets considered
  • $1,400 per month
  • Located 1.5 blocks from Memory Grove, in the heart of City Creek Canyon, and 2 blocks from the heart of downtown

123 East 4th Ave., SLC, UT.
Travel to intersection of State and N. Temple, head East. East on N. Temple, which turns to 2nd Avenue after State Street. Take immediate left on Canyon Road. Travel North to 3rd Avenue, continue straight. Travel North to 4th Avenue, turn left. Second house on North side of road. Grey with Orange door.

For more information please call or text 801-505-8223, or email artduh@gmail.com.