No Title

*New column is go. This one is a bit more… burlesque than usual. Check it out!

*Almost done with my busy busy week. Just two more things left to do, then I’m home free. Working on a “Seven Soldiers” piece, but it’ll have to wait for tomorrow. The storyline won’t be over until April of 2006 anyway, so another day shouldn’t be a problem.

*Say! I know what’ll roll in the big hits! A minicomic review!

Untitled #1

I’m pretty much insane for Kevin Huizenga at this point. His stories in “Drawn and Quarterly Showcase” Vol.1 and “Kramer’s Ergot 5” were truly superb pieces, excellent short-form comics by any standard. His current solo series, D&Q’s “Or Else”, also offers some intriguing work, some of it refurbished from Housing’s “Supermonster” minicomics series. But most of Huizenga’s formal stories now seem to be featured in anthologies, or books released by established companies. His most recent minicomics work has seen a turn toward the more behind-the-scenes, so to speak.

Untitled”, dubbed a ‘zine’ on Huizenga’s site, is subtitled “KH Book #4”, the latest in this particular line. Book 1 was “Sermons”, a thick, compact collection of sketches and comments marked down on a small notepad brought to church, photocopied and presented to the reader in raw form. Book #2, “The Feathered Ogre Designs + Sketches” only cost fifty cents; it was a very short presentation of some of Huizenga’s preliminary design sketches for the title beastie, as featured in his “Drawn and Quarterly Showcase” story, along with some reference material. And Book #3? That was “Or Else” issue #1 itself, a D&Q release. So this curious labeling scheme doesn’t seem confined to minicomics or books published by Huizenga himself; it’s just a grouping of the creator’s most recent output, although it’s interesting that all of the self-published materials released under this label feature no ‘comics’ as we most commonly understand them; it’s work product, personal sketches.

Which is a fine way of describing “Untitled”, costing $1.50, running 40 pages, and consisting largely of hand-lettered titles. As in book titles. Prospective book titles, to be attached to Huizenga’s new series, which we now know as “Or Else”. There’s some brief handwritten commentary too: “Any, well almost any word is good if written in the right typeface on the cover, but I’m in it for the long haul with this one, I want years out of it.” So Huizenga lists out all of the titles he can think of: “Jeepers Weekly”, “Uncle Animal”, “The New Propriety”, “Afraid Magazine”, and so on. Some of the titles seem to be geared more toward getting Huizenga motivated than anything else (“Old Book Smell”). There’s a host of alternate designs for the “Or Else” logo. There’s even some tiny thumbnail sketches of cover ideas, and even at such a small, loose state, Huizenga’s chops are obvious.

It’s a cute little booklet (quite small in dimension, it must be said), and a fun buy for devout fans like myself, looking for another look behind the scenes. But a line seems to have been drawn, the “KH Book #X” line. The most recent minicomics releases seem to back away from comics storytelling, and toward a more personal glimpse into the creator’s procedures and thoughts. The shorts that have captured my attention will be published by others. Nothing in the world wrong with that; just an observation by a new and earnest fan.