Connect the Polka Dots: Zippy the Pinhead comic strips by Bill Griffith

Books — Doctor Ninja on February 16, 2007 at 4:59 am

I left this book in the bathroom and now it is missing. Either “A”, it jumped down the toilet, “B” was “borrowed” by one of my roommates, or “C”. It was probably “C”. Speaking of “C” I’ve also noticed the disappearance of another cultural icon (yes, Zippy is a cultural icon) from the consumer paradise we call earth…Coke Black. I’ve never tasted this bubbly beverage but I am told it is a mixture of Coca-Cola and coffee grounds in a can. Some love it, some hate it. Zippy’s pal Griffy would probably hate it. Zippy however does not see the world in black and coke. He is a Zen master who asks us the question “Are we having fun yet?” while sporting his signature polka dot muumuu. He is also black and white and read all over, syndicated by King Features since 1986. As for Coke Black, it’s possible that Zippy drank them all. As for my copy of “Connect the Polka Dots”, I shall continue to look in my toilet bowl. A fool who persists in his folly becomes wise. Seek Zippy and ye shall find!

160-page color (48 pp.) and B&W 8 1/2 x 9 paperback $18.95 http://www.fantagraphics.com

OBEY: Supply & Demand – The Art of Shepard Fairey

Art, Books — Doctor Ninja on February 2, 2007 at 12:50 am

Andre the Giant has a posse 7′4″520LB the sticker that started it all. I’ve put up my share of these little bastards, but Shepard Fairey has covered the earth with them. The last time I saw Shep he was putting them up at a rate of about 15 per minute while carrying on a conversation and walking down the street at the same time. I found it a little distracting that every time I turned to say something to him he was hanging off the top of a streetlamp or a crosswalk sign. And when the police rolled up, his wife Amanda pulled the old “Hey Shepard, let’s make out now!” trick while I made my best attempt to disassociate myself from any criminal activities.

I’ve been trading stickers & artwork with this notorious character since 1991. He started his giant takeover in 1989 and it took me a couple years to track him down. I was immediately attracted to Shepard’s work, stemming from my love of punk rock, stickers, propaganda and…well…Andre the Giant. Andre was a professional wrestler from the 80s. There was a point when he was the most recognized sports figure in the world, second only to Muhammad Ali. The sticker image comes from a grainy picture of Andre’s face that Shepard clipped out of a newspaper. He was showing a friend how to make a stencil & just thought it looked funny.

I’ve always loved multiples. Lots and lots of the same thing. Over and over again. Especially if it’s a shitty zerox. I loved the fact that if I ran out of the stickers that Shepard would send me, I could just make my own on a copy machine and they would look exactly the same. That they were totally absurd made me love them even more. 17 years later knowing that there’s millions of these retarded little portraits of Andre the Giant all over the world is pretty funny. Shepard might be famous now but there are still millions of people who are completely baffled by the ubiquitous stickers.

Supply & Demand is really great. It’s a beautiful hardcover with gold embossing on it. A book that finally does justice to Shepard’s work. Clocking in at over 350 pages it’s got tons of great photo’s and reproductions. I love the surveillance shots of bombing in action. Then there are pages and pages of the aftermath. Theres lots of other stuff too, his silk-screened prints, his influences, arrest records, bootleg stickers, even some hate mail!

Obey Giant! Buy this book! http://obeygiant.com/

The Drips by Taylor McKimens

Art, Books, zines — Doctor Ninja on December 29, 2006 at 1:59 pm

I really like this book, but I was having some trouble reviewing this until I had a talk with my good friend Alan Watts. Then it all became clear. The Drips is a good look into the conflict of the wiggly world versus the prickly world. Man, with lots of numbers, facts and straight lines, constructs the prickly world. Architects are prickle people. Lawyers are prickly people. Politicians are prickly people but they do a lot of wiggling to capture the hearts and the minds of the gooey people. Artists tend to be wiggly types with their romantic ideals, non-linear thinking and gooey globs of paint. When it comes down to it, life is really about gooey prickles and prickly goo. Life is about the sea’s wiggly waves splashing against straight shores. It’s about the rays of the sun bouncing off the hard concrete in a heat wave.

The Drips consists mostly of portraits of people melting in an atmosphere of straight lines. Taylor has told me he wants to live in the desert. The only prickle things there are the cacti. And the cacti are only prickly to protect their gooey insides. People are like this too. We are all just fleshy blobs with big brains that make think we can rule the world. When in fact, we are all just melting under the sun. As prickle people poke holes in the ozone we all melt. The mighty rays of the sun melt the poles of the ends of the earth. Then the ice drips, the rain drips, the mud drips and our skin drips.

My favorite drawing in this book is of a cassette melting out of a dilapidated car stereo. The molten hamburger is awesome too. Taylor’s book leaves us asking the question “Who left the cake out in the rain?” or better yet “Who left your face out in the rain?”

The Drips by Taylor McKimens

2006, hand-made, two-color zerox plus inkjet. About 50 of these were made, and dropped off at locations like Jim Hanley’s Universe on 33rd St. in NYC, Rocketship Comics in Brooklyn, and Trance Pop in Kyoto, Japan. No copies currently available, not sure when or if more will be made, but look here for updates… www.taylormckimens.com The Drips comic book is available from www.pictureboxinc.com

Cartoon Workshop / Pig Tales by Paper Rad

Art, Books, zines — Doctor Ninja on December 28, 2006 at 9:52 am

It took me awhile to figure out why I didn’t read this the instant it was thrown into my sweaty palms. There was something wrong. Something VERY wrong. Paper Rad is known for their high output of awesome shit. You can’t blink without some new awesome Paper Rad thing magically appearing before your face. Don’t get me wrong this is yet another sweet book by the mighty, mighty PR…but it has a nice glossy cover and the inside pages are printed on newsprint. Now, I like glossy & I like newsprint, but for Christ’s sake don’t combine the two! Okay, enough of my aesthetic snobbery. Half of this book is a reprint of the beautifully produced zine Pig Tales. That came with a silk-screened cover with a jewel glued to it; of course I’m going to be disappointed by a new version. Jessica Ciocci wins the funniest comic panel of the year award for…Wait. Comic panels don’t make sense if you don’t know what the previous panel was, so the runner up for the funniest comic panel of the year… “Blonde haired piggy lady reaches into bookshelf”! And now! The award for “funniest comic panel of the year” goes to DJ Jazzy Jess for… “piggy holding book entitled “HOW TO Draw MANGA Dicks”!!!

Okay now for the other half of the book, the third installment of Ben Jones’ Cartoon Workshop. Again with the color newsprint…I would have preferred to read this on black and white zerox paper, or color zerox paper, or black and white newsprint. Come to think of it…there’s nothing wrong with the pages at all. It’s the glossy cover I hate!!! I’m going to tear it off right now! Now I’m tearing up that damn oversized UPC symbol! Ben probably thought it would be funny to make it extra big, knowing that everyone would hate it. His graphic design has a sadistic side to it. So do his comics. There are a total of 25 completely blank panels in Cartoon Workshop. What’s is this “The Wisdom of Lobo”?!? Okay BJ is a comic genius so he’s allowed to take liberties. “Lazy Comet” is a brilliant strip. Pages 34 (“How Low can You Go?”) & 35 (Twig & Twag) are awesome as well. They remind me of the comics that R. Crumb made with his brother Charles when they were kids. In “How Low can You Go?” The Narrator (my favorite BJ character) hits us with another classic line: “What?!? You’ve never ass-bonged?” I’ll stop comic snitching now. Just go buy the book already.

Cartoon Workshop / Pig Tales by Paper Rad

http://artbook.com published by www.pictureboxinc.com 2006

COMPULSION a novel by Meyer Levin

Books — Doctor Ninja on December 26, 2006 at 11:11 pm

How cool would it be to randomly kidnap someone and kill them?!? That’s what two incredibly wealthy child prodigies thought. And they did it in 1924. Nathan Freudenthal Leopold, Jr and Richard A. Loeb thought of themselves as Nietzschean supermen. Leopold spoke 15 languages and graduated from the University of Chicago at eighteen and Loeb was the youngest graduate in the history of the University of Michigan. The author of Compulsion, Meyer Levin, also graduated from the University of Chicago at eighteen. He became a reporter for the Chicago Daily News. Little did he know when he was assigned to the kidnapping/murder case that the perpetrators were acquaintances of his.
This book is a novelization of what was called “The Crime of the Century” and it’s a fantastic read. It’s not one of those “Hey! I was there. Here’s my new book, give me a million dollars!” true-crime tell-alls. Meyer Levin spent over thirty years thinking about the murders before he wrote Compulsion. He really delves into the psychology of the two criminals as he retells this amazing story. How could two geniuses from such good backgrounds commit such a heinous crime? Levin poetically attempts to explain this in the hopes that “…it may be of some help in widening the use of available knowledge in the aid of human failing.” So if you think you’ve got “the perfect crime” you should read this book first, smarty-pants.

Art is a Smile that Gives You a Hug by Andrew Jeffrey Wright

Art, Books, zines — Doctor Ninja on December 26, 2006 at 7:56 pm

Andrew Jeffrey Wright makes the most over-produced zines on the planet. I’m not talking about glossy pages & slick graphic design. I’m talking about silk-screened pages, LOTS of silk-screened pages, full color zeroxes, hand cut stickers, glued in drawings, fold out posters and guest artist homework assignments (I’m a proud contributor to a few of these “sharpie & white only” portrait drawing projects). I guess Andrew is kind of “the king of zines” due to the work he puts into his books. Anyway, Andrew has a crazy sense of humor so this is filled with funny comics & photos. The centerfold has a drawing that’s a total copy of the cover of Retard Riot #12 (which I gave him while he was working on Art is a Smile) very flattering…

Art is a Smile that Gives You a Hug is a catalog for a show he did at Giant Robot over a year ago and it’s a limited edition of 200, so good luck finding a copy. Rumor has it that he’s working on one for the 2006 BUTTON BATTLE show, so maybe you can cop one of those. It’s funny that he calls them “show catalogs”, cuz he usually finishes them long after the show is over. What-ever.

Find AJW in Philadelphia at www.space1026.com

macho peanut by Misaki Kawai

Art, Books, zines — Doctor Ninja on December 26, 2006 at 7:13 pm

Misaki’s collages & drawing are both cute & weird at the same time. Its the kind of cute & weird cartoon style that is seen through out a lot of Japanese culture. Well, Misaki is Japanese so that explains thatwhatever…this little book is rad! Her characters are sort of South Park style collage dudes and her drawings are semi-retarded. I hold semi-retarded things in the highest regard, mind you. There’s a lady whose fart blasts her sky high, ripping a hole in her pants and gassing a little blue dude down below. The page before that has some little dude licking milk off the side of a giant tit-mountain, on the other side of the super boob is another little dude holding a cane with a shit-eating grin on his face. Pineapple heads, pipe smokers & other weirdnessfunny, funny, funny. There’s a great page depicting a balloon headed fellow, bent over, having his spotty butt sprayed with perfume by a green character. There are too many cool pages to describe; you’ll just have to see for yourself.

24 pages, soft-cover, full color, 2006 http://www.misakikawai.com/

Peter Saul – Recent Paintings (2006)

Art, Books — Doctor Ninja on December 23, 2006 at 8:00 pm

To the Viewer:
“I like to walk around N.Y. to see the art shows, particularly of pictures of something dramatic or exciting. That’s my art taste. Even though I love viewing the stuff the ideas that prop up Modern Art are the dumbest in the world. Especially the notion that painting is about itself and the way it’s made. Sure, try reading a book about itself, or going to a movie about itself, not a lot of fun.”

That’s from Peter Saul’s introduction to the catalog of his recent exhibitions at David Nolan Gallery and Leo Koenig Gallery. I couldn’t agree more with his sentiment. The 90’s art scene in NY made me want to puke. Everything was “conceptual”. Conceptual meaning that you had to read a book about it before you could enjoy it. Did I say, “Enjoy it”? What I meant to say was “before you could be bored to death by it”. 10 years later things are brightening up here. Art is exciting again.

Forget the last decade, Peter Saul has been exciting for the last 55 years. His new paintings are as fresh and invigorating as they were in the sixties. They’re colorful, cartoony, surreal, sentimental portraits of politics, propaganda, and pornography. My favorites include “Around Here You Need a Sense of Humor”, “Execution of Jesus”, “Bush at Abu Ghraib”, “Chinese Businessman Lands on Wall St.”, “Sardanapalus”, “Hitler’s Bunker” and “Self Portrait as a Woman”, a true story about Peter & his wife being mistaken for two women, on four different occasions!!! Hmmm. That makes 7 out of 10 paintings my favorite. The other three are great too.

This is a beautiful catalog with ten tipped-in color plates. That’s old school quality for an O.G. artist. Soft cover, 34 pages, available from www.davidnolangallery.com and www.leokoenig.com

Vomit Style by Sergio Palacios

Art, Books, zines — Doctor Ninja on December 23, 2006 at 5:58 am

Before this zine reached my hands it was smuggled across the Mexican border inside the stomach of the infamous El Coyote. The cover boldly states “#1″. I hope this means it’s the beginning of a series of books by Mr. Palacios. This issue (or top rated book as it may be) is a story written in paintings, vomit style. They don’t smell like vomit or even look like vomit for that matter. They are portraits of menacing creatures with sadness in there eyes. Like beasts that are actually more afraid of you than you are of them. Two pyramids look towards an oil-blackened sky. Under blood-spattered skies, a lone bicycle hurdles through the air while an ominous tank sits in the background. Googley eyed civilians wonder why oil is dripping from the sky. There’s a shy gorilla. There’s a wooly mammoth bewildered by a human fly. Big Foot hides in his own shadow. Our world has turned to vomit and only the extinct know it. Sergio leaves us with these final words: THIS MEANS WAR!
Painterly Palacios, a student of great American painter Peter Saul, combines harsh brushstrokes with intense washes with killer results. I was once at a museum and over heard an elderly lady comment, “His use of color is quite beautiful”. Mmmm…Quite.

5.5×11″ 12 pages full color 2006
If you can track him down, maybe you can get one of these gems from mrelcoyote@hotmail.com

Krazy & Ignatz by George Herriman – �Love letters in Ancient Brick� Continuing the Complete Full-Page Comic Strips 1927-1928

Art, Books — Doctor Ninja on December 22, 2006 at 2:44 pm

This is a comic that spanned four decades (1916-1944) and every single strip is about a mouse that throws a brick at a cat’s head. The police are always after Ignatz Mouse! He gets incarcerated. He escapes. He throws bricks at Offisa Pup! Here’s the twist… Krazy Kat loves the fact that Ignatz throws bricks at her head. She sees it as a passionate act of affection. She’s sad when the projectile misses her dome-piece. Ignatz tolerates Krazy’s infatuation with him, but I think the mouse’s true passion is throwing bricks. There’s another twist… the brick throwing is not the real reason for Offisa Pup’s crusade to lock up Ignatz. He is secretly in love with Krazy! I refer to Krazy Kat as “she” but Herriman always maintained that Krazy was genderless!

Here’s what I’ve learned from reading Krazy Kat. The law is laughable, throwing bricks is fun and true love triumphs in the end. Life, laughter, love, and anarchy…Herriman is one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century!

This book is just one in series of beautifully designed books that kovers the entire Krazy Kat katalog. 120-page softcover $14.95 available from www.fantagraphics.com

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