While New York City went about its usual night-excursions on one particular recent Friday evening of January the 28th, thinking nothing exciting was happening in the world of comics, us comics people were having a dinner-party-style art gallery opening. (And the same night had a live podcast-recording and rocking after-party to celebrate the ten-year-anniversary of the founding of @iFanboy. All in Brooklyn. I know, we're party animals, right?) Refreshments of all kinds were made available to the guests as we milled about the gallery.
I was warmly greeted to the Scott Eder Gallery, one of the few New York City galleries to specialize in original comics art (or art inspired by comics) and this writer really appreciated it. All of it: the professional attitude, the greeting, and the chance to look at one artist's work in the context of visual art as well as in the context of narrative art. Josh recently wrote a two-part editorial about the weird elements of viewing comics on the wall in an art gallery and I wondered what new things would happen in my brain as a result.
Millionaire's work has a creepy vibe to it! Tight hatch-marks give everything a bulby, rounded look and the colorless palette he usually sticks to create together a feeling of depressing loneliness but the tone of the tales and the absurdity of the characters and their situations maintain a line of black humor throughout that allows us to laugh at his characters.
We laugh most of all at Uncle Gabby who we see always removed from us in some way, mainly through the point-of-view of his 'nephew' (who isn't really his nephew...) Drinky Crow. You can see some of the strip in which they both appear, "Maakies", for free at Tony Millionaire's blog at Maakies.com! I felt the "Maakies" strips on display were the highlight at the Scott Eder Gallery:
I was shocked and delighted to find that although Josh was very right about everything he said about comic-books and graphic novels in his post covering the "New Chicago Comics" exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, the very reverse was true for comic-strips. Their small size, straight rectal-linear reading pattern, and compact narrative-nature leads the eye very nicely from one complete short-narrative work to the next! Obviously, as Josh wrote, a graphic novel or comic-book displayed this way is incomplete and an inherent betrayal of the respective formats: they are no longer books. BUT strips are already single sheets and intended to be enjoyed as such.
You can see all the work at Scott Eder online, a wonderful feature of the gallery's website available here. (No doubt they are hoping to catch a few buyers via the interwebs! Good for them!)
The work will be on display at the gallery 18 Bridge Street in Brooklyn, NY until February 25th. You're running out of time! Go see this cool stuff in person.