Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Hans Rickheit was one of my favorite comic book artist "discoveries" of 2009. I met him at SPX of that year post-book signing at the Fantagraphics table for his graphic novel Squirrel Machine. He joked about his fifteen minutes of fame and having to return to a less famous reality at home. In the course of conversation, he slipped me one of his Chrome Fetus mini-comics.
Upon returning to Kentucky, I checked that out, which inspired me to immediately rush to Morris Book Shop to buy a copy. Squirrel Machine begs multiple readings. It has a dream/nightmare reality principle, a sort of Lovecraft/steampunk delicate sure handedness. Quietly shocking. Things are that should not be and what the hell just happened? Of the horror genre without being mired in convention.
Speaking of sure-handedness, his new webcomic, Ectopiary, is unfolding with just as much boldness and clarity as his previous effort, and promises to continue in a world, a perspective from the ground level of the magical and of the dangerous. As readers, we question what is going to happen, and are unsure we want to know the answers. In Rickheit's world, the answers may not only be dreadful, but revoltingly beautiful, and may not even be answers at all.