The Latest From Josh Blair

Posted by on December 13th, 2010 at 6:30 AM

Rob reviews a variety of comics written and/or edited by Josh Blair: Postal, Apartment #307: One Year Later, and Candy Or Medicine #11.

Josh Blair is a prolific writer and editor (and sometimes cartoonist) whose most notable contribution comes in the form of the entry-level minicomic anthology, Candy Or Medicine.  His minicomic Postal (backed with “I Yam What I Yam”) consists of three entries that were all rejected by other anthologies.  Blair notes that this is one reason why he created Candy Or Medicine in the first place: to give young artists a place to publish and get their work seen.  This has been a noble mission in its 16-page issues, which have contained a surprising amount of quality material (along with a considerable amount of amateurish stuff).  I am sympathetic to Blair’s complaints about not having material accepted into anthologies and think his response (starting his own anthology) was a constructive one.  I am less sympathetic, however, to his complaints about being rejected by “underground artists looking for exposure”.  Editing an anthology is a very difficult endeavor, especially when one has a specific vision in mind.  There can be any number of reasons why a story is rejected: inappropriate for a theme, edited for length, rejected for content and rejected simply because it wasn’t up to the particular standards of a particular editor.  That’s just the way it is and it’s one reason why the best anthologies (like Mome or Kramer’s Ergot) are so good: they seek only the best–not just the best talent, but the best work from the best talent.

That said, I respect Blair’s decision to self-publish these stories, done in collaboration with artist Ray N.  While his scribbly line is appealing (especially when there’s frantic, Peter Bagge-style emoting going on), there are also instances where it looks a bit slapdash.  “Postal” is slight as a story as well, as it’s an anecdote barely worth telling.  “I Yam What I Yam” is better on both fronts, with Ray N’s panel composition being a bit better organized and the story (about dealing with some teenage bullies) packs more punch into fewer pages.

The eleventh volume of Candy or Medicine is notable for the great Sam Spina cover, four pages of typically delightful weirdness from Kyle Baddeley (involving a ghost in space having a pleasantly scary exchange with an office drone on a space station) and an appealingly odd drawing by Britt Wilson.  I also liked Jim Gullet’s one-page piece involving a bear musing about work that looked a little like Rory Hayes’ stuff.  This anthology rarely has great material, but it certainly provides a taste of artists who are trying to figure things out, arranged in an attractive and disposable fashion.  It’s an anthology without bells & whistles, one that simply puts an array of new comics art in front of the reader and leaves it to them to make sense of it or ignore it.

Apartment 307…One Year Later is an inside joke of a zine illustrated by Noah Van Sciver (with a one-page strip by Pete Borrebach and Nick Marino).  It’s about the fictional happenings that occur after the publication of a mini-comic about each artist happening to live in an Apartment 307 in their respective cities.  The zine posits a reality where the mini brought great fame and wealth to Blair, who froze out Van Sciver.  That led to lawsuits, a drive-by shooting and other ugliness.  The comic is an amusing bit of “inside baseball” with a funny punchline that recalls that there were indeed three artists in the original comic, not two.  Van Sciver’s illustrations are the highlight of the comic, but the scenario cooked up here is ridiculous in the extreme–which is what makes it funny.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.