21.Sep.2005 From the page to the wall
Guy Leshinski on the Canadian Art/Comics Nexus
“Artbooks like Ello, The Stacks and Lady Pep scoop up the language of comics and splatter it on art’s limitless canvas. Slick and mass-produced, they’re like heralds, halfway between comics’ pulp origins and the museums they’re destined to fill. The next step is off the printed page and into a frame.
That’s where Michael Comeau’s Regal Beast steps in. The Toronto cartoonist binds his handmade artbooks in Duo-Tangs so readers can remove the pages and frame them or tack them to a wall. Some of these pages are hand-painted, not just pictures of art but original art themselves. Both Bell and Thompson appeared in last summer’s Regal Beast 2, alongside the cream of the indie crop: Billy Mavreas, Fiona Smyth, Chris Hutsul and others. Seeing their work unshackled from comics’ constraints has its own distinct pleasures. Not least is the knowledge of an art world under invasion…”