In addition to his new book, The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D., Dash Shaw also produced a tie-in animated story for the IFC channel. That cartoon, about a spy who goes undercover as an android art model, is now available online in four parts, including an extra fifth video where Shaw and his co-creators talk about the project. The first episode is above. Enjoy. (Note: As someone pointed out in the comments, the video contains nudity and thus may be NSFW, depending upon where you W.)
For more on Shaw, see my interview with him from earlier this month.
There’s been a number of noteworthy indie cartoonists who have come to prominence in the past 10 years, but certainly one of the most interesting and significant has got to be Dash Shaw. Having slowly garnered a bit of attention and acclaim with works like Goddess Head and The Mother’s Mouth, he officially declared himself an artist of no small importance with the 2008 release of the doorstop-sized Bottomless Belly Button. He followed that up with the even more impressive Webcomic BodyWorld, which will be collected and published by Pantheon early next year.
In the meantime, he’s got a new book coming out from Fantagraphics, entitled The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century, which collects a number of short stories he did for the the quarterly Mome anthology, as well as some storyboards and drawings for an animation project he did for IFC, which should debut soon as well.
I talked with Shaw over email about the new book, the challenge of moving BodyWorld from Web to print and his influences and upcoming projects. He proved to be as gracious and thoughtful over the Internet as he had been in person and I’d like to thank him for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk.
Every so often a co-worker, family member or acquaintance will look at me blankly when I talk about my hobby/obsession and say to me “Wait, you mean they make comics for adults now?”
It’s a stubborn reminder that, despite the seeming advances being made every week in mainstream media (hey, did you see that Tatsumi review in the New York Times?) most folks are unware of the strides that have been made over the past 30 years and have little regard for the medium beyond something that can eventually get made into a movie starring Christian Bale.
Still there are pockets of encouragement, most notably in the upper echelons of higher learning, where you may find librarians, teachers and college professors that are not-so-secret cheerleaders for the sequential art form.
Case in point: Last week I was back at my old alma mater Franklin and Marshall College for their ninth annual Emerging Writers Festival. I hadn’t heard of the yearly event up till now, but I had a particular interest in checking out this one as one of the invited artists was none other than Dash Shaw, author of last year’s acclaimed Bottomless Belly Button and just got an Eisner nomination for his excellent Webcomic BodyWorld.
As for those upcoming projects, Dash’s slate is full. “I’ve finished BodyWorld, even though it’s still being serialized. So now I’m working on a new project, a murder-mystery comic, called ‘Torture Hospital.’ I did a short story with that name in 2005, but it doesn’t have anything to do with that. I’m just using the title again. This time is the most exciting time for me- starting something. I often have incredibly nerdy dreams of flipping through amazing comics and of course I wake up and they’re gone. How do you get one of these comics into the real world? Ha ha. I keep trying and failing but Hospital might be it. I have to think that, anyway.”