Cartoonist Hans Rickheit is a busy man. He’s maintaining not one but two ongoing webcomics, Ectopiary and Cochlea & Eustachia, both of which are much beloved here at Robot 6. And in a few short weeks’ time he’ll be launching an art show alongside Colin Panetta and Mark Velard at the Greenfield Art Salon in Greenfield, Massachusetts, starting on Aug. 5. How does he keep going? Well, I’d imagine effusive praise from one of the greatest living cartoonists might help — and that’s precisely what Rickheit got in the above letter from Frank creator and Congress of the Animals author Jim Woodring. Woodring, an intrepid chronicler of the underbrain in his own right, clearly recognized a kindred spirit in Rickheit when the younger cartoonist sent him a copy of his elaborate and powerful Fantagraphics graphic novel The Squirrel Machine. If I got a letter half as kind and complimentary from one of my idols, I’d dine out on it for months, man.
Back around Halloween ’09, I whipped up a little list of “six deeply creepy alt-horror cartoonists,” a list of modern masters of the macabre that included The Blot‘s Tom Neely and Ectopiary‘s Hans Rickheit. Now both artists are dealing with something even scarier than their comics: the economy. And both are looking for financial help to keep their projects going.
First up is Hans Rickheit, whose latest graphic novel The Squirrel Machine was published by Fantagraphics, and whose webcomic Ectopiary has had its praises sung by my colleague Brigid Alverson (among many others). Rickheit announced the other day that the business where he worked has closed down, leaving him without a job or income and forcing him to suspend production of Ectopiary indefinitely. “If you’ve ever considered buying any artwork or books,” he writes, “this would really be a very helpful time to do so.” You can buy pages from his Xeric-winning erotic-horror graphic novel Chloe here, pages from his steampunk-by-way-of-David-Cronenberg book The Squirrel Machine here, many of his comics direct from Rickheit himself here, or simply donate what you will here.
His webcomic Ectopiary has been earning rave reviews around the Internet, his graphic novel The Squirrel Machine appeared was best-of-the-year material in 2009, and his debut comic Chloe won a Xeric Grant. But creepy cartoonist Hans Rickheit’s next big project is a Folly. That’s the title of his forthcoming Fantagraphics collection, comprising the best material from his sometimes ugly, sometimes erotic, often astonishing minicomics series Chrome Fetus. Rubble, tubes, orifices, human-animal hybrids, rooms within rooms, and strangely discomfiting partial nudity will no doubt abound. Folly hits this Fall.