SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
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.
Alt-horror visionary Tom Neely — he of the much acclaimed, mostly wordless graphic novel The Blot — is at it again with another psychologically troubling take on the cartoon icons of the early 20th century. This time he’s putting Popeye through the paces in Doppelgänger, an action-packed reinterpretation of E.C. Segar’s sailor man. The book pits Popeye against his greatest enemy of all: himself. Multiple copies, in fact. It’s not Neely’s most overtly horrific work, to be sure, but doubles have been a staple of the uncanny for centuries (as Freud himself noted), and the scenes of Popeye and his duplicates assaulting one another evoke everything from Dead Ringers to 28 Days Later, all with impeccable linework that recalls the great master cartoonists of yore. You can order it through Neely’s I Will Destroy You imprint. Tastier than spinach and twice as good for you, folks!