While the art comix world is still reeling from the announcement of the closure of PictureBox, the innovative and fearless publisher that picked up the Highwater ball and ran with it, the end of this publisher does bring one good thing with it: a 50% off sale on absolutely everything on their site. Just use the word “sale” at checkout. PictureBox manifested a very art-book heavy ethos, even in the comics they published, so everything Dan Nadel put out is a lovely object in itself. I could probably do 12 of these posts, and this is just scratching the surface, but here are a few picks for the gifting time of year, ether for yourself or an actual giftee. If you just want to browse, the site is a bit confusing for novices, but this listing of artists is a good way to approach it, and you will see everyone some surprising names, including Mort Walker and Sam Glanzman, on the list.
Anyway, a few picks…
Gary Panter Deluxe
If there is ONE PictureBox book which belongs on the shelf of everyone who cares about comics, and which represents their output in a completely emblematic way, it’s this amazing hardcover, two-volume retrospective of Gary Panter’s art. Panter is the spiritual godfather of an entire comics movement—and his art remains as fresh and stunning as the first time Jimbo climbed through the ooze.
The “regular” edition of this is OOP, but you can still get the DELUXE edition which includes a SPECIAL PRINT BY PANTER for (sale price) a mere $125. This is the perfect gift book, and an esthetic statement that comics scholars will be studying for decades.
PaperRad BJ and Da Dogs by Ben Jones, Jacob Ciocci, and Jessica Ciocci.
This is the other “essential” PictureBox book, a compilation of the art and comics of the very influential Paper Rad collective. (Jones is now the creative director for Fox’s ADHD animation block). Half abstract-ish art, half ironically-mocking funnies. Find out what all the fuss is about.
No PictureBox collection would be complete without Sort Thunder alum Brian Chippendale. I’d reccomend NINJA, the oversize epic that was the bozz book of SPX when it came out, but it’s out of print. However this Fort Thunder era art piece drawn over a Japanese book catalog will do. It’s crazy and spacey and there’s nothing like it.
Body horror and an ant infestation rendered in subtle, haunting pencil drawings by Renee French. The catalog calls this “A sweeping, often tense narrative of invasion, repulsion and liberation”—what’s not to like?
That’s a brief selection—I haven’t even mentioned Yuichi Yokoyama or Frank Santoro or the Tezuka book or Tagame…maybe in part 2. Dig around the site, and see what strikes your fancy.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.