Monday, June 23, 2008

Dash Shaw in latest New York magazine

Although I'm nowhere near NYC I have a habit of reading New York magazine regularly (The New Yorker less often) and thus is came as a huge surprise to flip open the new issue with Hillary's mug on the cover only to find Dash Shaw's "handsome but sallow face and stringy dark hair" draped across the whole of page 59 of the magazine. Dash's Bottomless Bellybutton is hailed as the "Graphic Novel of The Year" by writer Dan Kois.

"In October 2006, Gary Groth was sitting in a booth at a comics convention in Bethesda, Maryland, when he was approached by an earnest young man who pressed upon him the manuscript of a graphic novel—over 300 pages in comic-strippy black-and-white. Groth’s wariness was not assuaged by the man’s assurances that the pages represented less than half of the book he planned to write.

“It was a goddamn lot,” Groth recalls of the first third of Bottomless Belly Button, the graphic novel then-23-year-old Dash Shaw presented him. As head of Fantagraphics Books, Groth has published such luminaries as Daniel Clowes and Chris Ware; nevertheless, he’s despised by many in the comics world for the bellicose reviews in the magazine he’s run since 1976, The Comics Journal. "

As mentioned in an earlier post, when I talked to Dash back in 2005 he had apparently submitted to Fantagraphics but had yet to get any response. That was in June of that year but but October '06 a visit to SPX and dropping 300 pages on Groth's lap apparently did the trick.

This little extra bit appears as an online adjunct to the story as Dash talks hypothetically about how he'd handle more mainstream offerings.

Shaw tells us that if Marvel Comics called him and asked him to draw Ghost Rider, "I would be like, 'Hell, yeah.'" But what's Shaw's vision for the skull-headed superhero best known from a crummy Nicolas Cage movie?

"I think Ghost Rider should really be drawn as if the target audience is people in motorcycle gangs," Shaw told us. "Totally badass tattoo imagery. Because right now, it just feels like he's a superhero who rides a motorcycle. So I really see that as having a crazy oddball aesthetic, culled from tattoo art." Shaw's already drawn a Marvel hero, though — his whimsical and sad version of Dr. Strange, for an upcoming Marvel indie creators' anthology, was loved by some and hated by others when Shaw posted an excerpt on his blog this winter.

You can read the entire piece conveniently online HERE.

And you can read a 20-page excerpt from Bottomless Bellybutton here (just scroll down a bit)

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