MERE by CF
PictureBox Inc., 2013
180 Pages / $19.95 Buy From PictureBox
The latest CF volume from PictureBox, MERE offers a collection of 9 zines & a handful of Twitter comics that CF drew & produced throughout 2012. While it’s not as masterful as either CF’s story in Kramer’s Ergot 8, nor is it as complex and beautiful as the on-going POWR MASTRS series, it’s a welcome diversion and a nice stepping stone on the path of CF’s career.
There’s a distinct symbiosis in CF’s zines of both genre aesthetics found in euro-comix of the 70s & 80s along with a messiness that’s present in art brut & a casual culture of creation without perfection–this combination amounts to something very interesting. While there are, ostensibly, ‘narratives’ hidden throughout the volume, they refuse to develop in an articulated, followable fashion. Rather, CF insists upon simply presenting elements of a narrative, frames that seem like they’re out of order or missing important transitions, in order to present a structured chaos. Each zine seems to grow out of the former without any connecting thread.
The volume is organized not chronological, but rather in a fashion that gives a flow to the disjunctive zines. Printed monochromatically on beautiful pale paper, the volume has a great object-hood to it, a book art object even. A design object to be admired. But, luckily, for those who actually like to read books instead of just admiring their design, the content is at times hilarious, at times confusing, and always fascinating.
Nicole Rudick’s introduction to the volume paints a picture that leads to Benjamin’s ideas of the technological reproducability of art. It’s true, in a sense, that the zines the volume holds can and (arguably) should be reproduced over and over again, the machinic-entropy pushing further and further into the Rorschach like blur of toner onto a page, but ultimately there’s a heart to CF’s work that absolves any instability due to an often considered ‘out-moded’ form of technology, the photocopier.
While there’s not as much of an objective coherency in the volume as there was in the stand-alone zine, CITY-HUNTER, much of what I noted of CITY-HUNTER can be applied to the zines found within. The character of Main Dice, introduced in CITY-HUNTER, pops up again and again in various genre permutations, often pitted against a figured named Ven, sometimes to be killed, other times to be changed, but always to be dynamic. In addition to the brief (a-)narrative comic fragments, the volume is also filled with drawings, studies, sketches, all offered in CF’s simultaneously shaky & controlled hand.
A true joy to read and experience, to dip in and out of at will, CF’s MERE offers insight into the working praxis of one of the most interesting comic artists making work today.
June 21st, 2013 / 5:25 pm
62 Pages / $30 Buy from PictureBox
CF is one of the few people—successfully, in my opinion—working in comics today with a distinct style that is simultaneously distinctly his (though often copied), while also reminiscent of the historical narrative of comics that came before him; recalling specifically Windsor McCay’s work from the beginning of the 20th century, and the multitude of Euro-comics in the 70s and early 80s (think Guido Crepax, Milo Manera or even a primitive Moebius). There’s a hint of what could be considered a naïve sense of character proportion, an acute attention to architectural shapes, and an abject (“melting”) sort of representation.
READ MORE >
April 5th, 2012 / 5:00 pm
CF is a comic artist whose work, according to his blurb on PictureBox, “is marked by a precise, electric line and unique visions of parallel modes of being.” A fairly apt description. CF has been “blowing up” in the comix world lately, primarily, perhaps, as an artist working within the realm of “art comics,” a departure from the overly-stale “indie comics” zeitgeist that has peppered the cultural consciousness of the literate for the last two decades, slowly permeating the mainstream via film adaptations of Daniel Clowes and the McSweeney’s/New Yorker “reign of terror” brought about by Chris Ware and the ever-present Jimmy Corrigan.
CF’s major work has been his currently in progress Powr Mastrs, of which the first three (of a projected six, though I’m hoping it ends up being far more than six) have been published to major acclaim. I definitely recommend picking them up, as they’re beautiful books with insane stories that come from space, holding a sort of parallel early-80s Heavy Metal euro-comics narrative attitude with a specifically unique art style that CF himself pioneered (and is now aped to varying degrees, but as someone who likes the style, I’m mostly ok with that).
However, what I’m interested in today is a close-reading of a zine that CF created, CITY-HUNTER. Frank Santoro, another fantastic comics guy, describes the “zine” as follows:
Lots of backgrounds with “Main Dice” the main character swinging down the street. Lots of “straight talk” from the editor of the Fantasy Empire Magazine company. It’s like CF made his own b&w action comic and worried more about how the indicia and logo would look than the story – so it’s kind of perfect.
April 22nd, 2011 / 1:43 pm