Tag: books

A notorious mind-weirding origin story

Cultural journalist, author, and all-around nice guy Jesse Jarnow has a new column at Aquarium Drunkard—in its debut installment, he has some characteristically smart stuff to say about cartoonist Brian Blomerth and his vibrant graphic novel Bicycle Day:

The most accessible of the new batch of psychedelic books–and surely the most gleeful–is Brian Blomerth’s Bicycle Day (Anthology Editions, $30.00). A gorgeous graphic novel, it depicts the most notorious mind-weirding origin story of them all—Albert Hofmann’s 1943 lab accident that unleashed a world-changing technicolor superpower. Blomerth’s rendering Hofmann’s invention of LSD in Basel, Switzerland in the years surrounding World War II is lush and overflowing, a welcoming color-swirl that will almost surely beckon repeat dives. A stunning visual rendering of Hofmann’s discovery, Bicycle Day winks to R. Crumb, Yellow Submarine, the Grateful Dead, and numerous comix conventions, unfortunately including a hyper-buxom depiction of Hofmann’s assistant, Susi Ramstein, the first woman to take LSD.

Read Jarnow’s whole column here. And as Jesse and I share a great deal of common interests, I reviewed Blomerth’s new comic for The Los Angeles Times in June.

The new adult comics revolution

comics guido crepax fantagraphics

At The Comics Journal, Derik Badman writes about Italian comics artist Guido Crepax and his popular character Valentina Rosselli, whose strip was first serialized in a monthly adult-aimed comics magazine called Linus in the mid-1960s.

Vibrant as a rainbow

At The Los Angeles Times, Lyra Kilston wrote about midcentury Southern California designer Gere Kavanaugh, whose work is celebrated in a new book from Princeton Architectural Press, “the first monograph on Kavanaugh’s life and work, (which) tells her story through a fascinating avalanche of visual material.” Here’s Kilston on Kavanaugh’s direction after finishing at Cranbrook Academy of Art:

She graduated in 1952, becoming the third woman to earn an MFA in design at Cranbrook, and was soon hired by General Motors as one of its “Damsels of Design” to work on car interiors, kitchen appliances and its lavish modern showrooms. Her ideas were fresh and inventive: For a spring showcase of new cars she conceived of a garden party theme, filling the auditorium with blooming hyacinths and creating 30-foot-high bird cages containing 90 singing canaries. Soon she was choosing between offers at architecture firms run by Finnish architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen in Michigan or architect Victor Gruen in Los Angeles. She took a fateful one-week trip to check out the West Coast, visiting the artist-activist nuns Sister Corita Kent and Sister Magdalen Mary, who welcomed her warmly and insisted she relocate to Los Angeles. She complied, embracing and embodying the colorful region where she still resides today.

I hadn’t heard of Kavanaugh before reading Kilston’s piece, and I think we’re going to have to order A Colorful Life.