Comics by Kevin Huizenga 

  Or Else 2
Or Else #2

100 pages; 4 1/4” x 5 1/2; square bound; published by Drawn & Quarterly

At the center of Huizenga’s work there lies evocation.  Every piece of work he has produced works towards the evocation of a moment or  feeling or sensation or thought or idea or, in his best work, all of these together at the same time.

Huizenga’s dominant style is rooted in the clean-line school; something along the lines of Roy Crane via Hergé via Scott McCloud, and with what seems to be more than a passing familiarity with Jaime Hernandez’s work.  But he brings many diverse influences which he both layers over and integrates with this base.  Huizenga is also a highly-skilled observer and recorder of the world around him.  He incorporates pen and ink sketches of still-lifes, landscapes, and, although to a lesser extent, portraits.  In this he is one of the few people working in comics to pick up on what Frank Santoro has laid down in his work at Sirk Productions and elsewhere.  In addition, he is capable of using the computer here and there to achieve and/or enhance specific effects.  

Originally published as Super Monster #14: Gloriana Comics, Or Else #2 marked a major breakthrough not just for Huizenga, but for the language of comics, as he codifies several formal advances here.  All the various methods and modes that he had been engaged with through his early career finally gel and really come together here.  Any doubts you might have as to whether self-published "mini" comics could ever reach their full potential will be eliminated once and for all after you've read this.  This issue was the work that announced Huizenga's presence as the first new major comics artist of the decade. 

retail price -
$5.95 copacetic price
- out of print & out of stock (SORRY!)


To check up on Huizenga's progress, check out his work in:

Or Else #1
Presents new material mixed with selections from Super Monster #9
-- in which Huizenga employed the formal techniques of traditional Chinese painting to evoke the lost patrimony of a Chinese baby put up for adoption -- as well as  #11, in which he evokes a small town on an autumn evening.  Now out of print, but almost all of it is collected in Curses.
retail price - $3.50  copacetic price - out of print & out of stock

Or Else #3Or Else #3
by Kevin Huizenga
This issue contains eight short pieces and one extended piece, "I Stand Up for Zen." 
It's 44 pages of comics in the small mini-comic format -- of which Huizenga is the uncontested master -- used for the twelfth and thirteenth issues of Huizenga's self-published series, Super Monster, where most of these pieces originally appeared -- although they have all been reworked for their appearance here.  Each of the short pieces engages the combination of image and text in its own way, each reaching towards evoking a specific interior state.  "I Stand Up for Zen," the twenty-page centerpiece of the issue, provides a one-of-a-kind outline of the mechanics of decision, demonstrating how a single decision can and does reach into the core of an individual's being; how a decision exists in a specific moment yet, simultaneously, how this moment connects one's past and future and determines his or her identity. 
retail price - $3.50  copacetic price - out of print & out of stock

Or Else 4Or Else #4

by Kevin Huizenga
This issue of Or Else checks in at a big 100 pages.  It's squarebound and the page size is now "digest size," which is larger than the last two issues, which were "mini comic" size.  The theme this time around seems to be nature in society, a sort of turning of the tables.  One of the classic themes of literature has always been "man vs. nature."  But, in today's day and age, it seems, this battle has been won, that it's "old hat." It's more like "nature vs. man" with nature as the challenger, or nature in the world of man, struggling for a place in a world gone man!  There is in this issue, as in all issues of Or Else, plenty of food for thought, a feast in fact!
retail price - $5.95  copacetic price - out of print and out of stock

Ganges 1Ganges
by Kevin Huizenga
This comic book, the latest addition to the burgeoning Ignatz Comics line from Coconino Press and Fantagraphics Books, asks the question, "Is it possible to intelligently examine domesticity in a comic book?"  The five all new pieces
in this deluxe magazine format edition by one of the strongest talents on the comics scene today provide the answer, and the answer is, "Yes."  All five pieces focus on the quotidian reality of Kevin Huizenga's graphic alter ego, Glenn Ganges, and his wife, Wendy.  Thoughts, concepts and stories are converted to images in Huizenga's trademarked fashion, and combined with text and dialogue commentaries to create a dialectical rendering of the tension between subjectivity and objectivity and various attempts -- characterized by their youthful callowness and longing curiosity -- at locating a harmonious balance between the two.   Underlying it all is Huizenga's perennial concern with time.  Specifically, with the irreconcilable divide between our individual, human, subjective experience of time, and its universal, inhuman, objective reality.  Recommended.
retail price - $7.95  copacetic price - $7.25

Ganges 2Ganges 2
by Kevin Huizenga
It's been almost a year (more?) since we've seen anything new by Kevin H. (not counting the self-published mini, Sermons #2), so it was with no small trepidation that we cracked open the second issue of Ganges. which is the 27th in the Ignatz series.  What surprises will it hold?  Well, we certainly don't want to rob you of this experience, so we're not going to go into too much depth here, but we will say this much:  This issue has a bipartate structure.  The opening section is a bravurra performance on Huizenga's part, in which he takes on a challenge that is dear to many
cartoonists of his generation (Brinkman, Chippendale and Paperrad foremost among them):  that of portraying the inner vision of the inveterate videogamer.  Huizenga ups the ante here by going one step further and attempting to depict the ideational transformations that are brought about by continual gaming.  Employing a (nearly)purely visual approach that is in places reminiscent of the work of Jim Woodring and Ron Regé, Jr., he presents his vision in such a way as to imply that these transformations may involve actual organic restructuring -- although this latter implication is somewhat undercut by the conclusion of the piece, which is not so much a story as it is an experiment in visualization.  The following part, "Pulverize," which takes up 2/3 of the issue, is a more mundane piece.  Another of Huizinga's fictionalized, semi-autobiographical accounts of the type that dominated the first issue of Ganges, it provides an enjoyable, straightforward account of time spent working in a dotcom startup that involved a lot of after hours videogaming.  Here, however, it serves the additional (one might even say primary) function of providing the "real world" context -- the objective outer vision -- for the subjective inner vision of the opening pages that precede it.  Suffice it to say there's plenty of food for thought here; the only question is, will it be enough to sustain readers until the next Huizenga release?
retail price - $7.95  copacetic price - $7.25

Drawn & Quarterly Showcase: Book One
Over half of this book is devoted to Kevin Huizenga, who has turned in his most polished and professional work yet in a triptych of tales, all featuring his fictional stand-in, Glenn Ganges.  The first and last stories are in the realistic vein and serve to bookend the central, longer work, 28th Street, which is represented in a unique sort of fabulous-realism.  The interesting thing is that, despite the different approaches the three tales function as an organic whole.
retail price - $14.95 copacetic price - $14.95 (now out of print)

An anthology the highlight of which is Huizenga's excellent 32 page adaptation of Sheridan LeFanu's short story, "Green Tea," complete with a prologue featuring Huizenga's fictional stand-in, Glenn Ganges, who is the central character in the just described Super Monster #14.
retail price - $8.00  copacetic price - $7.50

Kramers Ergot 5
KE5 is, in every way, a suitable successor to KE4.  We feel quite confident in stating that everyone who enjoyed and/or appreciated KE4 will get at least as much out of KE5.  Not only that, we'll go a step further and proclaim that many of those readers who were intrigued by KE4, but found it a bit "too out there" for their tastes, have an excellent chance of finding that KE5 -- with its addition of stand-out work by Gabrielle Bell, Kevin Huizenga (an impressive lengthy fable, his first full-color work) Chris Ware, and Dan Zettwoch -- has much to offer them, and represents a broader spectrum of comics than its predecessor.  In addition, any fans of autobiographical comics may find that they have finally met their match in David Heatley's massive/micro magnum opus. 
retail price - $34.95  copacetic price - out of print and out of stock

by Kevin Huizenga
The much anticipated first collection by up-and-coming-new-comics-champ, Kevin Huizenga is at last on our shelves.  Its arrival may, however, signal the end of Huizenga's status as an up-and-comer, and initiate his ensconsement in the ranks of established contemporary masters of comics.  This volume brings together a wide range of Huizenga's work from a wide variety of sources.  It starts off with a little known (well, not to long time Copacetic customers) gem from the Orchid anthology published by Sparkplug Comics, titled, "Green Tea."  It is adapted from a classic Victorian horror story
of the same name by Sheridan Le Fanu, but is given the inimitable Huizenga treatment and stands as an original work.  Following this there is:  the trilogy that first appeared in Drawn and Quarterly Showcase #1; almost the entirety of the now out of print first issue of Huizenga's ongoing solo title, Or Else; a 2-pager originally done for Time Magazine; and the full color story, "Jeepers Jacobs," originally executed for Kramers Ergot 5.  Anyone not already familiar with these works is heartily encouraged to consider this a great opportunity to read some excellent comics delivered in a fine package for a reasonable price.  If you're looking for comics by Huizenga, and you haven't already purchased these works in their original manifestations, then this is the book for you!
retail price - $21.95  copacetic price - $17.95

And, finally, there's lots to check out at Kevin Huizenga's site at the USS Catastrophe.

-- Here's a nice interview with Mr. Huizenga, conducted in late May 2006.

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prices and availability current as of 22 September 2009