by Brian Chippendale

OK kids, the wait is over.  This mega-blast of comics and more by Fort Thunder co-founder Brian Chippendale is now on our shelves, and it's most definititely a book that stands out in a crowd.  Five years in the making, it's Chippendale's first book publication, and he's gone all out to make it a debut to remember.  It's a giant oversize (11" x 17") 144 page hardcover volume printed in black and white and full color where it counts.  80 pages are devoted to the titular graphic novel that is both an epic -- and deranged -- fantasy and an urban allegory.  The remaining 64 pages are chock-a-block with drawings, collages, posters and more. While much is simply pen and ink and/or pencil, this is reproduced with full attention to all details and subtleties.  Ninja is a sensual onslaught that staggers the reader's brain as it tries to take it all in.  We found ourselves going back again and again to soak up the richness of its imagery while simultaneously working to crack the riddles of its narratives. 

This book is bursting with energy.  A frantic childlike mania inhabits many of its crowded, dense pages.  A big factor in this is, in all probablity, the fact that Ninja was actually begun by Chippendale when he was eleven years old and then picked up and continued roughly eighteen years later, after having matured as an artist.    Chippendale maintains the same crowded, gutterless panel structure that he inititated a child, while filling it with a fully developed, unified artistic vision.  While the initial per-page panel count of the work he produced as a child varied, the bulk of the adult pages adhere to a 25 panel per page grid, with two drawn pages printed one above the other, making for brain-frying double page spreads containing exactly 100 panels; although this begins to vary and change quite a bit towards the last third of the piece. 

There is so much crammed into each double-page spread -- in the drawings as well as the narrative -- that its difficult not to feel overwhelmed each time the page is turned; but the underlying propulsive energy of the artwork powers the reader onward.   The first thing the reader registers upon turning each page is texture.  Only upon focusing the eyes and beginning the reading process -- following Chippendale's unique back and forth snaking drawing directions -- do the details begin to emerge and the story take shape.   And then there's the characters themselves.  Taking the catalogue of types that he developed as a child, Chippendale morphs them into a rag tag assemblage of truly strange ideograms representing the shocked sense of outrage at the experiences his innocence has suffered.  Only the ninja him(it?)self remains essentially the same enigmatic icon of justice. 

A visual and reading experience like none other, Ninja is a work that cannot be ignored.  Published by the design wizards at Picture Box.

retail price - $34.95 
price - sold out!

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by Brian Chippendale
MaggotsPerhaps the most eagerly (not to mention patiently!) awaited book to come out of Fort Thunder, Brian Chippendale's Maggots was originally slated to be published several years ago by the now defunct Highwater Books.  Copacetic Comics fielded numerous queries over the years as to the fate of this particular work, and it was frustrating to not be able to offer a definitve reply.  We are quite pleased therefore to be able at last to look over and see this little gem sitting pertly on our table of new arrivals; we are confident that we will not be alone in this regard.  Published by PictureBox, who are, evidently, on a mission to deliver the comics we need to read, This edition of Maggots has painstakingly reproduced the look and feel of the original sketchbook in which Chippendale drew it.  This little book packs a real punch; its pages pulse with an infectious manic energy that will have anyone who reads it compusivley reaching for pencil and paper, raring to go and testify in pen and ink to the glory of living.

retail price - $21.95 
price - $18.88

You may be interested to know that we also had:

Teratoid Heights by Matt Brinkman
Teratoid Heights

retail price - $12.95
copaceticprice - SOLD OUT!

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prices and availability current as of 15 April 2011