Abysmalation by Josh Bayer. $18 Softcover book, 148 pages.

Of the many cartoonist to emerge in the last few years, Josh Bayer is easily one of my favorites. While he has been making comics for far longer then that, something began to crystalize recently. Bayer's approach of synthesizing his vast knowledge of comics history along with increasing control over expressing his own pantheon of mark-making tendencies has turned into a world of cartooning that is a cut-above. Bleeding over with love for the medium while also pushing the medium itself into new directions is something a lot of people dream about, but Bayer does it in exhilarating style with each project. You sit down and READ his books, and a lot of the reading is wrapping your mind around the drawings. Both avant grade and straightforward, I can't recommend Bayer's work enough.