Space basket by Jonathan Petersen
$5, 28 pages. Black and white with color cover. Newsprint interiors. 8 x 10.
Jonathan Petersen's work has long been a favorite of artists like Marc Bell, Keith Jones and Jeff Ladouceur. A sculptor, image maker and cartoonist, Petersen's comics are propelled by a strong narrative engine: characters move abruptly from scene to scene and new personalities are introduced as old ones are unceremoniously tossed aside. Petersen draws his cast and his scenery with great feeling and stark compositions that at first glance feel like a comforting space for the eye to enter into---but closer inspection reveals a complicated world that feels both alien and drably familiar.
Space Basket is Petersen's first book published in the USA, and for most readers, their first chance to see Petersen's work. While Petersen has self published countless zines, most had very small print runs and were usually given out to artists and friends in Canada. Until now, tracking down work by Petersen was no small task.
The story begins with friends traveling to a large cliff---with that simple catalyst, a story unfolds that is at once straight-faced adventure, mysterious travelogue, and unsettling comedy. None of the different tones ever feel out of balance, as Petersen's style of storytelling is so his own that---like the best works of art---Space Basket creates its own set of aesthetics.
"I love the beautiful, unforced folk qualities of Jonathan Petersen’s work. Don’t be like those jive turkeys in Toronto and ignore this stuff. Someday we all may be lucky enough to know the mighty oeuvre of “Jonny P.” His stuff is funny too." -Marc Bell, author of Hot Potatoe