Tusen Hjärtan Stark #2. Edited by Austin English with work by Hennessy, Annie Pearlman and E.A. Bethea. Cover by Annie Pearlman. 24 tabloid size pages, black and white, newsprint. Ships folded.
DOMINO BOOKS returns after a one and a half year publishing hiatus with an anthology of brand new work. Roughly translated from Swedish as 'a thousand strong hearts,' our flagship anthology is as utopian and ambitious as the phrase suggests. TUSEN continues our attempt to present difficult, uncompromising work in a cheap and accessible edition. All too often, the most experimental or obscure work is presented in price prohibitive editions.
Each contributor is given 6 to 9 pages to work with. Anthologies---in my view---suffer from short unfocused contributions. A 50 page anthology full of one page strips often never rises above being a sampler. Our format allows for the reader to enter any artist's world and stay there for a solid amount of time. As with issue #1, this anthology features 3 artists with radically different approaches---the reader is allowed to move from one aesthetic to another, with just enough time in each to feel and think.
We begin with a story by artist Hennessy, the longest and most focused statement so far from this author. Hennessy's work always achieves deep criticism of the subjects at hand, mixed with extreme empathy---a grey area of embrace and dismissal comes through. This story fleshes out that tendency into a crescendo, with Hennessy's crispest, most stripped down storytelling to date. We are shown two people pulling a third into a horrible action. The story is equal parts horror, commentary and strong narrative.
In the middle we present a selection of sketchbook work from NYC based painter Annie Pearlman. While Pearlmans paintings are rich with Arthur Dove-esque color, her sketchbooks distill her themes (cityscapes, bodies in action, exploring the entire surface of the page/canvas) into stark, bullet like images. The often solitary inhabitants of Pearlman's city have the look of strong monuments weighted down into the page, even as they twirl around on it. 18 images were selected from years worth of sketchbooks and a punch of art comes through.
We again close out TUSEN with Elizabeth Bethea---Bethea is one of my personal favorite cartoonists working today. Her comics are drawn at a uniform size, always one page (as far as I've seen). But each page is an opportunity for widely different writing and drawing---the uniform nature almost as a set template for wild creativity. Bethea's writing is heartfelt but in the way that we dream of true poetry: we overhear its heart instead of it being explained to us.