Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gary Panter's "Zomoid," 1983

(Posted with Gary's permission)

Originally published (on yellow copy paper) as an 8 1/2" x 5 1/2" four-page mini by Ray Zone, as part of his "Zomoid illustories" series of minis. This version from "Zomoid Illustories," a comic-book collection of the minis, 1989.

Here is an excerpt from an interview with Ray Zone, The Comics Journal 102, September 1985:

Though brief, it's one of the earliest and best analyses of what abstract comics can do--or how a work can function on the borderline between comics and gallery art.

I wish I had known of this piece earlier: I would have definitely included it in the anthology. Oh well, this way we know we have good stuff in stock for the (eventual) second volume!


  1. yeah - he's building cartoon iconography out of the incidental forms that develop from the obsessive mark-making. And maybe the idea is that concepts are made in our brains in the same manner. Y'know, like, how in the Tracey Ullman episodes of the Simpsons or the first years of Peanuts the characters haven't solidified into their Platonic ideal forms yet and the way this relates to how when you move to a new city or start a new job you don't have the map in your head that you later develop to navigate the structures without thinking about it - the creation of what is considered essential.

  2. It's funny that you're the first to comment, Jason--I think this piece reminds me most of your work, with a similar mixture of figures and abstraction.

  3. Thanks - there's no way I can escape that influence (or ever hope to be that good). I think what always blows me away about Gary Panter is how sneakily formal his work is. On the surface it's this overwhelming barrage of trashy, shitty imagery, but there's always some organically integrated conceptual aspect. The drawings are these disassembled archetypes, reconstituted from ostensible spasmodic pen detritus, but it's so beautifully crafted - never fails to inspire me.

  4. this is probably the best mini ever i think.

    i got that zomoid anthology along w/ a treasure trove of RayZone 3D comix, Basil Wolverton in 3D is awesome!

  5. beautiful, scary, weird, interesting!
    I really like it. Thanks for posting it Andrei.
    I like the mix of representation and abstraction. Its cool to see the excerpt of the interview as well.

  6. horrorshow!

    not a million miles from more recent noisy comix by the likes of Marc Van Helburg, Crippa Almqvist & friends.

    David Turgeon's Jardin botanique is tidier, but coming from a similar place.

  7. Yeah, but Gary was there first and did it a thousand times better. No comic by marc Van Hellburg has ever made me to flip through it obsessively, thinking this is the greatest thing ever made.

    As for Turgeon, I can see, I guess, the similar synthesis between figuration and abstraction, but the place he comes from (Manet's gardens at Giverny, perhaps?) is a thousand miles away from Gary's.


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