Monday, October 4, 2010

Matter #12

By Philip Barrett

I think out of all of Barrett's comics that I've read the ones I've liked best are those about music. This holds true even in this (semi-) recent collection of short pieces reprinted from other publications.

Haircut is about the haircut that somehow transports a band into superstardom. It's ridiculous, the haircut is hideous, but it's also funny and perhaps says something about the music industry in that it could be anything makes bands successful.

Many of Barrett's pet themes (obsession, fear, a vague sense of unease that your life is utterly worthless) show up in these comics. But in collecting a number of different pieces created for various projects we see a greater variety of styles and material. Barrett is equally at home creating pieces with bizarre (and sometimes malicious) humour as those that make us think about our own lives and those around us.

Barrett's linework and inking are confident, enabling us to see the emotions and thoughts a character has just from their expressions or posture, while at the same time creating atmosphere and feeling.

His artwork generally sticks to the six panel grid for most of the stories in here, and his consistant style of drawing, combined with the fact that there's frequently a theme of depression and subdued horribleness throughout, makes me want to create something like five card Nancy, creating surreal three panel strips from random images.

I haven't done that though, so here's two panels from No. 1 Best pal, which is about beards and hats.

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