Friday, April 2, 2010

Matter Presents #7: Weird Face

By Philip Barrett

Barrett seems to keep coming back to the idea of obsessions in his comics. Perhaps he’s even obsessed with them. The first of his comics that I ever read was about a record that a character became obsessed with. He couldn’t get it out of his head, he listened to it all the time, but he couldn’t really decide what he thought of it. Eventually he gave it away, only to have finding it again become the new obsession.

This comic deals with visual obsessions instead of aural ones, with an artist who keeps creating the same face over and over again. Who is it? What does it mean? The obsession begins to affect his relationship with others. The gallery curator feels that while they “encapsulate [...] the mindless banality of modern culture” he needs more variation before his next show can be started. His lover abandons him, thinking that he cares more about the face than about her.

He moves onto other forms and styles of art, like sculpture, to try to get rid of the face he now sees everywhere. He turns to drink and despair. And then there’s a twist ending that I think I’ve seen in an old science fiction comic somewhere.

I didn’t enjoy this as much as some of Barrett’s other comics, possibly as I feel it’s covering ground he’s gone over before (“But Matthew,” you ask, “you read superhero comics all the time, all they do is go over the same ground all the time.”). Still I think Barrett’s art work is really good. The different styles the artist uses in his work are pretty fun to look at, and I generally enjoy his line and all the cross hatching he does. Plus the way he manages to use expressions to mirror the feelings between different characters is pretty cool.

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