Tuesday, January 10, 2006

This Artist Is Good - Terry LaBan

I understand that a good deal of these pieces may be a bit, how you say, self-evident, but there is always a sizable group of people who do NOT know of a certain artist, so I think it's always worth pointing out the great artists we have in our midsts.

Like Terry LaBan.

LaBan has not done a great deal of comic book work, to be honest, as he is mainly an editorial cartoonist (as well as one half of the creative team on the syndicated comic strip, Edge City...his wife is the other half, natch). However, during the period from 1989 to 1998, LaBan did Unsupervised Existence and Cud for Fantagraphics and then Cud Comics for Dark Horse Comics.

All in all, we're only talking perhaps 20 comic books in total, but those twenty comics left quite a lasting impression upon me (and from what I have read, on a number of other people).

The main impression you get from LaBan's work is FUN.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

He is just a flatout FUN artist.

What I like about him the best is how he writes these normal, "slice of life" stories without any hint of making the art itself "true to life." The stories are slices of life, the art works to evoke moods and feelings, not a snapshot of the events.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

See? It is definitely like a cartoon, with the distorted figures, but a true-to-life cartoon (which makes absolutely no sense, I know...hehe).

I wish I had more of his sequential art to show you, to really get across what I'm talking about, but sadly, I do not have any of it. Luckily, these covers to Dark Horse's Cud Comics also get across a lot of the same effect.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Look at the attention to detail in the background, while still making sure that the detail is as wacky as everything else in the image. It is like a really weird Archie comic.

Speaking of wacky, like I said before, LaBan is willing to go there...

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

So yeah, Terry LaBan, a good artist (and what's even MORE impressive is that he's probably a better writer than he is an artist!!!). Here's some links to purchase his stuff.

Love's Not a Three Dollar Fare: More Stories from Unsupervised Existence

International Bob

Eno and Plum

Well worth checking out!

But in case you don't want to listen to me, how about award-winning comic creator Alex Robinson?
Brian Cronin: If someone has finished collecting all of your work, are there any other "lesser known" comics out there that you would recommend, if people liked your style?
Alex Robinson: Terry Laban was a big influence on "Box Office Poison."
Alex Robinson: I think Fantagraphics might have some collections of his in print. One's called "Love's Not A Three Dollar Fare."
Would Alex Robinson steer you wrong? I say thee nay!!

Read More


Blogger Jog said...

It's too bad that LaBan's long serialized story from the Fanta iteration of Cud hasn't been collected - it's not perfect, but it's got some really great individual moments, and I love the guy's art. I've been working my way through the latter Cud Comics material... I'm also partial to Muktuk Wolfsbreath: Hard-Boiled Shaman...

1/10/2006 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Yeah, I don't get that either.

Would it really sell that poorly?

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