09 March 2006

PROPS: Gingko Press

I've still not gotten around to doing a New York Comic-Con wrapup, here or at PopCultureShock -- my week-late Establishing Shots column may get written in time for next week, if I'm lucky -- as there's several comics I picked up that I want to read first, but I wanted to give props to one book in particular:

Alphabet City: Out on the Streets, by Michael De Feo. It's an ABC board book with a twist, as De Feo opts for presenting a mix of typical and offbeat words in unusual locations. ie: "F" is represented by a simple, hand-drawn flower on white paper, pasted to the base of an NYC lamp post. The photo is taken from a knee-level perspective, with the front of a car in the immediate background, and a busy side street behind it. The silver paint on the lamp post is chipped in several places, and a few promotional stickers are visible. Several other pictures include paintings of beach balls, hot dogs and quail against the side of a dumpster and faded, graffiti-covered walls. In all of them, the gritty personality of the city comes through, and from a visual perspective, are far more interesting and relevant to my kids than Dr. Seuss' made-up words. Not dissing the great Dr., mind you; just saying De Feo's presentation is more appealing for those in an urban environment.

Anyway, it was a totally random discovery at the Gingko Press booth, a publisher I was unfamiliar with that I came across while strolling the exhibition floor on Sunday. Gingko was one of several exhibitors who stood out to me for not being one of the usual suspects, and for putting the many indie-wannabes displaying their superhero-derivatives to shame.

I also picked up S. A. Harkham's Poor Sailor there, another title that I knew nothing about but was impressed by its superior production values and simple but beautiful artwork as I flipped through it. Small and square, each page contains a single panel, most without any dialogue or narration, and is currently sitting at the top of my to-read pile that I'm hoping to tackle this weekend.

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