Blab!, Vol. 15
edited by Monte Beauchamp
(Fantagraphics, 2004)

Its press release claims that BLAB! is "the preeminent anthology of the graphic design and illustration arts." It also claims that this coffee-table edition showcases fine art, illustration and comix featuring a diverse jumble of counterculture [i.e. liberal] artists.

In other words, most of the art looks like your worst nightmare after you've dropped acid. It intentionally warps reality.

That statement isn't criticism, but an observation of intent. Even art that attempts to accurately duplicate reality fails to do so.

So BLAB! is a collection of one- to eight-page vignettes focusing on abstract, comics-based art with only a taste of prose. If you prefer art over counter-cultural comment, and art that is post-modernistic, surrealistic, cubistic or "just-splatters-of-color-istic," this is the time for you to jump up and down for joy.

But if you are really expecting a coffee-table anthology of fine art, you'll be disappointed. Instead of the artistic children of Picasso, Dali, Monet and artists who live on contemporary museum walls, you'll find the close cousins of Zap and other underground "hippie" comics from the 1960s.

There is no comment here on BLAB! dialogue, plot, characterization or storytelling because there is too little to critique. Still, if you don't mind nudity and profanity, BLAB! is recommended for adults.

by Michael Vance
27 May 2006

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