Comics Time: ALT COMICS

ALT COMICS
Editor unknown, to me at least, but it sure seems like a Comets Comets production
May 2010-present
Read it at altcomics.tumblr.com

“Comics is any art you can read.”—Sean T. Collins

Seen through an RSS reader, the Tumblr dashboard, or the crisply laid out collection of thumbnails that is its Tumblr archive, ALT COMICS is like any other image-based tumblelog. Viewed at its own address? It’s a black hole. Hold down the spacebar and you’ll rapidly scroll through literally thousands of images, frequently but by no means entirely of the “alt comics” persuasion, with the many many images that aren’t sort of averaging out in that direction. But they’re not meant to be sampled as eye candy, or as proof of the blogger’s excellent taste. Each one is blown up to the same massive screen-spanning size regardless of its original size, scale, or resolution. The result digitally distorts many of the images, makes most of them far too big to take in all at once, and erases any of the tumblr artifacts — permalinks, note counts, tags, sources — that tell you where one post ends and the other begins. The result? Pure images, pure juxtaposition, stripped of almost any context other than what’s immediately visible on the screen at the moment, and the cumulative effect of the accumulation of those moments. Taking that endless scroll to the blog’s all but unreachable bottom is a journey into the sheer pleasure of seeing lines on paper (or “paper”), seeing words mixed up with art, seeing styles collide and fracture and explode and detourne and corrode. It also invites you to deduce a method to the madness. Are the giant photos of James Kochalka, Jeffrey Brown, Matt Madden & Jessica Abel, and the Harkham/Crane/Ryan/Hernandez/Regé/Santoro L.A. comics crew intended as the equivalent of Johnny Rotten’s “I HATE PINK FLOYD” shirt? Which does the author of the blog like more: Jonny Negron or Goodnight Moon, Chris Ware or some poorly photoshopped internet-age visual noise, Scott Pilgrim or Harold Gray, a Devo album cover or the cast of Daria, Scott McCloud or Dr. Manhattan or Olivier Schrauwen or page after page of Blaise Larmee or or or or or…? Pure images isn’t even the right term for it — presented without comment or context, one size fits all, a digital haze rendering craft more or less moot as a reference point, you’re looking at the idea of images more than images themselves. That’s telling. It’s also telling that this project of re-presenting other people’s image-ideas is perhaps the strongest work I’ve seen from the Co-Mix crew so far.

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