Ages ago, I read a BoingBoing.net post about this comic that looked like none I had ever seen. It was called “Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse” and it was one of the oddest things I’ve ever clapped eyes on. I ordered it, read it, and went “oh, shit.” You see, I loved it, and I knew that comics, especially the nice slick book-looking ones like this were an expensive hobby. So I left it at that one volume.
Eventually, when I started dating Mr. Elusive New Reader, and we had reached the stage of making nervous, giggly, exploratory book recommendations to each other. Having ascertained that he was not squeamish, prudish, or put off by dark humor, I tossed Wormwood vol. 1 at him, blithely saying “oh, you might like this”. And oh, he did. In record time, he bought more Wormwoods, and we’re still adding. Sadly, salaries don’t keep up with bibliophilia.
And it occurs to me now that above my desk, watching me as I type, is a Templesmith print signed “congrats on getting hitched”, which the spousal unit got me at Comiccon. So yes, Mr. and I have sort of used this guy’s artwork to get into each other’s pants. And hearts. Mostly pants. I’m sure he’d be happy* about that.
So why did I cotton onto Templesmith’s work, which extends far beyond the madcap Wormy One and friends? His style has the great combination of being what I call “well informed” (read: capable of actual art!) and having a sense of humor. The dude has serious creative abilities, in addition to seeming mildly unhinged. I admire the work put into art, however “silly” it may be to some. And that goes from his skill in the actual architectural/anatomical work to the visceral suggestion of the style: The Wormwood series, for instance, has this feeling of being grimy (in a good way, I swear), organic, moist…it’s hard to suggest feelings, much less something so weird. I suppose anyone could draw a drunken, stripteasing leprechaun, or murderous space squid-men, but who else can make you “feel” their skin or…secretions? (Just go read the books, it will become clear).
So, overall, I approve heartily. This guy’s work is wildly creative, quite different from the mental template I had previous had for “comic” or “graphic novel”. Go forth and marvel:
*By “happy” I mean slightly queasy.