Born in Wisconsin, Jim Knipfel was a staff writer at the now-defunct weekly alternative newspaper New York Press for thirteen years, where wrote the long-running and popular "Slackjaw" column, a cynical, misanthropic look at daily life. He is the author of ten books, including Slackjaw, …
Co Mix a Retrospective of Comics Graphics and Scraps
Published by Drawn and Quarterly
136p, color, hardcover, 9"x13.5"
Despite the fact I disagree with nearly everything I've heard him say about art in the last six or so years, I'll say that anyone interested in contemporary comics probably owes Art Spiegelman a dollar or two. Over 20 years after it's release, Maus remains a great entrance point into graphic novels and his editorship of RAW was a guiding force in popularizing the flexibility of the comics medium.
Co-Mix is a collection of his personal comics and illustration work and what's very much on display here is that his sense of innovation is rooted in an almost obscene reverence for history. This shapes- and definately restricts- the way he approaches the medium and the conversations he has within it. Visually he delights in formal experimentation in ways that still remain devoutly tethered to the look and feel of other people's styles. His forays into deconstructing these gestures are respectable, but I also find them hit-or-miss (same goes for his approach to political statement illustrations). This book does open up a brain valve in the sense that you see someone who is whip smart and hyper-opinionated struggle to place their own work in the context of all the history they know. This is an intellectual body of work that is scrambling to find its intuition; acutely aware of it power of "soul" while furious at its elusiveness. -EF