Meskin and Umezo by Austin English / 76-page, full color, 9 x 12 inch paperback published by Domino Books / last copies, sold out at Domino
Two friends meet each other every week, in an attempt to pay lip service to some minimal form of communication, with wildly varying degrees of importance to either of them. On one particular meeting, a series of statements leads them to a pivotal idea. Images repeat and duplicate themselves, as do phrases and conversational contradiction, spiraling inward to an inevitable cruel (though markedly uncynical) center.
Praise for Austin English's previous books Gulag Casual and Tanti Affetti:
"Recalling the grotesque oil paintings of Claus Castenskiold...English’s use of colored pencils is distinctly smudgy and grimy, while his attacks on perspective, sometimes aided by collaged insertions of additional material drawn by the artist, untether us from the picture plane." -Matt Sussman, Art in America
"Strangers, creeps, and loners stalk the pages of English’s latest stories, rendered in vivid, expressive pencil and brushwork. Dirty erasures, tense scrawls, and compulsive stretches of pattern seethe with intensity and urgency and rub up against profound bewilderment." -Chantal McStay, Bomb Magazine, selecting Gulag Casual as one of the best books of 2016.
"Quite a tour de force. Reading through Gulag Casual is something like a cross between flipping through an exceptional artist's private, experimental sketchbook and looking at pieces of art hung up in a Chelsea gallery. The colors, shapes, textures, and narrative snippets are unexpected, and the images and moods depicted throughout somehow appeal through their gruesomeness." -Tahneer Oksman, The Comics Journal, selecting Gulag Casual as one of the best books of 2016.
"English has risked the consequences of deviating from the familiar, he has crafted through art a singular, satisfying response to the mysteries and vagaries of life...Gulag, in its originality and execution, is an expansion of human possibilities." -Bob Levin, The Comics Journal