Salome's Last Dance by Daria Tessler / ISBN 9781683967767 / 56-page hardback, 8.8 × 11.4 inches, b/w printing, published in 2023 by Fantagraphics
An absurdist, psychedelic crime fantasy / graphic novella from an acclaimed artist and printmaker.
The Astounding Magnus has been hypnotizing audiences at the Feedbag cocktail bar with his resplendent dancing dog act, Salome, and her “Serpentine Dance of the Seven Veils.” Yet despite his success, the pearl of life has lost its luster for Magnus. He visits the psychologist, Dr. Silkini, who promises to massage Magnus’s id into a higher dimension: the pearly gates of full life satisfaction. Meanwhile, Salome’s crowd-pleasing performances have attracted unwanted attention from sinister forces who want to know the dog’s secret.
Daria Tessler’s new graphic novella, Salome’s Last Dance, showcases her phenomenal talent for incorporating elements of collage and pen-and-ink illustration to create a beautifully phantasmagoric experience under the guise of an absurdist, psychedelic fantasy (including an extended visual tour de force depicting a hallucinogenic tea trip), one that favorably compares to Yellow Submarine or the comics of Jim Woodring. Tessler’s rich ear for language and sharp sense of humor also liven every inventively stunning page of Salome’s Last Dance.
"Tessler is a maximalist, a subscriber to the more-is-more aesthetic, yet her horror vacui approach never gets claustrophobic. Moments in [her work] will make even the sanest reader wonder if Tessler — whose previous, shorter works illuminated ancient curses and the magical recipes of Albertus Magnus — knows something mere mortals don't." — The New York Times
"Tessler's art has always existed at a self-created intersection between archaeology and alchemy, piecing together folkloric texts and historical artifacts in order to conjure something unique from disparate elements…[Her work] feels very much like a vision channeled from a cosmic source beyond the reach of most of us mere mortals." — Four Color Apocalypse
Daria Tessler is a cartoonist and printmaker based in Portland, OR.