“This Garbage is All From the Early 90’s”
Review by BK Munn
Blob Top #Two
by Seth Scriver
Colour Code Press
I love this comic because I love digging for junk.
Seth Scriver is an underground artist known for his decade-and-a-half’s worth of oddball drawings and comics. D+Q published his Stooge Pile in 2010 but he mostly produces self-published artists books. Most recently, he co-directed Asphalt Watches, an animated film documenting a cross-Canada hitchhiking trip he took with fellow artist Shane Ehman.
Scriver’s specialty is surrealist studies of lumpy, blob-like beings, exquisitely rendered using airbrush and, as if the title of this irregularly-published series didn’t give it away, Blob Top #2 doesn’t disappoint. The more-or-less singular narrative follows a ragtag group of anarchistic “diggers” in an excavation of an abandoned property, slated for demolition to make way for another Toronto condo development. The group finds lots of absolute junk and ephemera and a few actual miniature “treasures,” including blasted antique currency and a beat-up bronze bust, all while dodging cops, security guards, and sketchy vagrants. I identified quite a bit with the heroes of this adventure because of my own years spent digging through the effluvia of pop culture, looking for good comics, and from my years of buying and selling junk/collectibles to earn my daily bread. As a result of these hobbies, I’m quite intimate with several dust-addled “bottle diggers” who obsess over accumulating broken glassware from defunct Ontario distilleries and soda-makers, always keeping their eyes peeled for construction sites and newly-tilled gardens that might hide old garbage dumps or outhouses. These guys are hardcore, but they don’t quite physically resemble the “wise digging hillbilly gnomes” delineated here by Scriver, with their characteristic rotten-tomato-shaped heads and fiddlehead, Great-Gonzo-styled noses, speaking in hushed buck-toothed whispers of the legendary cache of “tokens” hidden in the dirt of “the crawl-space”.
The book is a beautiful shambling mess, mostly done as cartoon line-drawings but broken up with psychedelic airbrush portraits of whimsical, critique-of-late-capitalism-style condos and decaying wildlife, all printed via swampy green and orange risograph. The ink on the cover is troweled on so thick that the comic sports a special “This Issue Slightly Sticky” sticker, giving the whole enterprise a wonderful “tacky” tactility. The publisher is Colour Code Printing, the eclectic Toronto outfit responsible for an issue of Benjamin Marra’s Terror Assaulter OMWOT and international superstar Marc Bell’s Boutique Mag #1. I foresee greatness for all involved.