Caleb Orecchio here with thoughts on comics by Matt Seneca, and other news.
Flipping through my some of my magazine-sized comics, I ran into my copies of Matt Seneca’s Trap; The Magazine About Drugs. Seneca is someone who I feel like doesn’t get talked about enough. Below are some thoughts:
Matt Seneca‘s comics are painfully brutal and at times seem gratuitously so. His work reads like the cartoonist has been to hell and back. The work never flinches, never covering up the grotesquely violent or sexually perverse. It has been a while since I have read a cartoonist’s work that is so consistently visceral.
I think a lot of people know Seneca from the podcast Comic Books Are Burning in Hell and his comics criticism. I was a bit suspicious when I heard he was also a cartoonist AND a critic, but the latter he is no longer unless you count the podcast. I was pleasantly surprised by his comics. Though at first glance they seem a bit rugged, his storytelling is what won me over at first.
Seneca’s religious horror epic 200 Deaf Boys is a very conscious and complete story, a quality that seems to be lost on most self-published cartoonists (or really most comics makers in general); and though many would argue that Seneca’s drawing is a bit lack luster, I would argue that it gets exponentially better with each comic he makes–particularly when he uses color.
In his latest and greatest work so far, Trap: The Magazine About Drugs vol. 2 no. 3: Frankie Teardrop, Seneca reaches new personal bests. He continues, as he’s always done, to not draw panel borders. This technique really comes to life in this particular strip where he will often alternate colors within a panel, rendering the use of borders unnecessary. He also expands on his use of not automatically using black lines as outlines. The color and use of black are one and the same for Seneca which makes for really nice and bright images that feel loose and alive.
Not a lot, that I can find, has been written about Seneca’s comics. The links on his tumblr to reviews have been moved, removed or deleted. Like I said before, his work is riddled with the brutally violent and sexually explicit. Their is a lot of pain and anger in his work–but it is all completely and utterly earnest with little irony which gives his stories a sense of reality that the most autobiographic of cartoonists struggle to render.
Seneca has an upcoming comic called The Infinite Prison. It looks great and the pencils already suggest that it will be awesome. Excited to see how it turns out.
if you don’t know, now you know
- Never Comes Tomorrow – Frank Santoro, our illustrious founder/editor-in-chief, is raising some money for a book-making project, and is offering a good deal of historical comics documents in support of this. Please consider helping out.
- Check out the latest episodes of Study Group’s Process Party. The latest guest being Darryl Ayo and Gina Wynbrandt.
- There was a fair amount of hubbub around Rich Tommaso’s recent lamentations on the poor amount of comic shops ordering his latest book. Seems like he took a breath and talked a bit about it with Aaron McPherson on TCJ.com.
- Not sure how I feel about this League of Regrettable Heroes stuff, but Heidi Macdonald’s interview with the author at least has me intrigued.
- SPX is almost upon us. This will be my first year attending and look forward to the experience. Check out their site and read up on what’s happening with the show this year.
- I like hearing when libraries intensify their focuses on comics.
- The people in Salt Lake City have spoken!
Suzy and Cecil – 8-14-2017 – by Gabriella Tito