Sunday, February 05, 2006

Carrot for Girls by Matthew Thurber

Carrot for Girls is 16 tabloid-sized pages of the funniest and astonishing comics you will ever see. Brooklyn based artist Thurber creates an alternate world peopled by punk rockers, oversized tabby cats, gods, supermarket cashiers and homeless people.

The tabloid size gives Thurber more than adequate room to stretch his artistic limbs and he makes the most of it. Abandoning traditional panel structure, he drops drawings and captions naturally on the page. Carrot for Girls is a collection of semi-related stories grounded in the fictional pamphlet purchased outside a Crass concert in 1980. The pamphlet, “Carrot for Girls,” identified different forms that surf the astral plane, which is actually a tubular shaped phenomena that opens into a checkerboard pattern. Out of the checkerboard pattern, the various forms tumble into the pit of a classic punk show.

The main character, Glucose Toreador, was present at that Crass show in 1980 and he bought the Carrot pamphlet. Shortly afterwards he meets a tabby cat that walks on it’s hind legs. The tabby explains the rules of the carrot and why the molecular structure is especially inviting to enzymes that are produced more readily in girls. So, you’ve got your title explanation, but then Thurber abandons his title story for an excuse to draw fantastical figures and short one-page stories.
Image from USS Catastrophe, because I can't fit this beast into my scanner.
“Interrogating the Joker” or “Have You Seen the New Batman?” shows Batman de-toxing in the Batmobile and Alfred typing in his blog. It’s absurd, but where else do you see Batman crash his car just outside the Batcave while Alfred refuses to let him in. Following this story, Thurber crafts a few large poster-like images echoing classic psychedelic posters from the late 1960s. Inside of the larger pictures, you’ll find details and side trips that seem to have no place or purpose, but part of the fun in Carrots is exploring the side trips. There’s little of substance in something like “How Many Gods Do You Know Personally,” but Thurber’s art is so pleasant to look at that you don’t mind the detour. In fact, Carrot for Girls is a detour away from the mundane “chained to the plot no matter what” comics. Thurber may start out in one direction only to double back when the mood strikes him. He’s having fun drawing these stories and it shows on every page.

Carrot for Girls is a 16-page black and white tabloid comic. A regular edition is $5 and a signed and numbered edition with a painting is $15. You can pick up a copy of Carrot at the Ganzfeld website or at USS

Also check out Matthew's website. That title page makes me very hapy and confused.

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