The Ignatz-nominated Francis Bacon by E.A. Bethea is a wonderful, messy stew of introspection, observation, meditation, and wisecracks. Kicked off by a friend’s comment on her resemblance to the artist Francis Bacon, Bethea jaunts through all the big existential questions with style and wit.
Each page is a chunk of text accompanied by beautifully-textured illustration. Every word and line is diamond-honed to slice deep.
I do this comic a disservice with my arid description of technical elements, but any brief summary of Francis Bacon would be a similar disservice. There is a density to the experience rare in comics. The truths in Bethea’s writing are plentiful and profound, yet there’s always a poetic wink to leaven the seriousness. It’s a unique, moving read more potent in its 56 pages than however many hundreds of pounds of chain-store grade graphic novel.
Switching gears slightly: Francis Bacon is published by Domino Books, which is an excellent online store for all sorts of art comics and other printed media. One of my great recent joys is whenever I have a little extra budget going to a site selling art/weird/mini comics and impulse-buying whatever strikes my fancy. Here’s my latest Domino order:
I post this not to brag about my sweet haul as much as to demonstrate the joy of receiving a bundle of eclectic comics by mail. I recommend the habit.