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The Ganzfeld Presents The Hobbit
posted November 18, 2005
 

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Creators: Marc Bell, Peter Thompson
Publishing Information: The Ganzfeld Store Through PictureBox Inc., 16 pages, $5/$15, 2005
Ordering Numbers:

A notice on the back page of this tabloid-sized and formatted book of drawings states, "This publication was made possible in part by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (US of A). You sure don't see that every day. And you don't see comics like The Hobbit, either. What looks to be a sequel of mini-comics clustered around the theme of each book from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, this is basically an excuse to draw some funny, wild pictures using a few things taken from the book (only one of the artists has read it), some absurd riffs on the way the book has kind of seeped into the public consciousness, and playing around with some of the bigger, more obvious elements of this kind of work, period.

I think it works best as simply a collection of oversized, goofy, cartoon drawings -- buildings jutting out of people's bodies, grossly oversized features, small jokes written in and out of the margins. I mean, if there really is a story in there, maybe one has to hold the thing up to the moon to read it, because I'm not seeing it this morning. However, if you're interested in Marc Bell or his approach to art, this is probably a must-have. Looking at artists' drawing projects can be very interesting because their areas of concentration generally become outsized. At the same time, The Hobbit reminds me of that period in time when Tolkien's fantasy had become popular but was still decidedly weird stuff, hard to comprehend, the look a couple of Hildebrandt Brothers calendars away from being set in stone. With objects of geek fascination invading the cultural mainstream, it's difficult to remember there was a time when profane and absurd reactions to this sort of material, not too far away from what's going on here, was pretty common.

The $15 version contains a collage made out of copies of the actual book.