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Weasel #7: Underbelly
posted March 11, 2005
Fantagraphics, 60 pages (a couple of gatefolds), $22.95
Dave Cooper's artistic development has gotten to a weird point where it's actually easier to figure how far he's come when he does things like stories for DC's Bizarro series. Harnessed (barely) in a standard narrative, Cooper's art becomes revealed as its own subversive tool, a way of depicting the female form that counts less on exaggeration of any single body part but a kind of giving over to all of them, right down to the shiny, blotchy and even wrinkled stretches of skin. I lack the critical ability in terms of figuring out what art does to make more sense of the seventh, hardback, coffee table artbook-issue of Cooper's Weasel
series than to say it's surprisingly fun to look at it his mad, fleshy creatures, even when they're terrifying, which is to say most of the time. The one I like best is "Cycle," a large spread of snake-like brunettes consuming clueless blondes, with spirits ripping from their bellies to make new babies. If you read a lot of comics, you might see Cooper working with one effect or another and wonder for a moment if you're responding in the same way to a lesser degree in a Harvey book, or in an Archie, or in a superhero comic, and you come away kind of concerned. Find this one in your shop or at a big summer convention to look at it, at the very least.