The Blab of Comics
Monte Beauchamp was the editor of Blab!, a comics magazine that regularly featured articles on the history of illustration and graphic design. The early issues were published by Kitchen Sink Press. Issues #9–18 were published annually by Fantagraphics Books. In 2003, Chronicle Books published the book collection New & Used Blab!. Then, in 2010, Beauchamp launched and Last Gasp published the first issue of the hardcover BlabWorld—the result of “my having curated a half-dozen mp. He grew to “really enjoy singular imagery presented within a gallery setting and decided to try to capture that experience within a publication that still retained the verve of Blab! which I self-published in 1986 as a one-shot collection of essays about E.C. comics by the underground cartoonists. Unbeknowst to me at the time was that Blab! would begin to take on a life of its own and evolve into a professional anthology with a much broader scope.”
Blab World 2 is now published. So I asked Beauchamp to tell us a little more about this impressive collection of young and old, known and unknown comics artists:
To start, why is it called BlabWorld?
Because a key component of each volume is singular imagery from around the globe. It was that worldy aspect that, in turn, gave way to the name.
What have been for you the highlights of all Blab and Blab World issues? And of this new one?
BlabWorld is an orchestrated effort, so the highlight of each issue is the entire package itself. I strive to create a visual symphony so to speak, in which a particular talent plays a particular part within the context of the entire design. If I were to single out a highlight it would be its full-color, large, hardcover format, for which I have Colin and Ron Turner at Last Gasp to thank.
Article on Fred Stonehouse
What makes BlabWorld distinct from other mags about or on comics?
That we’re actually not a publication about comics, yet manage to radiate a comics vibe. For example, Gary Taxali’s cover for the new issue. Gary makes his living as an illustrator and fine artist, yet his work radiates a comics motif. BlabWorld is a kaleidoscope of many genres of art: cartoon, comic book, carnivalesque, naive, outsider, collage, illustration, printmaking, lowbrow, what have you.
Adolf’s Aberration by Nora Krug
How and where do you find your contributors?
Everywhere — books, mags, CD covers, gallery shows, packaging labels, or just by happenstance. Recently I was reading John Fante’s The Wine of Youth in a Chicago bar, which caught someone’s attention who introduced themself and it led to a discussion about Bukowski and then art. So I showed her the first BlabWorld, which in turn led to her suggesting I check out a talent that I’m very much interested in publishing.
What’s the next volume about?
Lately I’ve been having real interesting dreams, so that’s what I’m gravitating towards — an issue about dreams.
Feature story “The Hereafater” illustration by Ryan Heshka
From “The Hereafter” illustration by Femke Hiemstra
“Liderc” by Andrea Dezso
. Tony Isabella’s 1000 Comic Books You Must Read is now on sale at MyDesignShop.com.