Brendan McGinley explores the underpinnings of Gary Panter's experimental autobriographical sketchbook and discusses the merits of Tony Ott's Panopticum..
Gary Panter’s autobiographical sketchbook of places he’s been and things he’ve seen brings to mind Shel Silverstein drawings without the pointillism, or maybe James Thurber sketches.
They’re roughs to be sure, but there’s actually pretty tight draftsmanship and proportions in some of the vistas of cobbled streets or ornate bird cages.
Don’t be fooled by the scratchy handwriting, which is looser than the art itself. This is a carefully drawn book.
Good horror is hard to sustain. Stories are about asking questions, with the implicit promise they’ll be answered, and horror is about the unknown.
Revealing information breeds a familiarity that undermines the suspense. Cheers, then, to Panopticum, Thomas Ott’s creepy little cylinder that packs five shots into its chambers.
Bang, you’re dead.
Framed by a girl at a penny arcade viewing these ghastly tales, the book tells in-and-out stories that are downright mean, as good horror should be, though there’s also the beneficial touch of humor. There’s no dialogue, in keeping with the silent shows played at old carnivals.
The best is probably the last story, whether or not you see it coming. It leaves the reader hungry, but as time goes by, more and more sated. May Cthulu and whoever else lurks out there continue to bless Ott’s monstrous mind.
Brendan McGinley is a long-time writer for ComicBase. His comic favorites include anything featuring Grim Jack, Punisher, Guy Gardner, Green Lantern, or written buy Evan Dorkin, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Deadpool… and the list goes on. But he insists he is of discriminating tastes.