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Monday, February 26

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Book Club
« Chicagoan? Or Chicagoish? Confession Time »

Profiles Tue Mar 06 2007

Beasts! Found in Chicago!

by Kara Luger

BEASTS_finalcover.jpgThere are many things to be afraid of in this world: sickness, global warming, the next Britney Spears freakout. Although Beasts! is a monster of a compendium, featuring nearly 100 of the frightening and lamentable critters, it is luckily the least of your worries.

Lovingly curated by Jacob Covey, the book features artists from various fields — graphic novelists, children's books illustrators, fine artists, rock poster-makers, skate graphics guys, etc. — who were assembled to give lend their visage. A brief bio accompanies each beast, so the book is informational as well as, you know, cool.

In celebration of the book's release, a whole slew of Chicago-area contributors will be on-hand to sign copies of Beasts!, including Dan Grzeca, Jason Robards, The Little Friends of Printmaking, Anders Nilsen, Julie Murphy and Justin B. Williams. The shindig goes down at 7pm on Friday, March 9, at Quimby's, 1854 W. North Ave.

I spoke with JW and Melissa Buchanan of The Little Friends of Printmaking about the travails of their adopted beast, the unfortunate Hundred-Handed Giant.

Kara Luger: How did you choose which beast to do?
The Little Friends of Printmaking: We picked it from a big long list. It was like a nine-page document with little descriptions. We tried to read it and respond as fast as possible because we felt like it was a race. Stephan Britt had already taken the troll, so we were like, "Oh, snap."

I think it's a good way to get artists to participate in a book: to create competitive pandemonium, and to have them fight to the death over who gets to doodle a Bigfoot.

click to enlarge KL: What did you find attractive or interesting about the Hundred-Handed Giant?

LFOP: We narrowed it down to about five different monsters, but we ended up choosing the Hundred-Handed Giant because it would be the most fun to draw. We read somewhere that they were kind of stupid, which is endearing.

KL: Your beast doesn't seem as fearsome as he is misunderstood.
LFOP: I think that he's a functional illiterate and he has a hard time controlling his rage. The existence of the Internet is an enormous insult to him because he can't read it. Also, he can't go to the movies because he is always naked. So definitely, he's misunderstood.

KL: The beasts in the book are typically mythological/folkloric in nature (i.e. non-modern). What is a modern beast you'd like to portray?
LFOP: We really want to do a drawing of a labradoodle, which is half-lion, half-suicide bomber and covered in sh*t.

KL: What's on the horizon for Little Friends?
LFOP: The sweet embrace of death. For you Chicago people, we're going to be in We're Rollin',They're Hatin', a show during VersionFest7 that also features the likes of Cody Hudson and Paper Rad. Otherwise, some toys and the usual.

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