Eye of the Majestic Creature

By Leslie Stein (Fantagraphics Books)
ISBN: 978-1-60699-413-9

Help Wanted: Girl cartoonist seeks meaning of contemporary existence and like minded individuals to share bewilderment and revelations with.

Interests/Hobbies include: drinking, counting sand, growing stuff, antiquing for pop culture “trash”, drinking, meaningful conversations with musical instruments, playing board games with same, recreational herbal intoxicants, reminiscing about wild-times with gal-pals and old cronies, drinking, visiting difficult relatives…

After graduating from the New York School of Visual Arts Leslie Stein began producing unbelievably addictive cartoon strips in the self-published Yeah, It Is. Winning a Xeric Grant for her efforts, she started the even better comicbook Eye of the Majestic Creature, blending autobiographical self-discovery, surreal free-association, philosophical ruminations, nostalgic reminiscences and devastatingly dry wit to describe life filtered through a seductive meta-fictional interior landscape. This lady laconically tans under vastly different suns and the results are enchanting and entrancing.

This volume collects the first four issues in a dreamy, beautifully realised manner of visual mood-music – loose, flowing line-work, detailed stippling, hypnotic pattern-building and honest-to-gosh, representational line-drawing, each at the most appropriate juncture – eschewing chronological narrative for a easy, breezy epigrammatic mode of delivery.

As seen in the opening vignettes ‘The Country is Calling!’, ‘Seashell Arrives’ and ‘Someone is Yelling At Me over the Phone: You Are Disgusting!’ Larrybear is a girl deliberately and determinedly on her own, trying to establish her uniquely singular way of getting by. She has friends (most especially her talking guitar Marshmallow) interests and ambitions of a sort, but just isn’t looking for an average life, just more companions to share with …

In ‘Fun Time with “I Eat Peanut Butter Between Naps”’ the cast expands as Larrybear goes walkabout, beginning with house-sitting for some very individualistic friends…

Encountering ‘Insanity at Every Turn’ she travels across America to visit her difficult family in Chicago and very-welcome old school friends, taking in San Francisco too before settling for New York in ‘Back For More’

Delivered in mesmerising, oversized (7½ x 11″/192 x 280mm) black & white, these incisive, absurdist, whimsically charming and pictorially intoxicating invitations into a singularly creative mind and fabulous alternative reality are a glorious rewarding cartoon experience and one no serious fan of fun can afford to miss.

© 2011 Leslie Stein. All Rights Reserved.