It’s a tradition now. Every new issue of Derek Van Gieson’s Eel Mansions requires a critics round table dissecting the themes and pop cultural minutiae that snake (eel?) their way through each issue. Keith Silva and Daniel Elkin and company are up to issue 4 now. Here are a few things they say:
Eel Mansions is the closest thing to being inside another person’s head I can get, and I love it. I adore the six-panel pages, thematic establishing shots for what has come, what will come, what you wish might come. The oscillation between South Park-level expressive grotesquerie and faces like those I see every day. I can see why you guys find cannon-balling into the depths so rewarding, and like all good works you get out what you put in, but for me, Eel Mansions is an indie soap opera, too smart for cliffhangers or page-turn reveals, but nevertheless dependent on the well placed non-sequitur.
If you can’t pick ”the Mick Fleetwood statue” out of a Hellscape Bert and Chee Chee find themselves in than you don’t get it and won’t get it and that’s O.K.
Think of the Doomin P.S.A in this issue where the figure bemoans how Motown has been ruined for him(?) by corporate consumerism and over-exposure. The Doomin Dancers step in to reveal the beautiful belly underneath the behemoth. The gritty gems of R. Dean Taylor, the bat shit crazy drama of The Hit Pack, Chris Clark’s haunting “I Want To Go Back There Again” — the sound track to Eel Mansions is a love letter to the possibilities the individual creator can bring, even within the concrete dictates of corporate culture. The independent artist will always find a way. Van Gieson has all of his narrative layers infused with this realization, the heartbeat of creation, the procreant urge (again) of love.
Read the whole thing here.
Also, don’t forget that issue 5 was just released!