1996: Registry of Death

Registry of Death (1996) by Matt Coyle and Peter Lamb

Well, that’s some introduction by Poppy Z. Brite. (And whatever happened to her? Brite was hot shit back in the 90s, but I can’t remember Brite being mentioned for quite a while…) Ah:

His later work moved into the genre of dark comedy, with many stories set in the New Orleans restaurant world.

Oh! Some pages from this were published in Death Rattle — I don’t know whether it was announced that it was an excerpt or not, but if so, I missed it. Well, now it makes more sense how odd that piece was.

Kitchen Sink had a pretty distinct aesthetic, and then Tundra had a very different one… but Kitchen Sink at this point seems to be growing a new aesthetic, somewhat different from the previous two. I guess it’s a post Crow aesthetic? They’re leaning into portentous writing, is what I’m saying.

But man, the artwork here is amazeballs. And by artwork, I mean rendering. The pages look like they’ve been collaged on a computer (was this before Photoshop?), adjusted/distorted, and then used as the basis for these drawings. They’re compositions that I don’t think anybody would have come up with by just starting to sketch on a blank page? But what do I know.

It’s really striking, though, so I can understand Kitchen Sink wanting to publish this (by two young guys from Australia — the artist was just out of art school). But striking as it is, I can’t really see many people buying this.

And not because People Have Bad Taste, but because it’s not altogether coherent, and makes for a less than compelling reading experience. I mean, for a first comic, it’s impressive, but the story isn’t compelling, and there’s too many spreads like the above that are pretty much illegible, even if all the separate elements are awesome.

It’s the kind of book that seems as if the writer spent a couple days writing it, and then left the artist to draw it for two years. I.e., the story could have used some more depth. And work put into it.

I’m unable to find any reviews of this book on the intertubes.

This is the one hundred and ninety-fifth post in the Entire Kitchen Sink blog series.

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