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Take the Red Eye Press Line To Bethesda
Experimental Books Mark SPX

As East Coast fans prepare for the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, less than two weeks away, it seems only appropriate to give a push to a publisher on the verge that we encountered at San Diego.

Red Eye Press will be launching two experimental books at the SPX as both a thank you to the show and a challenge to lovers of comics that aren't the usual fare.

The Conversation seems to be appropriating William S. Burroughs' cut and paste technique, in which artist David Hedgecock drew the panels, then gave them to writer Dan Wickline to assemble in any order he pleased. Narrative was the last actual step in this story of two old friends meeting.

"None of the standard comic rules applied," said Wickline. "I let the characters take the story where they wanted it to go and the cut and paste process made it easy for the art to follow." "I'm very interested to see not only people's reactions but whether other artist/writer team might adopt and adapt this cut and paste approach for their own work," said co-publisher A. David Lewis. "Heck, I might even do it."

Lewis' publishing partner Daniel Cooney agrees. "I like the premise and the execution of the story. Dan Wickline is a great guy and having a book completed prior to approaching Red Eye Press really takes no effort on our part to see how it's going to work." Though The Conversation is a departure from Red Eye Press' usual fare, their other SPX debut is not. Sort of. Mortal Coils Presents "The Line" is an 8-page color episode from their regular black and white anthology comic, Mortal Coils. Spanish artist Jesus Barony paints Lewis' tale of loss of all kinds - including the supernatural.

"Originally, the plan had been to put it online for free then include it as a color supplement in the first Mortal Coils trade paperback," commented Lewis. "However, with this year's SPX on the horizon and the work turning out so beautifully (with cover art by James Woodward), I just had to get it out, even if a low cover-price and atypical size would spell no profit for me.

"Given their indy-minded approach," he continued, "I figured if there was any audience that would give this sampling of Mortal Coils a try, it would be the SPX folks."

Qualifying for the Best Debut Comic Ignatz award, "The Line" offers "...a nice, short vignette -- with great art -- that's fun," enthuses Lewis.

In addition to these books, of course, Cooney and Lewis will have copies of their regular titles, Valentine and Mortal Coils, on hand. See our profile of them for more information on those books.

SPX will be held September 5 through 7 at the Holiday Inn in Bethesda. For more information, check out their site.

Derek McCaw

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