Rich Barrett reviewed Eel Mansions for his column at Mental Floss. “Probably the most Lynchian (as in filmmaker David Lynch) comic to be made since Dan Clowes’ 1993 graphic novel Like A Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, Derek Van Gieson’s Eel Mansions has plenty of Eraserhead’s confusing imagery but with Twin Peaks’ wry sense of humor as well.”
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Derek Van Gieson’s Eel Mansions was mentioned on Laura Sneddon’s blog, comicbookGRRRL, as a stand-out release for January 2015.
Derek Van Gieson’s Eel Mansions received a great review from The 9th Blog. It’s described as “a world of blacks and whites and pseudo-grays and polka dots,” which feels fairly apt.
Derek Van Gieson’s Eel Mansions is a favorite 2014 publication over at Loser City!
Today, we’re offering a short preview of Derek Van Gieson’s Eel Mansions. The book will ship in December. There’s still a chance for you to pre-order the book and receive a special early-bird discount. You can do so at our website.
Concluding a very extensive conversation series, Daniel Elkin and Keith Silva wrote about Eel Mansions #6 over at Comics Bulletin.
You say Eel Mansions #6 “brings it all back home.” While, it could be easy to see this as some sort of Outlaw Blues, I’ll inherently choose track 11, Baby Blue. While Van Gieson is drawing crazy patterns on our sheets, he’s no empty handed painter. A matter of fact, he’s going big, and remember what Janet teaches us in her final Milk City, “If something is big, then it’s art, and if it’s small, it’s not art.” After all, it’s good to keep things simple.
This kind of thinking is inevitable when dealing with something like Eel Mansions, issue six in particular. This train of thought cuts through the snowy mountain passes of traditional narrative and ends up making stops along the way questioning the nature of storytelling and fueling up at the depot concerning what makes comics, comics.
Derek (Eel Mansions) Van Gieson and Edie Overturf recently opened an exhibition with Public Functionary titled “In Search Of …”, and l’étoile, and an interesting Twin Cities arts mag, caught up with them to discuss it.
The premise for In Search Of… revolves around the act of narration and the authenticity and origin of narratives. In it, you’ve created the story of five fictional “tribes,” developed distinctively and secretively from one another and then webbed into a collaboration. Tell us a little more about the concept behind this exhibit.
DVG: Edie and I are both world builders, there’s so much mind digging going on that we aren’t particularly interested in representing what’s directly in front of us, rather, we enjoy combining the past, which is filled with so many versions of truth, fantasy and allegory, with our own imagination. The legends are fact and the facts have no history. It’s an exciting mess and the past is constantly being rewritten or re-understood. It’s a fantastic meeting place and baseline for us as artists to meet and the concept of the show was a natural progression from that. Edie’s work always asks questions and I enjoyed that, and so the show is a huge collection of questions. It’s meant to be mysterious, it’s meant for the viewer to fill in the gaps. It’s about making connections and making a point that the world’s history is shaped by the imagination.
City Pages also covered the event, which you can read here.
The exhibition will run through October 17th. The gallery space is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
On Eel Mansions:
Eel Mansions is basically Van Gieson’s brain in a blender, mixing together dozens of comics and cultural touchstones into one package.
On Houses of the Holy:
Zak Sally was an obvious influence here, but Skaalrud works at a level more specifically in the style of comics-as-poetry, giving the verbal-visual tension a quality not unlike that of John Hankiewicz.
Eel Mansions 5 finally arrives after debuting at MoCCA! Here’s what Derek Van Gieson has in store:
Infamous cartoonist Janet Planet, plots to kill her golden goose, the negative orphans continue their prepubescent existentialisms, records store guys do their thing, government agents Bert and Chee Chee continue their adventures in hell, and Satanist Wuppeteer, Armistead Fowler’s past further unfolds. Plus, Milk City, Tales of Abstraction House, and Doomin!
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.