Pterodactyl Hunters in the Gilded City by Brendon Leach. Secret Acres, 2016. 9780996273930. 44 pages.
Gene: It came out 5-6 years ago from Top Shelf, oversized on newsprint. Which fits, because it has fake news articles, and it was just this big, beautiful black and white thing. But I never wanted to buy it because I was paranoid that I couldn’t keep it nice. I don’t collect newspapers.
Sarah: It’s just going to get scrunched up under something.
G: It was going to be destroyed and I was going to cry. So I bought a copy from amazon.fr because they had an oversized hardcover edition.
It’s a vignette set in an alternate 1904 New York. It’s not quite steampunk, but it’s guys in hot air balloons hunting pterodactyls with these harpoon rifles. And then eventually, of course, dynamite. That’s my pitch: old timey pterodactyl hunting above New York City.
S: Look at that! You can see the head turn in the sketchy bit!
G: Leach uses the sketchiness to show motion within a frame. I love it. It’s gross, but it’s gross in black and white
S: There’s blood but it’s not upsetting.
G: It reads like an old dime store serial.
S: “Hunting pterodactyls from a balloon” is good enough for me.
G: It was just re-released from Secret Acres as a hardcover book. (It’s not as big as the French version.)
There are some comics where I want the French version. I saw a copy of The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil when I was in Italy, and it was way bigger than the U.S. release. But I didn’t buy it because I can read and understand zero Italian. But I’m wondering how big the French version is…
S: It’s all about the book racks. Because in the bande-desinée section of French bookstores they have these massive f’ing racks built for these oversized albums.
G: I was talking to Chris Hallbeck yesterday about our Library Comic. We have this character we refer to as the book f*cker.
S: Is it the guy who talked about the matte cover?
G: Yeah, his name is Martin. And so I’ve been writing these really erotic bits of dialogue and Chris is like that’s too far. He finally goes Martin is you, and to make it funny to you you have to really pump it up. And then he tells me that the graphic novel I sent him for his birthday (Northlanders Volume 1) is still sitting on his kitchen table because he doesn’t have a bookshelf to put it in. It’s the only adult book in the house. He’s the king of ebooks. He admits that he’s the character in our new comic with anti-book T-shirts on all the time. He tells me It’s 2016, just get books online. That’s where he lives. Why would he ever get a physical book?
I said But the color on the paper is what makes this book beautiful. And Chris is like That’s why you’re Martin.