Collects Jim Woodring’s non-Frank comics work; stars “Jim.” Frank is, as everyone knows, Jim Woodring’s best-selling cartoon character. Jim, on the other hand, is Woodring’s cartoon alter ego, the fictional doppelganger who has for 30 years inhabited Woodring’s alternate universe where shifting, phantasmagoric landscapes, abrupt, hallucinatory visual revelations, and unexpected eruptions of uninhibited verbal self-flagellation are commonplace. Jim is a mind-bending collection of all of Woodring’s best non-Frank creative work ― comics stories, prose stories, drawings, and paintings, with a new introduction and afterword by the man himself. Abounding in metaphors if you choose to see them and naked self-disclosure if you don’t, this volume of comics, prose, and images ― collected here for the first time ― is a bounty of Woodring’s inspired artistry.
Problematic provides the adventurous viewer with a bounty of unfiltered, hand-captured glimpses of life by an artist that Publishers Weekly called “a modern master of hallucinatory cartoon fables.” Lots of this material re-emerges in the form of pictures and storylines but much of it is just too baffling to be harnessed for any practical use. Of course, these untamable notions are the best and most interesting ones; and there are plenty of them here in the 300-page brick of Problematic.
Problematic is a rollicking amalgam of reportage (i.e. the man who blew his arm off), speculative anatomy, fancy women, make-a-face games, picture-puzzles, gags, riffs and burlesques. Catalogue and exhibition simultaneously, Problematic is your best bet for a brief, energizing stroll in a distinctively enjoyable neighborhood.
“When most people try to employ dream logic in their work they fail miserably but Jim [Woodring] is great at it. The closest thing to a peer he might have is David Lynch but even that’s a stretch. Jim Woodring is the only Jim Woodring and no one has done what he does except for him.” – Nicholas Gazin, Vice.