Dan Zettwoch’s Birdseye Bristoe: A Preview

I'm pleased to present an eight-page preview of Birdseye Bristoe (coming in June from Drawn & Quarterly) by Dan Zettwoch.

Dan Zettwoch's work occupied a unique space in comics -- they're ingenious contraptions that show precisely how things (mechanical, social, geographic) work, and spin out narratives from those demonstrations. His first graphic novel, Birdseye Bristoe, is about the construction and destruction of an enormous cellphone tower on land owned by an old man known only as Uncle in the titular town. It is also about, of course, invention, the midwest, family, and corporations. According to Zettwoch, "the premise came from a mini-comic idea that had been stuck in the back of my head for a long time. I'd think about it as I drove the lonely stretch of I-64 between Louisville and St. Louis, which I've done hundreds of times. The construction stuff, fold-out, maps, homemade shrines, decrepit roadside Americana stuff, I tried to engineer a story around stuff I wanted to draw."

And the drawings in this book are gorgeous -- they are Zettwoch's finest work to date, marking a turn towards a more organic style. The artist reports that "the pages are all ballpoint pen, colored pencil and white-out pen on tan typing paper. That's how I'd been working my sketchbook, liking the results and also the speed at which I could crank out finished pages. (If I was going to have to go through the pencil>ink>computer color process there's no way I would ever finished.) I also liked the idea of the color being more involved with the act of drawing - be able to color over ink, white-out over top of that, etc."

So enjoy the scenery.