It’s happened three times. I’ve come into CCS’s lab, late at night, and seen originals that someone left laying around. I don’t always look at them, but these three times, something about their exacting smoothness was apparent from far away. Soon, I was just standing over, staring. The first time, Sean or Chuck came down, saw me staring, and said, “Oh, wow, who’s are those?”

“They must be Rich’s.”

Those were pages he was scanning for the Satchel Paige book. The second was some doodle of Santa Claus or something, for a school benefit, on a scrap of paper. Both — one finished art for Hyperion, one dashed off probably for some kid — had the same quality, the same perfect line — like Chris Ware reduced to get the bumps and shakes out. The third time was a print out of his Sunday’s page for us.

It’s about Norse Mythology. Striking, because it’s about the creation of the world, but told on one page, with drawings so tiny and delicate that the force they contain is off putting. The drawings remind of a story by Steven Millhauser about a miniaturist, in the court of the emperor, some dynasties ago, who keeps constructing smaller and smaller miniatures until even he, through the most powerful lenses, can’t see what he’s working on. Only, he perceives the lines he’s carving, and the pieces he’s gluing together, and he knows that it’s his best work yet.

Rich has published many of his books through Fantagraphics, and has done work for all the other top alternative comics publishers. His books include, Clover Honey, The Horror of Collier County, Perverso, 8 1/2 Ghosts, and the upcoming Miriam, through Alternative Comics. Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, the book he just completed with James Sturm, will be out through Hyperion in December. You can find most of his books over at I Know Joe Kimpel and, of course, Amazon.com.

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