Sunday, June 2, 2013

Los Angeles Ink Stains

by Jim Mahfood

Los Angeles Ink Stains, the book, collects roughly three years worth of Jim Mahfood's on-line comics diary of the same name.  It's a chronicle of nights out, meals, late mornings, comic-cons, live art events, and a lot of drinking.  Basically, Mahfood decided to channel both Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman at the same time, and keep a journal of his life.  And it's brilliant.

There are times when the monotony of this book gets to me - many strips start with someone visiting from out of town, lead to a taco joint, then a bar or three, where Food One and his crew run into people they know, followed by late night shenanigans, an after party at his crib, and then sleep.  The joy is in the details though.

This guy knows how to live.  Reading this, you'd wonder how he ever has time to write and draw, but at the same time, I came away from this book in awe not just of his talent, but of the circle of friends he's been able to surround himself with.  Mahfood rolls with indie comics gods, fine artists, DJs, rappers, and musicians from the LA funk/rap scene.  This book is not name dropping in a pretentious way, this really is his crew, and he's blessed to be part of it.

The book is at its funniest in the scenes set in comic conventions, especially the San Diego ones, which we get to see from an outsider's insider perspective.  I also enjoyed reading about his travels to France and other parts of the world.

I've been a fan of Mahfood's work for a number of years now (the first time I can remember coming across it was when he drew a comic for the Felt 2 album), but reading this, I felt a lot more affinity for the man as a person.  He finishes off the book with a few short strips, including the Gary Wilson piece he did for the Side A anthology, and a touching tribute to his friend DJ Dusk, who was killed when he was hit by a car.

This is a great comic, spotlighting the talent of a very unique creator.  Highly recommended.

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