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May 21, 2008

Book Notes - Dash Shaw ("BodyWorld")

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that is in some way relevant to their recently published books.

BodyWorld is the first webcomic to be featured in the Book Notes series (with the possible exception of the printed version of Drew's Toothpaste for Dinner). BodyWorld is a serialized graphic novel by Dash Shaw, one of my favorite cartoonists, and its fast-moving storyline and Shaw's attention to detail set it apart from other webcomics and make it a regular Tuesday read as new installments are posted.

When I read Dash Shaw's graphic novel The Mother's Mouth last year I became an instant fan. His latest graphic novel, The Bottomless Belly Button, is out June 9th and will be published published by Fantagraphics.

Of BodyWorld, A Comic A Day... wrote:

Dash Shaw's BodyWorld is a psychedelic explosion of cyber sequential storytelling the likes of which I've never seen. Many of the webcomics I've read for my WWWednesday installments have been highly entertaining, but until I read BodyWorld, I hadn't realized how one dimensional they were.

In his own words, here is Dash Shaw's Book Notes essay for his webcomic, BodyWorld:

BodyWorld is a sci-fi comedy webcomic I’m serializing on my website for free. I post new pages every Tuesday. It’s about Paulie Panther, a writer cataloging the hallucinogenic effects of North American plant life. He travels to an experimental forest town called Boney Borough. There he discovers a plant that, when smoked, grants the smoker telepathic abilities. It takes place in the not-too-distant future, 2060, which feels mostly like the present.

During a long prom scene in Chapter Three there’s a sultry female vocalist doing all Cars covers: “Just What I Needed” and other hits. She does it with a backing band that has turned some of the poppy Cars songs into slow-dance numbers. I imagine this sounding really great.

Paulie Panther acts like a middle-schooler’s idea of an adult. He’s got a “Rock Star” front but he’s a big softie inside. Paulie obsesses over what CDs he has visible in his room. He’d scatter all of his Rolling Stones records out for when a guest is over, but when they leave he opens a hidden drawer and puts on a Cher album.

Some days I have to scan and clean pages all day. That means I stare at my computer screen for hours and hours deleting little specs and aligning two scans of the same painting together. I can’t express how terrible this is. So I put on my headphones and listen to Prince in the morning and Supersilent before I go to bed. Everything else in between.

Dash Shaw and BodyWorld links:

the author's website
the author's blog
the author's Wikipedia entry

A Comic a Day... review
The Savage Critics review

Desktop Wallpaper Project contribution by the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Mother's Mouth

also at Largehearted Boy:

Previous Book Notes submissions (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
directors and actors discuss their film's soundtracks
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2008 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2007 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2006 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2005 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2004 Edition)


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