This one time at work I discovered in the break room a cabinet that contained several packets of hot chocolate. I thought, What a treat! I poured the contents of a packet into a styrofoam cup, added hot water, drank it, loved it, wasn’t quite satisfied, did it again. Then I started to feel insane. Crawling flesh, beads of sweat. The high of sugar isn’t the feeling of other drugs; It is basically familiar from childhood, a heightened feeling that doesn’t lead to anywhere that far outside your body.
Lale Westvind draws comics that look crazy. Looking at the pages of Hot Dog Beach without trying to read it, like you might do on a flip-through at the store, there’s a jaggedness to the shapes, speed lines, bubble lettered sound-effects. The composition of the cover looks pretty haphazard and loud. When you actually get down to reading it, however, it is pretty easy to do so. Panel to panel transitions are pretty smooth, and the figures start to move and interact with each other with the same feeling as in classic cartoons or manga, or something else eminently recognizable. I think that, if it was composed for and printed at different proportions, the comics size rather than magazine size, and it had a recognizable protagonist, Westvind’s work could be a crossover hit like Scud The Disposable Assassin was circa 1998. It is basically fun, the “craziness” that seems like way too much at first glance is so close to the feeling of just enjoying something while a small voice in your head thinks “this is crazy” but accepts it. It only takes a slight adjustment of the scales. The book’s psychedelia is that of the strobe-light: Printed in black and white, Lale’s line varies in thickness, from thick shadows to thin lines to stippling, slippery like grease that light can hit in such a way to show off veins, with digital half-tones adding to this effect.
(P.S. Lale is maybe going to send me some reviews to run on this Tumblr, so I am getting back in the habit of signing my posts.)