Seattle's legendary DUNE comics anthology has been made once a month for the last 5 years, by artists who gather for one night of the month at Café Racer. Everything that is drawn that night, by the (roughly 50-80) artists in attendance is turned in to the organizer/editor and published the following month as a large photocopied comic book. With the (hopefully temporary) closure of Café Racer, DUNE has been put on hiatus. So we're taking the opportunity to have a DUNE Art Show, which opens at the Leary Traveler this Thursday, January 18, and will be up until at least mid-February.
The thing with DUNE: the print run matches the number of contributors. So the general public generally does not really ever see this amazing anthology (which to my eyes, stands up to anything available at the comic book store). With this show, Seattlites can finally see the highlights, chosen by the artists themselves, of a comic book that has become a legend, written up in "City Arts Magazine," and even in "Art in America"! For the artists, this will be a chance to see a vast swath of the original art formally displayed, rather than in-progress on beer-stained tables.
DUNE was largely created by Max Clotfelter, who gathered a few friends at Café Racer years ago. They decided on the name DUNE, possibly inspired by Bill Sienkiewicz's adaptation of the David Lynch movie which adapts the Frank Herbert novel. But it is mostly a random name which can encompass a variety of creators and ideas. Contributor Paul Tumey sees the name as relating to actual sand dunes and their mutable qualities, which fits a continuing comic book with a different creative roster in each issue. The idea was to hold a "drawing night" where everyone was included and the end result of the evening's activities was a published mini-comic. Every month, without fail, Clotfelter photocopied each enormous issue, lugged huge boxes on the bus back and forth between his home on Capital Hill and Ravenna's Cafe Racer, distributed issues to artists and collected their art for the upcoming issue. After doing all this (as an unpaid labor of love) for four years, Clotfelter decided to retire as organizer, and colleague Marc Palm, having recently ended his underground newspaper collective "The Intruder", took the reigns on DUNE.
Contributors to DUNE include well established masters of the comics medium (Roberta Gregory), painters and illustrators (John Ohannesian), brilliant young upstarts (Tom Van Deusen), exciting new talents (Gillian Rhodes, Handa, Rachel Scheer), enthused amateurs, and sometimes a non-artist or two who stopped in a for beer and bravely decided to join the drawers. Sometimes the artists with the least "polish" end up turning in the pages that are the most clever, funny, and/or emotionally raw.
This show was organized by Push/Pull of Ballard, by me, David Lasky, and Maxx Follis-Goodkind. The show poster is by comix artist Mark Falkey, who has been with DUNE since the first issue. The Leary Traveler is located at 4354 Leary Way NW in Seattle's ‘Frelard’ neighborhood. The DUNE Art Show opening, takes place on Thursday, January 18th, from 6 to 9 pm. Expect many artists to be in attendance.