It was such a bright moment in my day when I received a package from Mike Hill containing a collection of his comix spanning from the 80’s all the way up to the present. Kozmik Star Comics are published and unpublished comics from 1979 to 2021. The published comix appeared in publications from Comix Wave to White Buffalo Gazette to Copy This! to After That! (I was shocked and honored to see my name in the thank-you’s section of the book). It’s even got an introduction by Buzz Buzzizyk. But that makes sense given the collaborations with Mike Hill and Maximum Traffic (with Edward Bolman) that also appear in here (e.g. Skinned Alive Boy). There are also jams that include Steve Willis.
Much of this comes from Mike Hill’s own Worker Poet zine. New Wave is on full display here. It’s full on post beatnik times, and in Hill’s influential style, he plays with text and image in a throw-back and nod to German Expressionism and Cubism. I’m honestly surprised more comics don’t take influence from wood cuts and printed works from the early 20’th century. Collage and shape as from the likes of Piet Mondrian and Pablo Picasso work just like comic panel and text. Mike Hill gets it.
The work starts off with Kozmik Star and Subliminal Lobotomy comix. The idea of Modernman emerges before the actual recognizable character does. It’s as if the panels are the single cell organisms from which Hill’s character will eventually emerge. He plays with form and line, and often this takes over and defeats any attempt at narration, which appears to be stream of conscious.
Eventually Modernman does arrive on the scene, and his problems with living and loving are there with him at birth. He’s a mirror image of 20’th century struggle to assemble identity out of so many incompatible fragments of belief and desire. Good luck, Modernman. The book ends with a couple of comix published in After That! just last year. Overall, it’s really great to see work by Mike Hill blown up into a larger format. This is sometimes a problem for folks like Hill and myself when we want to go back and compile older works but find that our scans were small resolution … which worked for mini comics, but becomes a little problematic for larger use. Learn from us, kids! Save your originals. Still, most comics are reproduced very well, and the few that aren’t are still completely readable.
This 214 page perfect bound collection of black and white comix is an absolute treasure. I look forward to the next 200 pages Mike Hill makes!
You can contact Mike Hill for more information at mikehill001 at gmail dot com
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