Quantcast
The New Mexican's Weekly Magazine of Arts, Entertainment & Culture Friday, July 25, 2014

Gizmo design: writer-illustrator Ben Katchor imagines a stranger world

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 5:00 am | Updated: 2:41 pm, Thu Jun 13, 2013.

Ben Katchor’s world, portrayed in his strangely drawn, strangely told comics, is as much a forgotten place as an imagined one. His newest collection of literate cartoons, Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories, featuring material first published in Metropolis magazine from 1998 to 2012, explores mostly imagined architecture and its accompanying artifices, creations that are only slightly probable yet not completely improbable. The time in which these stories are placed, without being specified, seems of various periods, suggesting the Manhattan of the 1970s, the 1950s, and the late 1930s all rolled into one. The streets are lined with hot-dog shops, cosmetic stores, and newsstands. The sides of buildings carry oversize advertising for made-up coffee companies and “dentifrice” that promises “that specious smile.” There’s not a Starbucks in sight.

It’s in this world that the visionary architect Selladore invents a device to free mankind from “the degrading ritual of ‘locking up.’” He designs a deadbolt that is always open until it’s activated by the warmth of a human hand on the door knob. Imaginary problem solved. To quote the inventor, who reveals all his motivations: “The doors of the city can be left unlocked, day and night. People will go to sleep without bolting their doors behind them. Bathrooms will be occupied without shame. A sense of mutual trust will be engendered in the population. Selladore will become a household name.” The complete story comes on a single page.

Subscription Required

An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety. You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?

Subscribe

Login

You must login to view the full content on this page.

Thank you for reading 5 free articles on our site. You can come back at the end of your 30-day period for another 5 free articles, or you can get complete access to the online edition for $2.49 a week. If you need help, please contact our office at 505-986-3010 You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?

Subscribe

Login

More about

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 No Alias Commenters must use their real names.
  • 2 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 3 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. and please turn off caps lock.
  • 4 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Welcome to the discussion.

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
Not you?||
Logout|My Settings

FOLLOW US

Advertisement