Another Welcome “Cash Grab”

The tenth and most recent issue of Aaron Lange’s Cash Grab — his ‘zine of art, miscellany, and art miscellany published by Vancouver’s The Comix Company — feels like it’s been a long time coming because, hey, it actually has been : indeed, the year-plus interregnum between installments is uncharacteristic for this prolific cartoonist and illustrator. Of course, for any number of others this would be considered working at a pretty brisk clip, which puts Lange at something of a disadvantage in that he’s stuck answering “what’s taking you so long?”-type questions while many of his contemporaries are accustomed to hearing “take your time,” but in case anybody hasn’t noticed there’s been this pesky pandemic going on, and everybody’s lives are out of whack. The fast have become slow, the slow have become fast, and the readers of both have become frustratingly anxious.

For my own part, self-styled “cool customer” that I flatter/delude myself into believing that I am, I could of course give a fuck — all I care about at the end of the day is whether or not something is good, and I don’t think you can rush good work. Except, of course, when you can. But I suppose we’re getting pretty far afield from whatever point I meant to be making here, which I’m pretty sure was : Cash Grab #10 is probably the most interesting issue to date.

As well it should be, really, given that we live in interesting times that offer a near-limitless wellspring of inspiration for someone of Lange’s admittedly — and refreshingly — off-kilter sensibilities. These sensibilities results in Lange casting a pretty wide metaphorical “net,” and the one thing I personally value most in an art ‘zine is a feeling of never knowing what’s going to be on the next page, which describes this one to the proverbial “T” — we’ve got a mix here of shot-form illustrated narrative, portraiture, illustrated quotes, commission pieces, and even a little bit of “ripped from the headlines” stuff, all rendered with the keen eye and hand of a consummate craftsman who never half-asses any job and always seems to find a way to both cut to the chase of his subjects and to draw more out them (literally and figuratively) than one might expect. There’s an understated elegance to much of this, sure, but you never doubt that Lange works the hell out of every one of his drawings, as well.

Hell, for those of us who simply straight-up can’t draw, the manner in which Lange makes it look easy and breezy is a source of envy, but for those of us who can’t draw but know a little something about what the act of drawing entails, it’s plain as day that he rolls up his sleeves and gets in there and really exposes what makes a person tick — whether that person is a Hollywood celebrity, a murder victim, a neighborhood eccentric, or a political leader, Lange’s penchant for capturing, and subsequently expressing, detail goes beyond the physical as he busies himself about the task of showing not just who these folks are, but what they’re all about.

Which brings us to the meat of the matter, that being : any artist with the uncanny ability to consistently get inside the heads and hearts of those he or she is illustrating necessarily reveals something about themselves along the way : their interests, obsessions, peculiarities, pet peeves, and the like all inform their sensibilities, after all, and no selection of drawings is ever as truly “random” as it seems at first glance. To that end, then, it’s probably both fair and accurate to say that Lange’s most fascinating subject, when all is said and done, is himself, and so it’s fitting that this ‘zine ends with a self-portrait that ranks among not just he most accomplished illustrations in this issue, but of his entire artistic career to date.

If, then, “a little bit of everything” is your kind of thing, you won’t find a much more pleasing selection of that than is contained herein — but if you’re the sort of overly-analytical armchair “art snob” who likes to think they can discern the ins and outs of an artist’s mind via their work (who? Me?), then you’re probably going to enjoy this ‘zine all the more.

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Cash Grab #10 is available for $5.00 from The Comix Company’s website at https://thecomixcompany.ecrater.com/p/38311412/cash-grab-10-aaron-lange-underground#

Review wrist check – Longines “Legend Diver” riding a Crown & Buckle chevron adjustable strap in what they call “syrah” but I just call burgundy. Or wine. But I guess syrah is a type of wine, so maybe they’ve got the right color name after all.