In this day and age, just about anyone can self publish a book. Many artists have taken up the title of authorship and have released their own books featuring sketchbooks, instructional guides, and an array of comic books. One of my favorite character designers, Ben Balistreri, recently finished up work on his comic book, “Seaweed”. According to Ben, it took him nearly six years to accomplish the task as he single handedly produced all the artwork found in this over-sized book. It measures a good 12×15 and all 64 pages are in glorious color.
The story is about a pirate, Seaweed, and his first mate, Poisson, who have a chance meeting with a bat named Mildew who is looking for The Devil’s Cookbook which can grant anyone who has it practically enternal life. As you can see, everyone here is an animal or fish of some sort. It reminds me a lot of the early Disney shorts where everyone is an animal, or like how in the Goofy shorts there’s an entire hockey rink of Goofies. There’s not a human in sight in Seaweed’s world and I think its all for the better.
As usual for Mr. Balestreri the art is top notch. The line work is stunning. I am constantly amazed by Ben’s pencil and ink work, and “Seaweed” shows it all off with positive flair. The second half of the book is a collection of sketches and some insight into Ben’s process. This part is printed on a different stock of paper and gives it the feeling of a second book. Most of all of drawings have been featured on his blog in the past, but they beautifully reproduced here and look fantastic.
Ben’s apparent love of Star Wars is clearly on display. The scene where Mildew meets Seaweed is faintly reminiscent of Han and Chewie being hired to take Luke and Ben to Alderaan in Star Wars: A New Hope. Sharp eyes will also take notice of the dock number Seaweed has his boat, The Salty Sugar, moored at…
This is the first volume of what appears to be two volumes total. There is no street date for the second one…maybe in a year or so? Regardless, comic book lovers and anyone who just loves looking at cool drawings will be pleased with “Seaweed”. The book is selling for 30 beans which in my book is money well spent. Head on over to Ben’s blog to order yours!