The Joys Of Esoteric, Outsider Comics – Ron Regé Jr.’s What Parsifal Saw From Fantagraphics
You may know artist Ron Regé, Jr. from his book The Cartoon Utopia, also published by Fantagraphics, as you approach his new work, What Parsifal Saw. The Cartoon Utopia is actually coming back to print in softcover this season, as well. This new book, however, collects several different pieces that are all influenced by Rege’s take on esoteric ideas and wider spirituality, but the largest piece in the collection is called “Cosmogenesis“, which adapts some of the teachings and writings of Madame Blavatsky, the 19th century spiritualist and occultist.
If that sounds like it might not be very approachable for readers, wait until you see Regé’s artwork to make that judgment. His light, bright color palette and precise but harmonious linework create a welcoming atmosphere and a mood of wonder and contemplation rather than attempting to convey anything didactic from Blavatsky’s ideas.
Regé creates full-page compositions that contain a few lines from Blavatsky’s writings and use them as a jumping off point to convey ideas of universal order, quest for identity, and the relationship between human beings and the cosmos. Regé actually uses several different art techniques in the collection, from dense, fine linework in an illustrated style to more “open” work that focus on simple outlines.
There is an outsider feel to the art which is compelling, making the reader feel as if they are venturing into uncharted territory. The comics themselves break with established comics page composition techniques and resemble the blended text and illustration styles of medieval manuscripts, mandala art, and early alchemical texts.
This 80 page full-color book is worth exploring, even just choosing a page a day to peruse and reflect on.
Here’s Regé’s book tour info: