November 2nd, 2009

lio in the library

I ♥ Wuvable Oaf (and you can, too)

I first met the artist Ed Luce/bearbait through Live Journal, one of the many ways my virtual LJ life has enhanced my real life, which is the prime reason I’m still here.

Ed and his partner back then had a couple of open house parties, gallery shows, and I also remember enjoying an LJ-invite dim sum brunch with them. Ed was the cutest/hottest pocketbear with the densest beard I had ever seen, but he was also a clever and talented artist. I posed for a photograph that became part of his series of “pipebear” portraits, which were painstakingly painted and gilded in a knowing reference to some of Warhol’s early portrait work.

Ed moved off to San Francisco, and began creating a comic book series, which is already a cult sensation by only its third issue. His Wuvable Oaf character has been featured in magazines around the globe, from edgy Italian artzines to popular gay magazines. Oaf is a big and hairy bear who loves kittens, and he has friends and admirers who are in a rock band, so there’s lots of stuff in the comics about music, too.

Ed is creating his latest art within the full-blown world of comic publishing. Besides some great strips – “Pig in the City” was a brilliant critique and send-up of the excesses of bear culture, condensed and disguised in the form of a hilarious comic book story – I love all the ancillary merchandise he’s created for his Oaf universe, especially all the extras in the special editions of his comic books he’s lovingly labored over – hand-glittered pages, glow-in-the-dark covers, dress-up paper dolls, a centerfold cleverly “stuck” together with low-tack cement (like that used on Post-It notes), and kitty sticker adornments, to name just a few. The special editions have been accompanied by extras like faux band gig posters, temporary tattoos, and the latest one comes with its own 45 record and souvenir guitar pics endorsed by the band. (I think it’s only a matter of time before one of the Oaf covers is flocked in black.)

The characters that make up the Wuvable Oaf comics are fully-fleshed out with their own backstories (and even their own Myspace pages!), and the strips are drawn with an almost OCD-like fervor usually missing these days in assembly-line comics, with each and every hair on Oaf’s body lovingly drawn with the finest of pen nibs.

OK, it’s clear that I ♥ Ed Luce and his Wuvable Oaf creation. But if you’re unfamiliar with him, you can too – I have an extra copy of Wuvable Oaf #2, and I’ll send it to one of my friends/readers for free. It’s in mint unread condition, and comes boarded and in a protective plastic sleeve sealed with a kitty sticker! If you’d like to win it, just tell me in a comment why you should be the one I choose. I want to win the free issue of Wuvable Oaf because: __________________________

The rest of you will have to buy your own for $4 at the Oaf website or from one of the comic book and zine stores they’re available at in San Francisco.