Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Molly Crabapple's Week in Hell

Being trapped in hotel rooms or apartments for days on end, grinding away to meet a deadline, is par for the course for comic book artists. Just look at the 1940s Daredevil Battles Hitler marathon that happened in a blizzard of Biblical proportions as an example.

Molly Crabapple, whose influences stem from people not comics-related, ironically renewed that cultural memory with Week in Hell, the art book that spotlights her five days spent covering 270 feet of paper with art while locked up in a hotel room. When you consider how obsessive-compulsive Molly's style is regarding filling space, that's more than just "quite" a feat.

The background for Week in Hell is revealed in Warren Ellis' stirring introduction: Molly opened a Kickstarter campaign to fund her five day artistic exile, and wound up with an overwhelming surplus from the initial $4,500. Chances are, the surplus was extra motivation for Molly, who wound up cutting the 270 feet into 720 sections to send off to the majority of her donors.

Documented in photographs and details of the art, Week in Hell is a behind the scenes look of Molly's trial: there are no pictures of Molly (as Ellis put it) "punching her hand" to wake it up for drawing once more, and she seems characteristically put together in every shot, but the truth is that she covered a shit ton of paper in the course of five days. That averages out to about 54 feet of paper a day and equals out to nothing but being tired as hell at the end of it.

What Week in Hell does is serves as another feather in the cap of Kickstarter and gives a look at Crabapple's transition to her next stage as an artist/cartoonist/illustrator.