The Coast reviews HOT POTATOE

Good to get lost in Bell's ahtwerk

The Coast    |    Sue Carter Flinn    |    November 19, 2009

If you've wondered what the former Coast comic artist has been up to the last couple of years, this 276-page, glossy, hardcover book will satisfy your nostalgic longings (it also doubles as a weight. Heavy!). Spend hours trying to peel back the layers of Bell's drawings, comics, typography and mixed-media cardboard pieces, but you'll always end up lost---there are no obvious entry points into his maniacally detailed geography of personal icons, pop-culture teases and wordplay. Imagine if Heinz Edelmann's Meanies from Yellow Submarine grew up on MAD comics, and had a drooling hankering for bacon. Don't expect the artist essays to shed any light on the "Gnostic Pizza" series ("not to be confused with...Mystic Pizza..."), or the meaning of salty pork products, either. Each page is a new adventure, each "ahtwerk" its own treasure hunt.

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