Derek M. Ballard is a cartoonist with an unmistakable style that blends geometric shapes and strange sexual imagery. His art is beautiful, disruptive, yet unsettling and different. In other words, he is absolutely everything the underground comix scene has represented since their conception.
Currently residing in Gainsville, Florida, Ballard creates title cards and storyboards for the popular Cartoon Network show Adventure Time in addition to pursuing the dream of self-publishing comic books and zines. He says he originated “post-eroticism,” which I gather as seeing erotica as a form of entertainment rather than a sexual arousing manner as seen in his art. With both of Ballard’s Cartoonshow comics, Cartoonshow #1: You Will All Die In Pain and Cartoonshow #2: Your Daughters Will Bear Our Children, sex definitely bleeds through its vibrantly colored pages and showcases Ballard’s unusual style of storytelling.
Both Cartoonshow comics collect short comic strips that appear to be in a sci-fi universe of some sort, with some pieces lasting only two pages while others take up six. The humor is great and everything is surreal, and the majority of both Cartoonshow books seem to ask the reader to find its purpose. Why is this woman showing a severed hand in her vagina? Why is sex such an important staple to many of these twisted tales? Rather than being disgusted or disturbed, Ballard’s geometrical drawings are more welcoming and often beautiful, begging its readers to answer their own questions while devouring such incredible art and mysterious worlds.
Sexy is a word that can be used to describe both You Will All Die In Pain and Your Daughters Will Bear Our Children, but it won’t do the series much justice to shove off as adult’s only comics. They’re both wondrous pieces of print, full of brilliant worlds and hilarious panels that make the reader ponder what’s going on in the creative mind of Derek M. Ballard. Cartoonshow is a terrific series for those looking for solid art and insane storytelling made possible thanks to psycho-imprint Drippy Bone Books.
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