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Best Local Cartoonist in Need of His Own Animated Show 

Steven Weissman

Following the triumphant release of last year's Ghost World film, Dan Clowes became the cartoonist with the highest profile in the Bay Area -- even besting that of R. Crumb, who still casts a lengthy shadow from his current home in France. But there's another local brushman who deserves some overdue recognition, if not his very own kids' show: Steven "Ribs" Weissman. The cartoon world has known about Weissman for a while, with the underground-touting Harvey Awards tapping him as Best New Talent in 1998 (four years after he'd begun self-releasing his comic Yikes). Jaime Hernandez, acclaimed co-creator of Love & Rockets, swore that "Weissman is so good, so funny, and so original that he doesn't have to be serious to be taken seriously," while the Onion called Weissman's milieu "an odd little world that indirectly captures childhood better than most literal representations do." His world is odd, all right. Yikes and its subsequent graphic novels Tykes, Champs, and last year's Don't Call Me Stupid! revolve around a bunch of mildly monstrous children who can't help but get into trouble -- like Our Gang for the horror set. There's the one-toothed vampire Li'l Bloody; the stitched-together Pullapart Boy and the zombified Dead Boy, both offspring of a semicompetent scientist; X-Ray Spence, with his see-all vision; the fraternal twin cowpokes Li'l Tin Stars; Kid Medusa, who turns youngsters to stone; and "Sweet" Chubby Cheeks, the nastiest neighborhood bully around. Weissman's drawing style is endearingly cute and slightly ragged -- the perfect match for stories that capture the languor and sudden violence of childhood, when an afternoon of kick the can might turn into a cap-gun shootout at a moment's notice. Someone give this guy his own show!


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