Kramer’s Ergot is to the comic book world what McSweeney’s is to the literary set. Established by cartoonist Sammy Harkham in 2000, the anthology has evolved into a standard-bearing almanac of alternative comics’ perennial favorites, veritable legends, and underdog up-and-comers. From the original 48-page self-published compilation of mini-comics to the hardbound 16″ x 21″ bookshelf-defying behemoth it takes the form of today, Kramer’s Ergot has always championed the experimental and the audacious.
Last night saw the release of the 7th installment, boasting contributions from over 60 artists representing a diverse range of styles and subject matter in their comics. Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Ghost World author Dan Clowes, and graphic design god Geoff McFetridge are a few of the heavyweights whose work can be seen in Kramer’s Ergot 7, amongst the likes of some of my favorite art world sensations like Matt Furie, Paper Rad, and Matthew Thurber. Actually, it’s a hard not to just keep naming all the awesome people who worked on Kramer’s Ergot 7, that’s how jam-packed full of quality goodness it is.
I was lucky enough to pick up a copy last night and get it signed by 11 of the contributors (including Groening – childhood dreams do come true!) at Family, the bookstore that Harkham helps run when he’s not cartooning or fostering creative outlets for his fellow artists. It has a pretty steep price, but I definitely think it’s worth the cost. It’s a fascinating look into the point at which the art world and comic books collide, and a decadent showcase for the artists who hover around that spot. I’ll leave you with an excerpt from Geoff McFetridge’s page, a simple but amazing four-panel strip that summarizes my hopes and dreams for humanity.