home home about drawn and quarterly news artists shop shopping cart
Drawn and Quarterly Your Shopping Cart
Home About Artists Shop Events Press New Blog 211 Bernard Store Blog


News Briefs featuring Tom Horacek

( back )


ALL WE EVER DO IS TALK ABOUT WOOD and PAUL GOES FISHING in The Mercury News

Updated June 10, 2008


Half a dozen graphic novels and nary a guy in tights
By Randy Myers
Contra Costa Times
THE MERCURY NEWS
May 25, 2008

"All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood," by Tom Horacek (Drawn & Quarterly, $9.95).

The plot: This mini collection of one-panel comics features bobble-headed characters thrust into quirky but humorous situations.

The verdict: Normally, one-panel zingers leave me hankering for something more. I much prefer story over punch lines. But the witty and acerbic Horacek consistently made me laugh out loud, over such situations as the husband by the bedside of his wife and new baby, saying "Let's name him Margaret and see what happens." "Wood" is must reading for whenever life seems to be getting entirely too serious.

"Paul Goes Fishing," by Michel Rabagliati (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95, 208 pages).

The plot: A seemingly average man embarks on a lakeside vacation with his partner Lucie and some friends. The trip leads to introspection, understanding and revelations.

The verdict: I adore Rabagliati's tenderly observed chronicle, the fourth in a series featuring the protagonist Paul. The Canadian-born author captures the mood of growing up and the insecurities that hound all of us. The last segment with him and Lucie trying to have a child is not just touching, it's profound. One of my favorites this year.
 
click here to read more


Featured artists

Michel Rabagliati
Tom Horacek

           Featured products

Paul Goes Fishing
All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood




  ALL WE EVER DO IS TALK ABOUT WOOD and PAUL GOES FISHING reviewed by Contra Costa Times

Updated May 29, 2008


Half a dozen graphic novels and nary a guy in tights
By Randy Myers
Contra Costa Times
05/25/2008

"All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood," by Tom Horacek (Drawn & Quarterly, $9.95).
The plot: This mini collection of one-panel comics features bobble-headed characters thrust into quirky but humorous situations.
The verdict: Normally, one-panel zingers leave me hankering for something more. I much prefer story over punch lines. But the witty and acerbic Horacek consistently made me laugh out loud, over such situations as the husband by the bedside of his wife and new baby, saying "Let's name him Margaret and see what happens." "Wood" is must reading for whenever life seems to be getting entirely too serious.
"Paul Goes Fishing," by Michel Rabagliati (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95, 208 pages).
The plot: A seemingly average man embarks on a lakeside vacation with his partner Lucie and some friends. The trip leads to introspection, understanding and revelations.
The verdict: I adore Rabagliati's tenderly observed chronicle, the fourth in a series featuring the protagonist Paul. The Canadian-born author captures the mood of growing up and the insecurities that hound all of us. The last segment with him and Lucie trying to have a child is not just touching, it's profound. One of my favorites this year.
click here to read more


Featured artists

Michel Rabagliati
Tom Horacek

           Featured products

Paul Goes Fishing
All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood




ALL WE EVER DO IS TALK ABOUT WOOD reviewed by Thick

Updated April 30, 2008


All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood
THICK MAGAZINE
Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm just gonna say it right off the bat, Tom Horacek could be the next Gary Larson. One panel cartoons that comment on the obsurdity of everyday life...or just eloborate on silly puns. Sounds pretty Far Side to me. These cartoons definitely have a trademark character form as well. Tom is from Vancouver. Thick is from Vancouver. We think we get Tom's humour. But we don't doubt you'll get a good laugh even if you're not from Vancouver. The title, All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood, might sound odd but when you see the two beavers chillin' on the front it makes perfect sense. I could explain a joke or two but then I'd be cheating you out of a laugh better enjoyed in Tom's world of static bobble-heads. I don't know if these one-offs are syndicated in any papers yet but if not, I'd be suprised. Either way, this is the first time you can get a Tom Horacek collection. These comics are like Lays, I doubt you can read just one.
 
click here to read more


Featured artist

Tom Horacek

           Featured product

All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood




  ALL WE EVER DO IS TALK ABOUT WOOD reviewed by The National Post

Updated April 29, 2008


All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood
by Horacek, Tom
National Post
Monday, April 28, 2008

"I just hope that people get a smile or two out of it"


On an otherwise normal day this past February, Tom Horacek received a surprise in the mail. It was a regular manila envelope, but, curiously, the address was scribbled in his own handwriting. He figured it must have been a magazine replying to one of his submissions, although he couldn't remember the last time he'd sent off his work for publication. He opened the envelope: Inside were 11 of his cartoons, as well as his original cover letter, which bore the date of Nov. 19, 2004. There was also a rejection letter, which said, regrettably, The New Yorker - the pinnacle for many cartoonists - would not be able to publish his work. Scrawled on the form letter was a handwritten note: "So sorry for the delay!"

"How can you not love the person who found the cartoon batch lying in some forgotten corner or filing cabinet drawer and decided to take the time to get back to the author about it?" says Horacek, who laughs about the incident now. "I would've just thrown it in the shredder, especially considering the quality of the cartoons."

No worries. While The New Yorker might have passed on his work, the equally esteemed Drawn & Quarterly did not. The Montreal-based publisher has just released Horacek's first book - All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood - as the debut entry in its Petit Livres series of pocket-sized books. These are exciting times for the 26-year-old cartoonist, but at the moment Horacek's focus in on academics, not comics. He's a third-year law student at the University of British Columbia and is in the midst of end-of-year exams. On the scale of things, studying law and drawing bizarre cartoons would seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, and, in fact, he's unsure if any of his fellow classmates are aware of his burgeoning side-career.

"I don't think anyone knows about this book, actually," he says.

That may soon change: His work is drawing comparisons to Charles M. Schulz and Charles Addams, something Horacek is quick to downplay.

"I just hope that people get a smile or two out of it," he says. "If they actually buy the book, I also hope they don't feel totally ripped off after reading it."

All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood is comprised of Horacek's simple, single- panel cartoons. An off-kilter look at life, Horacek's world is full of cyclops barbers, bedridden caterpillars and extreme hopscotch. They are bleak and uncomfortably funny, with themes of rejection, loss of innocence and alienation running throughout. Good grief, indeed.

"I seem to gravitate towards the darker humour," Horacek says. He's influenced by a mesh of classic cartoons, TV and fiction, with Calvin and Hobbes, Fawlty Towers and Kazuo Ishiguro among his favourites.

The native of Richmond, B.C., started to draw cartoons with regularity while a second-year student at the University of Toronto, where he earned his degree in neuroscience. He contributed editorial cartoons and comic strips ("All terrible," he says) to campus paper The Varsity.

"On the side I was trying to make these wannabe New Yorker cartoons," he recalls.

His editor at The Varsity, David Kim, passed his work on to Toronto comic mecca The Beguiling, who passed them off to Drawn & Quarterly. D & Q publisher Chris Oliveros called Horacek up later that year - it was 2001 - and offered to publish his work. "I had no idea what Chris saw in it," he recalls.

The ever self-effacing Horacek - calls his work "unfunny and poorly drawn" - is also something of a poet, having published in various magazines and literary journals, although he says he's no longer writing. He also hasn't drawn a single panel cartoon "in a long time," so those who search for more of his work after finishing this slim volume are out of luck. Instead, he's juggling the rigours of law school with his dream of being a full-time artist. He says he'd like to write a syndicated strip, and he's also mulled over some ideas for a graphic novel. And, ultimately, he's still hoping for that spot in The New Yorker.
click here to read more


Featured artist

Tom Horacek

           Featured product

All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood




PETITS LIVRES series spotlighted by The Edmonton Journal

Updated April 15, 2008


Small is beautiful
Tiny books with big ideas punch well above their weight
Gilbert A. Bouchard, edmontonjournal.com
Published: Saturday, April 12
EDMONTON JOURNAL

The pile of brand-new releases from Montreal-based graphic-novel publishers Drawn and Quarterly is remarkably compact.
Stacked one on top of the other, the four titles from the recently inaugurated "Petits Livres" (French for small books) imprint -- a line of books promising "small-and-affordable" art books with a contemporary graphic/comic-art vibe -- are only three centimetres thick.
The smallest book in the lot -- Tom Horacek's All We Ever Do is Talk About Wood -- is a beautifully precious tome that's 12.5 centimetres square, and only half a centimetre thick.

Yet, while the books are small potatoes size-wise, they pack a huge wallop artistically, more than living up to their promise of being the new wave of art books for the post-graphic-novel era.
Gone are the days when fans of graphic/comic-book art would put up with badly printed comic books on bad pulp paper. Modern graphic-novel fans expect, nay demand, top-quality sequential-art books.
Hence the birth of imprints like Petits Livres. Boasting work by cutting-edge underground print artists/cartoonists like Chris Von Szombathy and Julie Morstad, the books are delightfully playful, chock-a-block with spectacularly realized drawings and graphics, as well as being beautiful in their physical production, paper quality and reproductive clarity.
More than just feeding into a newish hunger for high-end comic books, the imprint is also feeding into a centuries-old love of small tomes that you can comfortably hold in the palm of your hands (or even the palm of one hand).
A surprisingly large number of tiny tomes are being released both by graphic-novel and mini-comic-book publishers as well as mainstream publishing houses.
This trend feeds into a western love of small books that goes back to the Middle Ages, a period that saw huge illustrated manuscripts with wooded, jewel-encrusted covers that permanently sat on their own lecterns, as well as smaller-than-small prayer books, breviaries, books of hours, and poetry texts.
Obviously, these small books -- especially the tiny sacred books -- had a practical side (i.e., a prayer book that's portable allows owners to pray wherever they may find themselves), but they also played other esthetic, cultural and even fetish-object functions.
According to Joan Greer, an art historian with the University of Alberta, little books (small, highly personal, highly tactile tomes) throughout history have allowed individuals to explore the contradictory public/private nature of the book.
"Book designers in the 19th century called books 'pocket cathedrals,' acknowledging the reality that a book was a small public space were community happened, the exchange of ideas and beliefs that was both private and public at the same time," she says.
"Your book connects you to a larger world, but does so in your own space. This makes the book both artistically beautiful as well as community-building."
Greer says the tiny book also represents the height of the tactile relationship many book owners have with their volumes.
"When most people think of a 'book,' they are thinking about the content of the book, but what we also need to think about when we're thinking of the idea of the book is its physicality, its materiality," she explains. "That includes the feel of the book, the esthetic pleasure you get from the book as well as the knowledge contained in the volume. The look of the book is as much a 'sign' as the books themselves, and the design of the book is active and really pushes things."
 
click here to read more


Featured artists

Nicolas Robel
Julie Morstad
Tom Horacek

           Featured products

Joseph
Milk Teeth
All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood




  ALL WE EVER DO IS TALK ABOUT WOOD, PALOOKA-VILLE 19 and CRICKETS reviewed by Newsarama

Updated April 15, 2008


All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood
Written & Illustrated by Tom Horacek
Published by Drawn & Quarterly
Reviewed by Michael C Lorah

It doesnít look like much, this book. Itís a tiny little thing, barely bigger than a pad of Post-It notes, with an Earthy brown front cover you might glance past if youíre not paying attention. But, címon, take a second and really look at that cover. Itís freaking brilliant.

And thatís pretty much what youíre in for when you pick up Horacekís collection of one-panel gag strips, eighty-eight pages of sly, subtle, dry hand-grenade humor (hand grenade humor = you pause for a moment after the joke is throw before the humor hits you like a bomb). Later cartoons show a boardroom full of somber execs, mourning as their sales chart goes flat line or an alien in a doctorís coat with a heavy Proctology textbook on his desk.

Itís delightfully bitter work, sardonically upsetting readersí expectations in unlikely ways. Horacekís characters, with their huge, round heads and outward innocence, seem the least likely characters to pull down social mores, but heís unafraid to put them through the wringer for a laugh. Thereís no overall theme to the cartoons, but Horacekís dry wit and illustrations bind the entire package together stylishly.

The small package is well designed, giving each gag its own page so that none are crowded by another laugh. And, really, who canít appreciate a joke about a father suggesting that he and his wife name their newborn son Margaret just to ďsee what happensĒ? Hilariously recommended.

Palookaville #19 (D&Q; by Mike): The third chapter of Sethís Clyde Fans continues in this installment, a cleanly drawn, creatively told segment about Simon placing his mother in assisted living and then going through her momentos and collectibles. Though little plot occurs, Sethís large, dense pages are heavy with information and nuance, and nobody uses the panel gutters to greater affect than Seth does throughout this book. Whether its marking the passage of time as Simon walks through a neighborhood, or disconnecting Simon from his mother, Seth arranges pages in imaginative, engaging ways that keep you turning. Good work.

Crickets #1-2 (D&Q; by Mike): Sammy Harkhamís new series debuts, dominated by the serialization of ďBlack Death.Ē One man escapes certain (very, very certain) death with the aid of a golem, and begins a journey through a peculiar forest. In issue one, they meet a father and son taking the corpse of the young sonís baby brother to be buried among family. In the second, a raving naked man is rescued from a well by the unlikely tandem of man and golem. Itís well drawn, and Harkham has a very clear idea of who his characters are and where theyíre going, but two issues into the serial, itís far too early to guess where things might be going. Thereís some real potential here, so weíll have to see where it goes.

click here to read more


Featured artists

Seth
Sammy Harkham
Tom Horacek

           Featured products

Crickets #2
All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood




ALL WE EVER DO IS TALK ABOUT WOOD reviewed by Newsarama

Updated April 10, 2008


All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood
Chris Mautner
NEWSARAMA
Friday March 28, 2008

You donít see the sort of one-panel, gag cartoon cartoon books like this very often anymore, if at all, so Iím grateful to D&Q for taking a chance and putting this out. Iím especially grateful considering that the majority of the gags are really, really funny.

Horacekís rigid, impossibly large-headed characters (comparisons to Fisher-Price and Playmobil have been numerous and perhaps unavoidable) are amusing enough in and of themselves to aid in the overall puckishness of the bookís enterprise. And Horacek shows enough variety in both his setup and delivery to give you confidence that heís got more goodies up his sleeve. Iíd to see him do this as a weekly Webcomic.
The content, meanwhile, easily strides the gap between the New Yorker and Ivan Brunetti ó a little edgier than the former not quite as dark as the latter. Itís a nice package overall and one I heartily recommend, especially for those who miss the days when you could pick up a George Booth book at your downtown store and not Alibris.
 
click here to read more


Featured artist

Tom Horacek

           Featured product

All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood





copyright ©2010 drawn & quarterly