VLS: Seth is Fashionably Late

“The vintage world of Seth” / Fashionably Late / Daniel Raeburn / April 13, 2003

In this ballyhooed digital age the comic book Palookaville, written and drawn by a Canadian cartoonist using the pen name of Seth, is like a medieval book of hours painstakingly illuminated by an anonymous monk. Seth inks and letters Palookaville with fluid brushwork whose grace invites the reader to linger cozily in his ruminative, patient stories, each of which grows from Seth's obsession with the past. He hand cuts and overlays black and blue tones over his brushwork onto paper the color of yellow candlelight. Palookaville tells the story of what the past was, and of its ripe possibilities that were never borne out. In the comic's quasi - autobiographical pages, Seth himself is an elegant relic, dressed in a vintage tie, gray flannel coat, and fedora. Like his pen name, Seth's real name is an anachronism: Gregory Gallant. The name Gallant fits Seth perfectly, for he is quite the comics Quixote. Seth draws himself as a man determined to resist the false rebellion of fashion and hollow technology. "Let's face it," Seth tells Joe Matt in Matt's book Peepshow, "Practically everything was better in the past. They had higher standards. Craftsmanship and quality were the name of the game back then.... Even the label on an old bottle of aspirin from the 1930s is vastly superior to anything being made today." Seth collects 78 rpm records, ignores the Internet, and mutters at the sight of cellular phones in public. Seth is arguably the most nostalgic of all North American cartoonists — no mean feat in a field peopled by old - fashioned craftsmen such as Robert Crumb, Chris Ware, and Daniel Clowes.

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