Dash Shaw / New School
Opening in the American Museum of Natural History in 1990, Dash Shaw’s New School quickly shows itself to be hyperfocused on both time and place. Relics and fossils segue to a discussion of the novel Jurassic Park and a premonition of its eventual (1993) film adaptation. I don’t want to spoil the plot, but I will say that these are not lone instances of predicting the future or literally, physically recreating the past.
I’m also picking up critiques of colonialism and imperialism – superficial understandings of history, commodification of historic events, exploitation of strangers’ customs and their inability to understand English – that may further reveal themselves after future re-reads.
This is a beautiful book. The use of thick, black, brush pen lines is expressive throughout. Increasingly varied background colors – solid white, at first, and eventually washes, geometries, and photographs – create a real sense of escalating energy and tension.
New School is out now through Fantagraphics.
Follow Dash Shaw on Tumblr.
- Zach Mason