Dash Shaw on the Second Reading

During his visit Dash Shaw presented an in-depth look at his latest book, The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century AD.  The book is a companion piece to a series of animated shorts Shaw created for the Independent Film Channel.  Unclothed Man also collects a number of his short comics, many of which have been anthologized in Mome.  This full-color,  hardcover volume is beautifully and carefully designed.  Its dust jacket is printed on acetate (acetate being a material used by animators).  He paid careful attention to the book’s layout, anticipating page-turn and designing  2-page spreads.  Design choices like these contribute to an aspect of cartooning Shaw feels is undervalued, what he calls the “Second Reading”.

With comics, he explained, our first reading is a literary experience.  We are engrossed in the story, and less aware of the book.  It is during the second reading that we can appreciate the book itself.  Greater attention is paid to the images within the book, its texture and color, and the experience of turning the page.  It’s during this second reading that we can have an emotional reaction to the book as an object.

The Unclothed Man

The Unclothed Man, unclothed (sans acetate dust jacket, but personalized for CCS).



Two spreads from the Unclothed Man.


Notice the flip-book style animation which runs in the corner – an homage to The Illusion of Life.  There is another hidden reference to this classic Disney animation book, but I’m not giving it away.  Discover it yourself!


– Robyn Chapman

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Filed under Fall 2009

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