New Realities: The Comics of Dash Shaw

Critical Cartoons

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Softcover, 160 pages, Full Color

"Comics critic Hunter debuts with a perceptive survey of the idiosyncratic oeuvre of Dash Shaw, a “changeable” cartoonist whose "stylistic leaps have become his most obvious constant." […] It’s a great starting point for anyone wanting to know more about the work of this restless and relentlessly curious artist."—Publishers Weekly

Dash Shaw is one of the most restless cartoonists of recent decades. Since his breakthrough graphic novel Bottomless Belly Button, Shaw has constantly evolved his approach to the comics page. His acclaimed, idiosyncratic comics shift from domestic realism to sci-fi farce to historical fiction and formally innovative line and color.

But many themes in Shaw’s work remain constant. His characters live within their realities, often failing to connect or communicate. Comics as different as the dystopian spectacle Body World and the geek-culture comedy Cosplayers become sites of clashes between incompatible mindsets—with Shaw adapting his cartooning to capture new varieties of confusion, alienation, and more. In New Realities, critic Greg Hunter (The Comics Journal) follows the through-line across this adventurous body of work.

Greg Hunter is a writer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He edits graphic novels for young readers and has contributed comics criticism to The Comics Journal, The Rumpus, and other publications.

Dash Shaw lives in Richmond, VA. He was a 2010 Sundance Labs fellow and a 2014–2015 Cullman Center fellow at the New York Public Library. A cartoonist, animator, and illustrator, he was born in Los Angeles and attended the School of Visual Arts. He is the author of Discipline (2021), Bottomless Belly Button, Body World, and many other comics and graphic novels. He is also the director of two animated films, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea and the upcoming Crypto Zoo.