Get Lost in the Visual Remix of Samplerman's Fearless Colors

I wish I had a better language to describe Samplerman’s comic collages in Fearless Colors. His comics are collages, remnants and scraps of older comics (I see some EC, some Fletcher Hanks, and even some bronze-age Justice League) remixed into fractal-like tapestries that, if you’re not careful, will trap you and suck you into them. And you don’t want to be careful reading this comic because I think that’s just what Samplerman (the pen name for artist Yvan Guillo) wants- to pull you into his comics with the pull of a black hole. Like any good-to-great remix artist, he takes the past and makes something new from it. He hasn’t remixed these into new stories; in most of the pieces, there’s really no plot as much as there is an invocation happening here. Fearless Colors is a collection of movements, created to enchant the reader with art and accept a narrative where the words and plot are meaningless and nonsense.

Samplerman’s comics (also see mini kuš! #54 for another example of his work) are built upon other cartoonists’ images, cut and pasted into a kaleidoscope of creation, destruction, and recreation. Most of the movements in Fearless Color commence with a single collage that contains worlds unto itself. Some of his initial images begin with a portion of old stories, with easily identifiable characters, dialogue, and maybe even the slightest hint of the plot of the original comic. Other starting points begin with images mixed and matched from other comics to create a whole new experience of reality. From these starting points, Sampleman’s pages twist and turn these images into fractal-like explosions of line, color and word that are from the past but exist in a completely different time and space than their original forms existed.

The sensation of reading these artistic movements is a lot like reading traditional comic stories. In this book, there is a progression from panel to panel, page to page that is familiar and comfortable. Taking his initial images, Samplerman twists and turns them even more, adding and subtracting elements that form something like a traditional narrative. That’s the movement in his work; taking a comic, deconstructing it, and turning it into something new and different. He’s forcing you to look at these images with new eyes; Fearless Colors is not something that you can read by instinct and gloss over because you think you understand how comics “work.” It’s a work that envelops you and pulls you into its constructed gravity.

These movements create a sensation of stumbling into this new experience. Imagine a Jim Woodring comic, without the characters to get in the way of the experience of it. That’s what he summons in his pages. So allow yourself to get lost in these pictures. There’s depth there so let it suck you in and give yourself over to the art and artist. That’s what these pages want as Samplerman’s artwork craft these new shapes of reality out of the old and familiar. There’s an element of Roy Lichtenstein here as Samplerman appropriates the work of other artists but he pushes the work far more into abstraction and movement than Lichtenstein did in his paintings.

Reading Fearless Colors is like taking a weird acid trip through comics as images fall apart and melt down in front of you, recombining with different images to form brand new comic pages. Samplerman’s collages take existing art and make new art out of the old, and creates comic pages that you just want to get lost in, exploring the smallest details even while wanting to pull out and see how those details collapse into a complete comic experience.

Fearless Colors
Created by Samplerman
Co-published by kuš! Ediciones Valientes and MMMNNNRRRG