Saturday, 31 March 2018

Cochlea & Eustachia #1 by Hans Rickheit Review

A man with a teddy bear head kills a bird, removes a key from its chest to open a door in his face to a labyrinthine house containing a corridor filled with thousands of lobsters, strange plants, corpses hanging from the ceiling, a large room full of batwinged creatures and a pair of near-naked twins called Cochlea & Eustachia. Yup, it’s a Hans Rickheit comic alright!

Sequels usually exist to capitalise on the success of the preceding work and/or continue the storyline and characters. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that the first Cochlea & Eustachia, like most indie comics, didn’t make Hans “Rich”-heit (Eh? Eh? … I’ll get me coat…), nor was there a discernible story to continue anyway, so I’m not sure why Rickheit decided to come back for a sequel. He must just really enjoy drawing sexy ladies in a modern art setting! 

So here it is, the first issue of the unheralded second volume of Cochlea & Eustachia and it’s just as bonkers as it was the first time round! Once again there’s no attempt at a story, character-building, etc. and the comic is a meandering, surreal, dream-like journey through the world’s most bizarre house. There’s a lot of weird sexual imagery throughout and Rickheit combines organic and inorganic matter to create rooms with organs and animals with architecture – why? Dunno. Being experimental/avant garde for the sake of being experimental/avant garde? 

I absolutely love Rickheit’s artwork which has a very strong line, great framing, lots of detail and lovely colours. The visuals are so imaginative, eye-catching, appealing and unnerving in equal measure and definitely unique. Save for Jim Woodring, I don’t think there’s another comics creator out there comparable to Rickheit, which is saying something. 

Cochlea & Eustachia #1 is for fans of Rickheit’s work and indie comics fans who’re comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’d certainly like it more if I understood even just a bit of what was going on and why or if there was a story or discernible point. But I also appreciate Rickheit’s unbridled inventiveness and creativity and really like that there are artists like him out there giving us uncompromising visions of their art. 

Rickheit’s self-publishing this series on Comixology if you’re interested in checking it out this crazy motherfucker’s work.

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