A few weeks ago, Tin Can Forest sent me a package that was such an embarrassment of riches that I feel compelled to share all of its contents with you here.
There were 3 of their occulty, folkloric comic books, each more bewilderingly beautiful and puzzling and bewitching than the last, including:
Baba Yaga and the Wolf, a sort of family legend about an ancestor's encounter with the infamous witch of the Eastern European woods:
Wax Cross, a mishmash (in the best possible way) of dark fairy tales and rituals and dead creatures and their nocturnal gatherings:
...and A Cabbage in a Nutshell No. 1, which the creators describe as "...the first installment of an anthrotheological mystery set in a bygone future as told from the vantage point of an occulttastically informed super-future," and I can't do any better at summing it up than that:
...and here is one of its many strange pages:
Let's go over what is seen here: An ovoid-faced witch, a red-hooded girl, a sullen teen, black candles, a full moon, and three village men in traditional-meets-astro dress dancing on a carpet of mushrooms next to a boombox playing a song with the words "DARKNESS FALLS ON THE CITY IT SEEMS TO FOLLOW YOU TOO." And oh, the devil, come to take away a man named Ludwig, who is busy installing a telephone. And that's just page 7.
What does it all mean? I haven't the faintest idea. And this one page is indicative of all of Tin Can Forest's mad and marvelous stories. Each reads like a surrealist cut-up, or the recounting of someone's dreams, or an incantation done on psychotropics by way of Dewey decimal section 398 in your neighborhood library. One must approach the reading of these illustrated texts in the same frame of mind one might read poetry or view a David Lynch film. It's nonsensical and cryptic, intriguing and enchanting, and draws from some deep well of half-remembered wonder tales and vivid imagery ribbons spooling out from the collective unconscious.
What I do know, is that these are some of the most breathtaking books I've ever beheld. The illustrations manage to be both incredibly lush and ultra-cool, chock full of magic and style. The words are like lyrics from a thousand songs, rewoven into a narrative that is fictive but rooted in heritage and full of secret truths. There are talking animals galore, and kerchief-wearing witches, and an antler-headed boy riding a goat, and black skies, and strapping zombies, and a baby in a bonnet holding a grimoire. What more does a person need?
Honestly, I'm not sure what else to say about Tin Can Forest, other than to include their bio, which is far more succinct and clear than I've been here:
Pat Shewchuk and Marek Colek are Canadian artists based in Toronto Ontario and Salt Spring Island BC, who work collaboratively under the name Tin Can Forest. They create sequential art, film and books. Their art is inspired by the the forests of Canada, Slavic art, and occult folklore.
Also, they gave me this limited edition print, which is of a vampire, and which makes me unspeakably happy:
And I have promised myself that as soon as I can afford it, I am going to order myself their print of a woodland occult rock band, because it might be the best thing ever:
Thank you, Tin Can Forest, for your generosity, and for existing at all. The world is much weirder and far lovelier for it.