Huizenga, Kevin 1977-
Huizenga, Kevin 1977-
Born 1977, in Harvey, IL. Education: Attended Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI.
Home—St. Louis, MO.
Writer and artist, producing short fiction and comic books; founder of the online comic Catastrophe Shop, 2001.
Named "Minimalism Cartoonist of the Year" by the Comics Journal, 2001.
(With Nicholas Robel) Drawn and Quarterly Showcase: Book One, Drawn and Quarterly (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2003.
Or Else 1, Drawn and Quarterly (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2004.
Or Else 2, Drawn and Quarterly (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2005.
Or Else 3, Drawn and Quarterly (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2005.
Ganges, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA), 2006.
Curses (short stories), Drawn and Quarterly (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2006.
Or Else 4, Drawn and Quarterly (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2006.
Author of blog, Kevin Huizenga Blog.
Kevin Huizenga became interested in comic books when he was thirteen years old and began to purchase Marvel comics from his neighborhood drug store. Prior to discovering the medium, he was a voracious reader, a love he credits his mother for instilling in him, and had he not stumbled across the world of comics, he told an interviewer for Comic Foundry, "I'd probably have tried to become a novelist." But his interest in comic books led him to try his hand at the books on his own. Untrained in art, he taught himself to draw by copying the pages of his favorite comic books. He then went on to create his own stories, photocopying the pages and distributing them to his friends. Huizenga started off with superheroes, and then eventually became interested in mini-comics, particularly King-Cat and Optic Nerve. Still, he went to college intent on studying philosophy and eventually continuing on to seminary. It was only when a professor in an elective art class praised his work that he began to take his comics seriously and to consider them as a potential career.
Huizenga concentrated on minicomics after graduating from college, and soon became known as a master of his field. His early works are collected in the "Or Else" volumes which are published by Drawn and Quarterly. The first four books contain primarily older material, while from book five on he intends for them to consist of mostly new works. Some of Huizenga's more popular comics include his "Supermonster" stories and the "Glenn Ganges" series. Ganges appears elsewhere, as well, notably in the Drawn and Quarterly Showcase: Book One, a book designed to highlight the work of young comic artists. Huizenga's contribution includes a series of linked short stories about Glenn Ganges, in which Huizenga investigates Ganges's daydreams. Ganges is focused on impregnating his wife, and this affects his thoughts and dreams throughout the stories. A contributor for Publishers Weekly remarked of Huizenga's effort: "Huizenga uses a clean cartoon style …, combining articulate ideas about love and worry with humorous asides and … moments of stunning visual beauty."
Glenn Ganges is also the focus for Huizenga's series of short stories, Curses. Carl Hays, in a review for Booklist, called Ganges a "mouthpiece for the artist's observations on the startling and surrealistic nature of the modern world." Huizenga uses a minimalistic style when drawing Ganges and the other individuals populating his world. Douglas Wolk, writing for Salon. com, felt that Huizenga's work "is so conceptually tricky that a ‘realistic’ style would make it impossible to render; his artwork's surface simplicity makes the reader fill in the blanks of the transformations Huizenga suggests with a handful of nonchalantly confident lines." Wolk concluded: "When Huizenga distills the sacred and the everyday into the symbolic clarity of his line work, they come out looking like the same thing viewed from different angles."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 1, 2003, Gordon Flagg, review of Drawn and Quarterly Showcase: Book One, p. 487; September 1, 2006, Carl Hays, review of Curses, p. 68.
Publishers Weekly, December 8, 2003, review of Drawn and Quarterly Showcase, p. 49; August 7, 2006, review of Curses, p. 39.
Catastrophe Shop,http://www.usscatastrophe.com/ (December 27, 2006), author biography.
Comic Book Galaxy,http://www.comicbookgalaxy.com/ (December 27, 2006), review of Or Else 2.
Comic Foundry,http://www.comicfoundry.com/ (June 1, 2006), author interview.
Comics Reporter,http://www.comicsreporter.com/ (March 30, 2004), "A Short Interview with Kevin Huizenga."
Drawn and Quarterly Web site,http://www.drawnandquarterly.com/ (December 27, 2006), author biography.
Salon.com,http://www.salon.com/ (November 8, 2006), Douglas Wolk, review of Curses.