Coin-Op Books by Peter Hoey and Maria Hoey
The first time I picked up anything by Coin-Op books was at MICE 2012. I was drawn to the table by the series of short comics all designed to look like 45 sleeves. (I love the intersection of where music and comics meet). The comics are a collaboration between siblings Peter and Maria Hoey (sometimes with others as well) and how they divvy responsibilities is opaque to an outsider. The comics are stylish with a mid-century graphic design quality. (It’s unsurprising that aside from their comic work, they also do a fair amount of newspaper and magazine illustrations). Some stories share that almost infographic feeling. “Strip Mall (Instrumental)” isn’t so much a story as songs re-imagined as stores in strip malls. Another, has notable events that happened to rock musicians in hotels. Others, are more narrative, though there is a frequent existentialism to them. There’s a series of comics about a man delivering an inter-office memo, the office becoming wilderness as he treks alone to his recipients. There’s a pair of reoccurring dogs, Saltz & Pepz who are perpetually down on their luck. They feel like a cross between a classic comedy duo, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
The art is rich and detailed. They play with panel sizes, and gutters. A piece based on “Rear Window” uses thin vertical panels that are reminiscent of a film strip. Frequently, they’ll break up a larger image into smaller squares. The figures in each square believing themselves more or less alone, but seeing how their actions cascade outwards in calamity.
Coin-Op website: https://coinopbooks.com/