Art Brut knows something is attacking art from within. Breslin’s interview with an art teacher points to The Correction. But how is the boy Dylan involved with all of this? Find out in Art Brut #3 from Image Comics!
ART BRUT #3
Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: Martin Morazzo
Colorist: Mat Lopes
Letterer: Good Old Neon
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 15, 2023
Previously in Art Brut: Margot Breslin tries to make sense of her brief adventure in the world within paintings. She admires her girlfriend Inny’s latest painting, but also notes that everything around her seems to look, taste, and feel flatter and less intense. In that world behind the art, Art Brut felt something was terribly wrong. He started to tell Breslin about a group called The Correction, headed by a man dressed like Andy Warhol. But then he found an art tumor he needed to dispatch. Breslin’s phone rings. There was another incident and the entire art class cut out their tongues, except for one student. They had a substitute teacher that day, one who looked like Warhol.
CORRECTING IMPERFECTION PERMANENTLY
Art Brut #3 opens at the Kinsville Center, the place young Dylan was taken for therapy. Dr. Oldenburg looks up from his work, picks up a wig, and goes into a room where a man is chained up and bleeding. Using the man’s blood, he paints a winking face. One of his staff comes into the room to talk about Dylan. They believe he might be dream painting. Oldenburg thinks it might be time to show him The Room. Suddenly the little pieces are coming together as we see Dylan against the background of Munch’s The Scream.
Breslin signs for a delivery of paintings, a very expensive delivery of original paintings. Brut searches through them eagerly and finds The Scream. He knows the character within it as Vox and is sure that Vox will know if something awful is going on. Breslin gets a call from Inny who is upset at the mess Brut left of her paints. She is starting a new project and is quite intense. Brut understands – artists want their creations to be the perfection of their mental image, yet everything seems to come out wrong. He still wants to talk to Vox. Breslin refuses to go with him. She has a lead on the art teacher who missed class.
At the Kinsville Center, Dylan is brought to The Room, an entirely blank and featureless room, a blank canvas, as it were.
Art Brut and Manny step into the painting and approach the screaming Vox from behind. He momentarily seems happy to see them, and Brut asks him what is going on. Everything, he says, is terrible; he is on edge, and he wants to scream. It has been this way ever since the boy and his “skinny friends” started to show up. As if on cue, Dylan shows up with a group of elongated, one-eyed men. They are probably a tumor, but the boy is a boy.
Bill, the art teacher, is at a local bar getting drunk when Breslin arrives. She shows him the symbol of the winking face and asks him if he knows anything about it. He describes it as something you learn about during class without being told. It turns out he was obsessed with perfection in his art when he was a boy. He was in a therapy center for a while. After he got out, he started seeing winking eyes everywhere. Dr. Oldenburg, in costume, came and told him not to go to class that fateful day.
Within The Scream, Dylan disappears, but Manny and Brut continue to fight. One of the men grabs Vox and before Brut can reach him, the man kills him. That is the death of two paintings. Meanwhile, Breslin investigates Bill’s story and discovers the Kinsville Center.
FROM BLANK SLATE TO FULL CANVAS
Ironically, one of the striking scenes in Art Brut #3 is The Room which is notable for being blank. The panels have a white background, and the only suggestion of anything tangible in the room are an institutional table and chairs and the hint of a door where presumably there is a wall. Dr. Oldenburg’s white doctor’s coat matches exactly. In fact, the only major colors we see are in the faces and shirts of Dylan and the doctor. Oldenburg’s two goons dress in paint-spattered white, so they have a faded wash of color. But there is something disconcerting about such a large use of empty space in a comic.
I like the sequence involving The Scream right from the opening panel where Art Brut and Manny transition between worlds. Then we see Vox from behind, as though we are looking at the innocent landscape he faces in the painting. We do get a panel set up like the painting, and I like the way this is set up to feel like natural comic panel design. Vox makes sense as someone who is chronically anxious but who now has even more reason to be fearful. The men who show up with Dylan are exaggerations of Dr. Oldenburg’s orderlies, but they are more sinister here and the contrast emphasizes that Dylan is just a boy entangled in this complicated plot of art destruction.
BOTTOM LINE: WORLDS IN DANGER
Art Brut #3 not only connects the plot, but it describes a connection many artists have with their art. The pursuit of perfection is not only impossible, it could be dangerous to the artist. But what if this also becomes dangerous to their art?
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Art Bru #3
Threads converge as Art Brut returns to the world of art and Breslin confronts an art teacher.