Each copy of Carrier Pigeon Vol. II issue 2 comes with a woodcut hand-printed and signed by Cannonball Press founders Mike Houston and Martin Mazorra, formatted as a wraparound jacket. Under this is a cover of leather patterned lamination featuring a gold foil-stamp based on a woodcut by Justin Sanz.
The issue opens to front and back end pages featuring artwork by printmaker Rie Hasagawa. Each copy, limited to a retail edition of just 1,000, is a collectible item. As with the previous five issues, the content comprises six short works of fully illustrated fiction and six stimulating artist portfolios.
Matthew Blair’s comically eerie tale “Sloth” follows the immaculate conception and ill-fated life of its namesake and is captured with energetic and dramatic brushwork by magazine editor Kristy Caldwell. Repeat contributor Ben Schaeffer returns with another complex piece of science fiction and mortality. “Death’s Door” is punctuated with brilliant, inwardly directed drawings from contributing illustrator Kirsten Flaherty. Veteran artist Ann Chernow’s “Cream of Tomato” is a reminiscent story of a young couple’s venture into art crime, accompanied by charming environmental windows drawn by graphic artist Marie Roberts. “Heaven Help Hitler,” written by Carrier Pigeon editor-in-chief Russ Spitkovsky, is a hilarious and intricate tale that drifts between visions of auto-erotica and life in Heaven, fiendishly offset by Jason Roth’s flat, graphic illustrations. Victor Giannini returns with “The Monster of Sunset Park,” a sometimes upsetting reach into the realm of dark consciousness from the point of view of a resurrected car crash victim, illustrated with Matt Barteluce’s inspired fantasy. “Feather,” written by Mike Posillico, is an offbeat shoot-’em-up about a gun deal that goes from bad to worse, paired with authentic and bold artwork from comics powerhouse Josh Bayer.
The first of six artist portfolios is a presentation of graphite and silverpoint drawings by graphic artist and collagist Tatiana Simonova. Gregory Crane shares a collection of oil paintings depicting near-familiar landscapes laden with metaphor and drenched with color. Martin Mazorra and Mike Houston’s portfolio of woodcut and letterpress posters take their humor and wit from side shows, sex, consumerism and more. Edward Fausty, a pioneer of large-format digital printing on fine art papers, shares a portfolio of his signature photo-based nocturnes: introspective, carefully considered landscapes that offer a unique commentary on contemporary American settings. Sara Sanders contributes a portfolio of exquisite charcoal, graphite and muted watercolor still-lifes.
Rounding out the issue with his exceptional series of graphic, mixed media images is Chakaia Booker, whose portfolio is sprinkled with subtle references to tribal art.