Tragic Book Number Four
Contributors: Matthew Rudy, Jeffrey "El Jefe'" Guilliland, Joseph Dostal, C.K.Wilde, Rob Harless, Eric Spitz Nagle, Mark Hayward, Jim Demotropolis, April Manning, Matthew Rentchler, David Kelly, Kurt Allerslev, Steve Wegner, Kent Winkler, Mark Wagner, S.L. Hoche, Nelz Pederson, Matt Tracy, Jon Born, Jake Goeller, David Lundahl, Jon Barwise, Nugent J. Vitallo, Mantalk Flunkie
Size: 8 1/2" X 11"
Mark Wagner designed covers and did the bi-furcated pamphlet binding with sewn in end sheet wings. The frontice piece and title page signal the caustic and humorous contents with a collage of an appropriated painting of an Assyrian warrior with his foot on the neck of his vanquished foe pouring Tabasco pepper sauce on him as he squirms. This issue is image heavy, with lots of fresh fiction and poetry; and easier on the eyes in general then the previous offerings. The Dot-matrix typography is still awful, but printed larger; experimentation with spacing, leading, font, and an obvious affection for hand written calligraphy are in evidence. The spray paint stenciled end sheet wings and Playboy style centerfold were further steps in exploring the book format. The page design is still flipping all over the place, leading to a salamundgundi feel: Mixed up, de-centered, unmoored, coded, and collaged. The drawings are great in this issue: with Rob Harless's cars and David Heagle Last's weird mini comics being highlights. This book also reprints the first piece of correspondence the press received about the series, adding a little self-preferentiality in the form of a damning letter from a preacher. The delirious excess of the contents spill from the book; but strangely, all the work energetically co-exists in a symbiotic otherworldly harmony or fractal order.