Lying in bed last month, local artist and 2013 Mastermind Award-winner Matt Bryan was struck by sudden, majestic image. It was elegant but simple, even useful.
He imagined a calendar filled with unicorns.
"It's magical, mythological ground, but it's also the pinnacle of cheesy sincerity," says Bryan, who challenged his creative partner Mike McCubbins and other illustrators to re-envision the creature Lisa Frank famously rainbow-blasted on school supplies in the '80s and '90s. Indeed, these aren't your little sister's unicorns.
Last year, Bryan's cartooning and McCubbins' writing produced their Kickstarter-funded masterpiece, The Book of Da, a 148-page Lovecraftian epic drenched in ink, mystery and the lurking horrors of the oceans deep.
But Bryan says he wanted to hit a different tone for "The Year of the Unicorn" Kickstarter, so he and McCubbins crafted a skeezy, perfectly styled infomercial, complete with an ominous opening scene that transitions to monochrome anguish when a henpecked husband (played by McCubbins) forgets Valentine's Day and cries out, "There's got to a better way!"
"I wanted it to be shitty," Bryan says of the video. "But funny shitty. Because that's kind of the best and easiest way to do it."
Fans of Bryan's striking pen-and-ink work on The Book of Da are likely wondering when they'll see his next major project. He says he's currently working on a roughly ten-volume, 250-page series called The Session, which he says will follow a "modern superhero" who maintains a squeaky-clean public persona and attracts big bucks endorsements from the government, but can't shake the "horrible shit" he's done on the job.
Bryan says there's no clear timeline on the project yet, as he's only finished illustrating two issues. But when he does reveal an official release date, we know just the calendar to start marking down the days.