Grant Snider has a way with words. And images. He can take a single idea: synesthesia crayon colors (including Thursday, Triangular, the Letter Q), casting modern Western poets as warrior-poets (as in Robert Frost: Bear Fighter and Emily Dickinson: Closet Jedi), the Oregon Trail as played by future Portland residents ("Your van broke down crossing the suburbs. You lost: 2 guitars, 1 amp, 1 band member."), the Olympics as played by the Greek Olympians (Scylla makes a mean water polo player), and the diabolical botanical gardens (home to the kamikaze bonsai), and spins them out into page-long nuggets of clever — and often thoughtful — Incidental Comics.
We've featured at least one of Snider's comics before: his wonderfully strange Haruki Murakami Bingo. It's well worth diving into his archives to read his unique takes on everything from public art to paper airplanes. Art and writing are especially near and dear to Snider's heart, he likes to tug at the whimsy of the working artist. Sometimes it's something as goofy as proposing "helpful" alternatives for artists who can't draw hands. Other times, he illustrates the search for inspiration as a literal hunt with spears and snares. Still other times, he outlines how to use your college diploma in your chosen career (if you're a fashion designer, you can fold it into a hat; if you're a meteorologist you can cut it into snowflakes). There are also some moments of illustrated self-doubt, with Snider questioning whether he is truly an adult (or simply in the thrall of Martians) and fantasizing about the tragedies that lurk in the imagined pasts of successful creators — while ultimately admitting that the key to artistic success is boring old hard work.
Snider also has a particular fascination with books. His "Book of the Future" piece appeared in the New York Times Book Review, and he's particularly fascinated with science fiction, steampunk, and books as objects. He'll readily mock the paranormal romance, imagine the slime mold that lurks by the forgotten microfilm, recast books as stray animals, waiting to be taken in and overwhelm your attention, or reinterpret books from the summer reading list as outdoor summer activities. That's in between sillier comics about the imaginary ecological cycle of coffee and the geophysical map of Thanksgiving dinner.
Sometimes, though, there are just pigs and puns — and those comics are hard to beat.
Snider sells poster prints of many of his comics for $15 at his poster shop.