REVIEWS

"The Sightseer’s Complement (tips) it's hat to Olympia Press’s Traveler's Companion books of the 1950s and ’60s. Tongues-in-cheek abound. Winks flutter. Desire and erections are doubtful. The book is a gem. Trim, tidy, well-conceived, exquisitely executed. Ironic and appreciative, twisted and fun. (A perfect gift for the proper connoisseur.) Pornography as art — why not? If, as Kenneth Tynan has noted, it is honor-worthy to stimulate the eye or oar, what do we have against the pelvis?" —Bob Levin, author of Outlaws, Rebels, Freethinkers & Pirates and The Pirates and the Mouse: Disney's War Against The Underground

"Ryan Standfest brings together an exquisitely curated collection of funny, dark, and beguiling comic art for Black Eye No. 3. I'm going to read my copy by a roaring arson blaze." —Kaz, Creator of the comic strip Underworld

"Rotland Press seems to have its roots in The Realist and Grove Press c. 1960s more than in the Hippy UG press that followed or in the gentrified graphic novel presses that have come along since. Nihilists and other marginally socialized types will be as glad to discover their satirical publications as I've been." —Art Spiegelman, co-editor of Arcade and RAW, author of MAUS

"Rotland Press is a mother lode of neo-underground comics in a print environment almost overwhelmed by constantly recycled industrial product. Browse their beautifully designed publications and take a tour of some of the best work produced by the best of today's independent cartoonists." —Bill Griffith, author of Zippy, co-founder of Arcade and Young Lust comics, and contributor to Raw and Weirdo

"BLACK EYE 2 is punishingly grim, even nihilistic. But it's high quality nihilism, which is significant." —D.B. Dowd, Drawing The Social Landscape: Writings On Visual Culture

"Best Independent Publisher 2014" — Detroit Metro Times, alternative weekly

"The mission (of Rotland Press) doesn't deal only with indie comics of these days, since Rotland books are full of references to literature, poetry, art, cinema and obviously comics of the past. So, even if most of these books are made by contemporary artists, every item published by Mr. Standfest has a unique charm, as if it came from a distant time." —Gabriele Di Fazio, Just Indie Comics

"There's a small publishing house in Detroit called ROTLAND PRESS; they put out comics with a bleak, dark sense of humor. With their horrific works, they don't aim for laughs, per se, as much as they're looking to immerse the viewer in complete darkness. Their stuff is so bleak, it's absurd, which seems like an appropriate mindset for a city that's been described as desolate." —Evan Minsker, Pitchfork

"BLACK EYE 2 reminds us that behind the deadpan there is often deadly pain. A vital anthology which proves the tradition of black humor remains laceratingly alive." —Jeet Heer, Canadian cultural journalist and historian

"The "dark populism" of Posada is reflected as a whole by Standfest in the contents of this issue, emphasizing imagery related to a sort of death and decay mixed with vitality and joy. Despite the gruesome and visceral nature of Posada's work, it very much represented life as it was lived in Mexico, as a series of contradictions that encapsulate stirring beauty and stark horror. Standfest's editorial vision is much the same, as BLACK EYE 2 manages to be dark but not downbeat; it's laughing into the abyss." —Rob Clough, The Comics Journal

"The book was great. It's all about death. And these crazy, intense, expressionistic drawings and the message (that) the world in uninhabitable. The world is, as we know it, uninhabitable —spiritually, physically, emotionally— and the question is how do you inhabit what is basically uninhabitable?" —Renee Blitz, author of Sitting Shiva For Myself, on BLACK EYE 2, as interviewed by Bob Levin

"BLACK EYE 1 is obviously an intensely personal, idiosyncratic publication that feels wildly uneven to anyone who doesn't share the editor's precise sense of aesthetics. Sean Collins' review in The Comics Journal criticized it for being a humor publication that lacked many laughs. While that's true to an extent, there's nothing on the cover that says "humor"; indeed, the images suggest something more akin to underground comics. Producing "laffs" isn't so much the point here as to unsettle, disquiet and provoke readers. The uncompromising expression of his (Standfest's) aesthetic is what makes this book such a powerful experience, even if it is frustrating at times. I look forward to the second volume." —Rob Clough, High-Low

“For an anthology of scabrous sick humor, Ryan Standfest’s BLACK EYE 1 sure is tastefully designed. The cover and paper stock are creamy and pleasant to the touch, an ideal platform for the black and white, graytone, or pencil-shaded art of the contributors. Its introduction, table of contents, and prose contributions come in an array of exquisitely curated typefaces from the mid-20th century. A triumvirate of top comics critics contribute essays — Bob Levin on Phoebe Zeit-Geist, Jeet Heer on S. Clay Wilson, and Ken Parille on Steve Ditko — of the sort that would animate the altcomix cocktail-party circuit, were there such a thing. Of all the publications to be seized by overzealous Canadian customs officers on guard against American obscenity recently, this one here’s surely the most classiest.” —Sean T. Collins, The Comics Journal

"It has a good feel."  —David Lynch on BLACK EYE 1

“What Standfest has created here is nothing short of a miracle. A perfect blend of old and new, horror and humor, gross and gorgeous - BLACK EYE 1 is a like a modern EC humor/horror publication. If I had the money, I'd buy all of these up and keep them all for myself. One of my favorite books this year.” —Benn Ray, Atomic Books

BLACK EYE 1 is a remarkably well-curated and lovingly packaged book by editor Ryan Standfest, featuring a host of top notch cartoonists including some MOME regulars including Al Columbia, Olivier Schrawuen, Robert Goodin, Lilli Carré, and many others.” —Eric Reynolds, Fantagraphics

Selected Press

2016

Crawford, Lynn. "Up Close 2016: Detroit" ("The N-Word" included among the top five significant artworks produced in Detroit in 2016), Art In America (online version), December, 2016 

Canty, Cynthia. "Painter Aims to Capture Superhero Powers of the N-Word" (interview concerning the publication "The N-Word: Paintings by Peter Williams"), Michigan Public Radio: Stateside (radio + podcast)

Royal, Derek. "Episode 210: Black Eye No. 3" (review of "Black Eye No. 3"), The Comics Alternative (podcast), October, 2016

2015

Dooley, Michael. "7 Best Vintage Comics Revelations: A Designer's Report" (includes "Sadistic Comics" by R. Sikoryak), PRINT (online version), September, 2015

Clough, Robert. "Minicomics Round-Up: Guerra/Diaz, Taylor, Sikoryak, Alvarez, Purins" (review of Rotland Dreadfuls No. 9: "Sadistic Comics"), High-Low (blog), May, 2015

2014

Berlatsky, Noah. “Chasing Posada: A Macabre Populist In The City”, Chicago Reader (print and online edition), 2014

Dowd, D.B. “J.G. Posada Visits Oklahoma”, Drawing The Social Landscape (blog), 2014

Di Fazio, Gabriele. "Rotland Press" (feature), Just Indie Comics (blog).

2013

DeVito, Lee. "Dreadfully Good Art" (feature), The Metro Times (print edition)

Clough, Rob. "BLACK EYE 2" (review), The Comics Journal (blog)

Milo, Jeff. “BLACK EYE 2- ROTLAND PRESS” (feature in two parts), The Metro Times (online edition)

2012

Clough, Rob. "Sharp Stick: Black Eye, Volume 1" (review), High-Low (blog)

Johnson, Zachary. "CAKE: The Alternative Comics Expo," (interview), Sixty Inches from the Center (blog)

2011     

Mason, Liz. “Ryan Standfest Discusses BLACK EYE 1” (interview), Quimby’s Podcast (podcast)

McConnell, Robin. “BLACK EYE : Heer, Onsmith & Standfest” (interview), Inkstuds (radio)

Collins, Sean T. “BLACK EYE 1” (review), The Comics Journal (blog)

Khouri, Andy. "Indie Comics Seized By Customs Agents at U.S.-Canada Border", Comics Alliance (blog)

Flinn, Sue Carter. “Canadian Customs Seizes “Obscene” Comics”, Quill & Quire

Giampaoli, Justin. “BLACK EYE Only Funny South of the Border”, 13 Minutes (blog)

2010    

Giampaoli, Justin. “FUNNY (not funny)”, Poopsheet Foundation (blog)

Farber, Paul. "Pushing the Limits of Good Taste", Michigan Public Radio (radio)