Nibbus Maximus!
January 10, 2011 7:34 PM   Subscribe

 
Aah, Jim, you glorious nut. Don't ever change.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:41 PM on January 10, 2011


This is awesome and I love Jim Woodring but my god I just can't stop giggling like a third grader who just realized you can make 8008135 on a calculator.
posted by griphus at 7:46 PM on January 10, 2011


I'll take The Penis Mightier for $100, Alex.
posted by kmz at 7:51 PM on January 10, 2011


Five thousand dollars for a pen. Or, perhaps feed a hundred people for five years? Everyone has their priorities.

Truly, I dont get it. Is it supposed to be some sort of performance art? I certainly can't be any sort of engineering feat at this point.

Seriously, with no snark intended, explain to me what this is supposed to be about and why it is important, other than some assnozzle begging money from people to make a spectacle of himself for a few seconds?

If your answer is "It's fun", I will consider hating you after the conclusion of old business at the February meeting.

I am underwhelmed by this guy, this post and Fig Newtons.
posted by timsteil at 7:56 PM on January 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Indeed, why spend any more than the bare minimum on anything when there are hungry mouths to feed? Surely you don't own a car or a nice suit; you ride the bus to work and wear rags and donate every penny you can spare to charity.
posted by axiom at 8:00 PM on January 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


Five hundred thousand dollars and five thousand dollars are quite a bit different. Five thousand--sure. Some excellent thing coming into the world is worth that. Not to mention, I'm sure it employed people. People who probably enjoyed making it.
posted by LucretiusJones at 8:15 PM on January 10, 2011


It took time and materials to lathe the pen holder and design/build the nib. I suppose you could sell your computer and feed a village, too. He's a surrealist (comic book) artist. He kicks ass at that. This could be considered surrealist performance art. The hydrodynamic properties that make steel pen nibs workable don't really scale up, so this IS an engineering feat in a way.

You would probably be more excited if you read his comics. They are very dreamy in a way that stir emotions using some kind of weird "I vaguely remember this from somewhere..." pop/primordial picture language. If you get hooked on it, then you get invested in seeing him realize his dreams and feel happy for him. He's no slouch as a draftsman, either.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:15 PM on January 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


If your answer is "It's fun", I will consider hating you after the conclusion of old business at the February meeting.

It's art.
posted by griphus at 8:20 PM on January 10, 2011


[comment removed - don't know what the hell that was, but if you do it again we'll give you some time off. as you were.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:27 PM on January 10, 2011


Seconding the love for Woodring's work, much of which plays with distortions of scale (and all other dimensions). This is in line with that.
posted by GeorgeBickham at 8:33 PM on January 10, 2011


I've been eagerly anticipating this for a while. Jim's been making blog entries about this project for a bit. His jivas are occasionally reminiscent of quaternion julia sets to me.
posted by oonh at 9:00 PM on January 10, 2011


I was there! He even let other people (myself included) use the Maximus. It's hard to use a pen taller than you are.

Consider the creation of a pen like this in the context of, say, one of Claes Oldenburg's sculptures that are "just" immense copies of everyday objects like a shoe, a fork, or a cherry. Woodring's Nibbus Maximus is a work of sculpture along the same lines. Not as impressive, what with it only being six feet high instead of dozens - but on the other hand the damn thing works!

It is not the most efficient device imaginable for putting ink on a canvas at a large scale. It's awkward and unwieldy. But in using it, you become part of this absurd piece of art.
posted by egypturnash at 9:22 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good for Jim! $5000 is a small price to pay if it keeps him gainfully employed in his art practice, which I've been following since around 1985...he really is a surrealist, in the best sense of the word. The world needs more of this type of visionary, and if you don't believe me go to Fantagraphics Books and order up a steaming pile of Jim's work. That'll set you straight.
posted by motown missile at 9:47 PM on January 10, 2011


I had to read and re-read and re-read the FPP before I could figure out why it was a post.

I'm not a farmer, but I kept thinking, "why wouldn't a dip pen work?" It's just a tub/trough for sheep or cattle. How can it not work?

I finally clued into the fact that the post is about a writing implement, not a medication delivery system for livestock.

(Yes I could have just watched the video, but I was trying to decide if video was worth watching or offered anything of interest to me.)
posted by sardonyx at 10:52 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Perhaps the greatest American Surrealist - at least toe-to-toe with David Lynch.

In the back of Jim ( his first Fantagraphics book in the eighties) there used to be small ads for... stuff. Tiny works of art, bric-a-brac, things he'd picked up off the street. I've always regretted not buying something, even if only a rock. And he really managed to capture the state of dreaming, or half-awakeness, beautiful and scary and silly all at the same time.

And where can you feed someone for ten dollars a year?
posted by Grangousier at 10:58 PM on January 10, 2011


Five thousand dollars for a pen. Or, perhaps feed a hundred people for five years? Everyone has their priorities.

$5000 ÷ (100 × [5 × 365]) = less than three cents per person per day

That's, like, one macaroni. And yet our children are wasting dozens of macaroni each on necklaces!!! Such decadence must not continue!
posted by Sys Rq at 11:19 PM on January 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


When I think about all the macaroni our respective $5 could have bought for macaroni-less people all over the world, it makes me cry like Manhog, because all that macaroni could have also gone to me. ME!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:35 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This could be the pen that is mightier than the sword.

At the very least, you have the advantage of distance, and that nib could probably still give you a nasty puncture wound.
posted by kcds at 3:10 AM on January 11, 2011


I have several family members who are obsessive semi-competitive pen turners. I see lots of pens. I have spent many the afternoon as they pull put their latest creations and tell the complex history of woods, metals and acrylics under magnifying glass while they critique their wares with artisans eyes. I just nod and smile. It is quite nice for me because I love fancy pens. Anyway I have picked up a bit from osmosis.

Craftsmanship- quite unremarkable other than extraordinary size. There are no obvious defects, but the lack of detail and simple design is very forgiving to the journeyman pen turner. It is though an apprentice took the most basic of designs and now demands our applause because he has copied the short lived reality TV show Build it Bigger.

Artistic design- the simple design using a dipping nib and basic black holder seems focused on making the size of the object its sole distinctive attribute. It seems wasteful that the holder is devoid of artwork or pattern. Perhaps a gold leaf band, or geometric pattern of contrasting colored lacquers, or an inlaid mosaic. The nib as well, is not very technical and lacks the engraving or amalgam of metals seen in higher quality work.

Functional Utility- usability is good design. The simple dipping style is a good choice here as it limits the weight. Re illustrator testing it seems satisfied that he will be able to adapt, but one wonders if the design could be improved by using lighter materials and reshaping the holder for more precise control.

Overall-- aesthetic simplicity, lack of originality in concept (ordinary made big) and mediocre craftsman ship. This pen seems a mere novelty with size as its only defining quality. Thus we take it out of the case with the Mont Blanc's, Cross, etc and put it next to the collection including then LED glow and write pen and the one where the girl is undressed as you turn the pen over. This is the Vegas buffet of pens where larger portions are used to make up for lack of quality. Were this to demonstrate some additional artisanship in craft with extravegance upon extravagance we might find some reason to consider this but mere kitch.
posted by humanfont at 3:47 AM on January 11, 2011


I am underwhelmed by this guy, this post and Fig Newtons.

I was in violent opposition to this comment until I got to "Fig Newtons". They really are terrible aren't they? Not as a bad as Circus Peanuts, tho.
posted by DU at 4:32 AM on January 11, 2011


I was in violent opposition to this comment until I got to "Fig Newtons". They really are terrible aren't they?

Fig newtons suck.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:34 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]




I'm not a farmer, but I kept thinking, "why wouldn't a dip pen work?" It's just a tub/trough for sheep or cattle. How can it not work?

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought of livestock. I even re-read Frank on Sunday, and still was capable of imagining Jim Woodring had a heretofore unknown need for a sheep/cattle dip pen.

Then again, I've only had three hours of sleep.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:43 AM on January 11, 2011


Am I the only person to parse the title as "Nybbas Maximus", and imagine a giant spider-like creature?
posted by acb at 7:21 AM on January 11, 2011


I have a lady-friend who has a giant pen she carries around in her purse...she claims that she'll know the man she is supposed to marry when he pulls the same pen out to sign for the dinner check. I just sent her the link...awaiting her breathless declaration to move Seattle in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1....
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:01 AM on January 11, 2011


Grangousier, I remember "Jimland Novelties" being one of my favorite parts of Jim. And whuddyaknow, here's a Flickr group with scans of the catalog pages and some of the stuff he offered for sale. Such as: "Pig's Foot Paperweight. A real pickled pig's foot in lucite block. Small electric fan trained on it draws visitor attention so you can shrug when asked what the hell."
posted by gamera at 8:44 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have a lady-friend who has a giant pen she carries around in her purse

I knew a woman who carried a knitting needle in her purse and would take it out and stick it up her nose until it made her sneeze. Great disgusting party trick.

Also, Fig Newmans are a lot better than Fig Newtons. They have more flavor and are much more moist.

Oh, crap. This is not on topic at all. So, uh ...

I am in favor of giant pens.
posted by freecellwizard at 9:07 AM on January 11, 2011


scans of the catalog pages and some of the stuff he offered for sale.

Slimy Pink Wall In A Bag! Alas, at the time I didn't have $75 extra bucks...
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:25 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is though an apprentice took the most basic of designs and now demands our applause because he has copied the short lived reality TV show Build it Bigger.

Not to deflate your 'baggery any, but I think its intended to invoke the classic Speedball pen. I can't say I've got vast coast-to-coast knowledge of every P+I weapon out there, but it certainly seems the most commonly available steel-nib artists pen for sale and the one I see used most often. Mmmmm steel nibs. They've got a unique purr across the page.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:57 AM on January 11, 2011


humanfont> The nib as well, is not very technical and lacks the engraving or amalgam of metals seen in higher quality work.

He has two nibs for the Maximus. One is brass-plated and elaborately engraved; the other is plain steel. He had both at the event but I only saw the plain steel nib in use; I am assuming there are technical difficulties yet to be worked out with the brass one.
posted by egypturnash at 12:34 PM on January 11, 2011


You know that thing where you look at a book in a shop, decide it's too expensive, look at it some more, put it back, get home and think 'shudda'?

Like that with the first time I saw Frank. Only I then got on the bus the next day, went back to the bookshop, and bought it.

Then the rest.

Jim Woodring is an emissary from another, better universe where we are the fables. The only comics I own, and by God I'll do time if anyone takes 'em.

A $5k pen? Let the man have it. A list of things that cost $5k and are a genuine insult to the Buddha would take longer to type out than I have left to live: this is not one of them.
posted by Devonian at 1:24 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


When did we turn in to such joyless misanthropes? I'm guessing a while ago.
posted by crickets at 2:12 PM on January 11, 2011


Used to be when you ordered comics from Jim's website he'd always throw a few of the novelty pamphlets in as well, and I've got a little bag full of them, all great. He didn't send the large-form items like the pink wall or foot-grinder as freebies, though.
posted by anazgnos at 2:35 PM on January 11, 2011


My six year old son proudly wore his 'Nibbus Maximus' T-shirt to school on monday, and had fig newtons in his lunchbox. I do not lie. (and he was stoked that there was something 'on that blue site' that he knew more about than I did).
posted by OHenryPacey at 6:17 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


He cleans up nice. Based on his work, I expected him to be a lot less presentable.
posted by whuppy at 8:20 AM on January 16, 2011




More Flickr pictures
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 3:25 PM on January 17, 2011


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