Williamsburg hipster chicks will eat you alive!
That’s the message of cartoonist Koren Shadmi’s new book, “In The Flesh,” a collection of bizarre, bawdy and beautifully illustrated stories inspired by his borough. Shadmi, whose illustrations have appeared in publications like The New York Times and BusinessWeek, is stepping out into the world of alternative comics with a slideshow of his work at Williamsburg’s Desert Island on Feb. 13.
“For me, everything about Brooklyn is fascinating, from the people to the details of the buildings,” said Shadmi, who sets his haunting stories from McCarren Park — where a man goes for a walk with a cannibalistic girl in a hoodie — to Park Slope — where a plaid-shirt-clad guy picks up a hot body with no head.
Shadmi’s stories are already popular in France (but then again, what isn’t?), but “In The Flesh” is the Israeli-born Williamsburg resident cartoonist’s first collection published in the United States. Some of the stories are macabre, but one light-hearted piece shows the aftermath of an L station good-bye kiss from two perspectives. As the man, who looks more than a little bit like Shadmi, wonders, “Could it be love already?” his date thinks about food and watches a pig dance on YouTube.
“I don’t usually do ‘bio-comics,’ but I’m really interested in what people do when they have an unrequited love and the humiliation that comes out of that,” Shadmi explained.
After serving in Israel’s military — mostly “drawing portraits for my commander to give to officers so he could kiss ass,” he recalled — Shadmi came to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts.
“It was a cultural shock for me. Tel Aviv is more European, more casual. Here, everyone walking on Bedford Avenue looks like she’s a model or wants to be one,” said the 27-year-old Shadmi.
The girls in “In The Flesh” definitely look like models, though for some reason, all the guys they end up with are garden-variety schlubs. Shadmi attributes the disparity to the “gorgeous dancers” that posed for drawing classes at SVA while the male models are typically “weird hobo-looking guys” (as Brooklyn Paper readers will recall from last week’s story about homely Editor Gersh Kuntzman’s turn as a nude model).
Koren Shadmi’s “In the Flesh” (Villard, $14.95) is available at Desert Island [540 Metropolitan Ave. between Union Avenue and Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, (718) 388-5087] and BookCourt [163 Court St. between Dean and Pacific streets, (718) 875-3677]. Shadmi will be reading at Desert Island on Feb. 13 at 7 pm. For information, visit www.korenshadmi.com.