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Gosh! Best of 2022

Mycelium Wassonii is Brian Blomerth’s follow-up to 2019’s LSD exploration, Bicycle Day. Where that book examined a fateful day in the life of it’s progenitor, Mycellium Wassonii introduces a couple intrinsically tied to the scientific study of psilocybin, the psychotropic drug found in “magic” mushrooms. Trading the synthetic neon of Bicycle Day, Blomerth approaches his mushroom book using a mix of earthy tones, watercolour and ink. It’s a visual feast, one that not only communicates the magic of the natural world, but the love of the central couple for both their marriage and their research. Blomerth hasn’t been afraid to approach the story with a level of objectivity; he confronts some of the messy truths behind their work (the CIA funding, the damage to the indigenous communities that their publications inevitably caused). You could be forgiven for assuming Mycelium was simply an experiment in aesthetics, showcasing the supreme talents of Blomerth as an artist, but it’s a deceptively simple book. There’s a lot to dwell on and immerse yourself in, whether you have an interest in psychedelics or not.

Brian Blomerth first fused his singularly irreverent underground comix style with heavily-researched history in 2019's Brian Blomerth's Bicycle Day, a Technicolor retelling of the discovery of LSD. Now, the illustrator and graphic novelist continues his wild and woolly excursions into the history of mind expansion with Mycelium Wassonii, an account of the lives and trips of R. Gordon and Valentina Wasson, the pioneering scientist couple responsible for popularizing the use of psychedelic mushrooms. A globetrotting vision of hallucinatory science and religious mysticism with appearances by Life Magazine, the CIA, and the Buddha, Mycelium Wassonii is a visual history and a love story as only Blomerth's Isograph pen can render it.