Staff Pick: Cartoonist Nate Garcia brings 'Muscle Horse' to Mikey's on Fourth Street

The Philadelphia artist will appear as part of a group reading on Saturday, April 2

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
The cover of Nate Garcia's "Muscle Horse"

The video trailer for Muscle Horse, a new comic from 19-year-old Philadelphia cartoonist Nate Garcia, opens like a traditional western, our hero entering what looks to be an old-timey saloon to a high-and-lonesome musical score. Things quickly take a surrealist turn, however, complete with a trippy, bathroom stare down, a chase scene and a six-shooter springing from within a horse's mouth. 

The 60-page book, first serialized as an Instagram swipe comic that ran "semi bi-daily" for eight months beginning in June 2021, is shaped in part by Garcia's artistic restlessness, which he discussed in a June 2021 interview with the newspaper at his former high school, for which he once served as illustrator.

“I’ve fallen in and out of love with the type of art that I’m doing now,” Garcia said. “There were times that I wanted to be just like fine artists like a painter, but I would just get so bored with that. I just think that it’s hard to stay interested in one picture for so long. And there’s times where I wanted to do maybe fashion art and stuff. I was pretty misguided with what I wanted to do for a really long time. Even though comics and cartoons were still in the back of my mind, I never really gave them the attention that you know, they needed until more recently, and now I’ve pretty much decided that that’s what I want to do with my life.”

Garcia will read from Muscle Horse at Mikey's on Fourth Street on Saturday, April 2, in an event curated by fellow cartoonist M.S. Harkness. Harkness will also take part in the reading, along with Nate McDonough, Ethan Pope, Caroline Cash, Cam Del Rosario and Emi Gennis. The action kicks off at 5 p.m.