Archive for February, 2010

Speaking of Chip Kidd’s The Art of Charles M. Schulz


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Friday, February 26, 2010


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Cover for Chip Kidd's The Art of Charles M. Schulz

Since the issue of Chip Kidd’s book design for The Art of Charles M. Schulz (as well as Kidd’s other books) came up in Tim’s earlier posting, I thought readers be interested in my review of that book, which ran in the National Post on Dec. 1, 2001. Re-reading it, I wish I had said even more about Kidd’s design, which really did shake up our familiar perception of Schulz and started the process whereby people started taking a closer look at the Schulz as a cartoonist.

Here is the review:

The Art of Charles M. Schulz is perhaps the most lavish tribute any cartoonist has ever received. Assembled by Chip Kidd, the most influential designer in contemporary publishing, the images in this thick book have been culled from a variety of sources, including Schulz’s high-school yearbook and his private notebooks.
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Bridges Aflame


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Thursday, February 25, 2010


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I’m only about halfway through Todd Hignite’s upcoming The Art of Jaime Hernandez, but while it’s possible if unlikely that the whole thing falls apart near the end, and while I have a few mostly minor qualms (some fair, some not) about its approach, even at this point it is clear that this is a rich and beautiful book, and an essential volume for the advanced Hernandezologist. I’m not going to review the book right now, but just point out a few thoughts it inspired.
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Notebook jottings


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Wednesday, February 24, 2010


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Glenn Head's Hotwire Comics

Below are some jottings from my notebook. They are not substantial enough to be essays but might spark some thought or debate.

Praise for the competition. Lots of spitballs have been thrown at The Comics Journal‘s new web format, some of them hurled by mutinous writers from the Journal itself. I care more about content than format, so I don’t agree with the general line of criticism. For me the biggest problem with TCJ these days is that there is an overabundance of good stuff. It’s hard to keep up with the magazine since it offers so much to read every day. Put it this way: the magazine features long essays by Donald Phelps, Gary Groth, and R. Fiore. These aren’t just three of the best comics critics around, they are among the best essayists around period. Phelps is a critic of the stature of Manny Farber or Pauline Kael. (In fact, the Library of America’s great volume American Movie Critics has essays by Farber, Kael, and Phelps). Fiore and Groth are a notch below that Olympian level but there essays are as good as anything found in The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Believer or n+1. Aside from these key writers, the magazine offers regular essays from a strong cohort of intelligent, informed critics — Clough, Worcester, Ishii, Kreiner, Suat Tong, Crippen, Garrity, etc. (Anyone who isn’t on the list shouldn’t be offended, I’m writing off the top of my head.)
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Raw War


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Wednesday, February 24, 2010


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Friday Feb 26th NYC.  Have a night on the town with the endangered species known as Manhattanus Cartoonistas.

The SOHO GALLERY FOR DIGITAL ART

138 Sullivan St. NYC, NY  10012. This Friday  from 8 – 11 pm.

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Take Action Against Unfair Web Weirdness!


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Tuesday, February 23, 2010


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Burger King's true nature

For some inexplicable reason, Adult Swim/Burger King did NOT host the critical Neon Knome election yesterday, as they had announced (and as we mentioned earlier here), but instead waited until late this afternoon to suddenly, and without warning, slip the contest under all interested radars.

Do not let this injustice stand. I don’t know how long this contest will last, so go to the site now to cast your vote for integrity, solid values, and Neon Knome.

[image found via]

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Billy Graham as Glorious Godfrey


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Tuesday, February 23, 2010


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Kirby's models: Glorious Godfrey and Billy Graham, Big Barda and Lainie Kazan, Funky Flashman and Stan Lee

In a previous post I mentioned a hunch I had that Kirby’s character Glorious Godfrey, from the Forever People series, might have been based on the Reverend Billy Graham.
As it turns out my guess has factual support. In the Jack Kirby Collector #32, there is an article by Mark Evanier, where the Kirby biographer discusses the real life models who inspired Kirby’s characters. And sure enough Graham was the model for Glorious Godfrey (the above photo is from Evanier’s article).
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Godfrey is the smiling lackey of Darkseid. As Evanier noted on another occasion,  “the style and substance of [Darkseid] were based on just about every power-mad tyrant Kirby had ever met or observed, with a special emphasis on Richard Milhous Nixon.”
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I think the Godfrey/Darkseid relationship is an example of Kirby’s ability to use the operatic form superhero comics to create allegories that mirrored, in however distorted or over-the-top form, genuine human issues. It’s hard to read transcripts of Nixon and Graham talking without thinking about Darkseid and Godfrey.
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Here is an excerpt of a taped conversation where Nixon and Graham are talking about Jewish-Americans, who both the President and the preacher hated (an especially pertinent conversation considering Kirby’s ethnic origins):

 

Graham: This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain.

Nixon: You believe that?

Graham: Yes, sir.

Nixon: Oh, boy. So do I. I can’t ever say that, but I believe it.

Graham: No, but if you get elected a second time, then we might be able to do something.

Kirby knew evil when he saw it, and he used that insight in drawing his comics.

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Elvis in the Building


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Monday, February 22, 2010


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Yes, that's a new painting by Ebisu.

If you’re anything like me, you must be wondering, “What does Japanese comics legend Ebisu do these days?” And you must also wonder, “Does he paint in his underwear?” Well, never fear, because here are the answers to all your questions. And mine, too. And some I didn’t know I had. You’ll be happy to know that we (ahem, PictureBox) will be selling work much like what is pictured in the link in just a few short months. If you poke around (NSFW) the rest of this site (an art agency) you’ll find some good information on Ebisu and Nemoto as well, not to mention a rather more eccentric artist, too.

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