Archive for December, 2010

Out Like a Lamb


Friday, December 31, 2010

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I'll get that apple in 2011!

Well, it’s Friday afternoon and I’ve got nothin! I wrote year-end lists for other sites, worried about my own books place on such lists, and made almost all the way through the now-canceled FX series Terriers, which is basically Charles Willeford on TV. Check it out! Anyhow, comics and such. So, casting about for a post only marginally less lame than Tim’s (I blame Jog for making us look so bad) I now present you with, you guessed it, links!

The end of 2010 has put me in mind of the end of 2000, at which point, I think, we launched the awesome old Ganzfeld web site. It’s still online here, and is full of dated material and goodies like comics by T.E. Powers and Frank King, not to mention an Ben Jones classic. You could pretty much kill the weekend wandering through the site. Boy, the internet used to be really different.

I’ve been enjoying the Four Color Process blog these last months, and now they’ve posted a rather brilliant manifesto. Check it out. (hat tip to Mr. Howe)

Depending on your days, Facebook has become this weird trove of comics, illustration and graphics history (and the same for other media, I’m sure). But for some reason, artists of the 60s and 70s seem to be particularly prolific, and are posting photos and anecdotes that are pretty new to me. It’s bar-talk stuff, in the best possible way.

Artist Alan Kupperberg has lately been putting up really fun photos and commentary on life at Marvel and Atlas in the 1970s. Here’s a doozy of and about Chip (son of Martin) Goodman.

And the great Bobby London has been posting pix of his original Popeye strips from the 80s, a run about which I know almost nothing (the one book collection is rare and pricey) but would love to learn more.

And thus, with other people’s memories dancing in my brain, I close out 2010. Have a great holiday!

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The Most Secret Graphic Novel of 2010


Thursday, December 30, 2010

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"The Wednesday Crowd"

In the midst of last week’s focus on Joe Vigil’s Dog, commenter Jones inquired as to a stray mention of The Baby of Mâcon, a Peter Greenaway movie from 1993. It got me nostalgic, I confess – when I was 14, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover was one of the four or five notorious VHS tapes constantly traded around the lunchroom, and I was perfectly happy at the time to (ha!) catalog the director in my ‘big tent’ approach to horror, a liberal enough perspective to accommodate both that most populist of Greenaway’s features and various ultraviolence-tinged superguy comics such as The Crow, and surely Faust, had I access to it at the time.

Little did I know that a more immediate connection was present: earlier this month, on December 3rd, the very day I was visiting NYC for a certain Comics and Graphics Festival, the Netherlands-based Greenaway was also in town at the Park Avenue Armory for the opening of Leonardo’s Last Supper: A Vision by Peter Greenaway (running through January 6th), the American debut of his ongoing Ten Classic Paintings Revisited project, a touring installation series dedicated to explication of various masterpieces with the stated aim of promoting visual literacy to a public disinclined toward substantive engagement with certain storied arts. This involves the presentation of a digital “clone” of the painting in question (or, in rare cases, the original work) surrounded by light and music and voices, and blasted with projected images that emphasize or excerpt pertinent details.

I didn’t get to the the New York show — which, title notwithstanding, apparently combines elements from European shows on Da Vinci’s The Last Supper and Veronese’s The Wedding At Cana — but photos reveal a small chamber of clear panels to ensconce the audience in projection data, seated against glowing elements out of some faux-Biblical Tron, in a manner more specifically faux-Biblical than Tron manages on its own. Indeed, this whole effort strikes me as the first Peter Greenaway joint that could realistically prompt the Walt Disney Company to back up the proverbial dump truck of cash for a semi-permanent iteration in one of the edutainment-minded corners of its theme parks. Applicable catalog materials, however, reveal the whole thing as a typically idiosyncratic venture for the artist.

Also, there is a comics connection, and not just because the planned library of ten accounts for every Ninja Turtle save for Donatello. No, in light of recent mentions of illuminated manuscripts and the religious element in comics, I will argue that Peter Greenaway is, in fact, the creator of 2010′s most secret graphic novel.


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Thursday, December 30, 2010

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Snow has kept me away from computers and comics and home for a very long time now — I have nothing to say about funnybooks this week. I briefly considered just giving up, and suggesting that we celebrate the new year with an old video, always worth re-watching:

Luckily, Tom Spurgeon has just interviewed a Comics Comics team member, Mr. Jason T. Miles, sparing us all from that indignity.

You can read their conversation here, and I don’t have to fake a post! This is a true Christmas miracle.

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Pay Attention: David Collier’s Chimo


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

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Excerpt from David Collier's Chimo

If the past is prologue David Collier’s new book Chimo, which will be widely available in early 2011, will probably receive far less attention than it deserves. For me, the four great Canadian cartoonists are Chester Brown, Seth, Julie Doucet and David Collier. Of the four, Collier has received the least praise and press. So it’s worth inquiring what makes Collier’s work so special and also ask why his appeal, so far at least, has been limited.

Thanks to the Beguiling, I got an early look at Chimo and it has all the peculiar qualities that distinguish Collier’s output. The book is a free-ranging memoir that deals with Collier’s life-long relationship with the army. He joined up in the 1980s when he was in his 20s. He initially did only a few years and then became a full-time cartoonist. Launching his eponymous comic book series Collier’s was published by Fantagraphics in 1991.  But more recently Collier rejoined the army, in part to participate in the Canadian War Artists Program but also to work as a regular soldier.

Collier has already done a few stories about his soldiering career but Chimo offers the most extensive account yet, and is his longest sustained narrative, clocking in at over a hundred pages (with samples of Collier’s earlier military cartooning filling out the book). (more…)

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THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (12/29/10 – Winding Down)


Monday, December 27, 2010

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From "MOON?Subaru Solitude Standing"; art by Masahito Soda.

Yes, time is running out for 2010, and panic seems a natural enough reaction. Do you have money left after the holidays? Not me. Luckily, there’s not much in the way of comics due either, though a few standouts are notable. Let’s be both lazy and industrious and get right to them:



A Transitional Period


Monday, December 27, 2010

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For your reading pleasure, a gem passed on by Marv Newland, via Robin McConnell: A 1981 article from Vancouver magazine by Les Wiseman. It’s a good look at the period when the “underground” scene was shifting into “independent,” and features such major Canadian cartooning figures as George Metzger, Rand Homes, and David Boswell. Enjoy.

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Faith in Comics


Saturday, December 25, 2010

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I wanted to do a post on the connection between illuminated manuscripts and comics but then I got sidetracked a little bit. From what I understand illuminated manuscripts were made like modern “assembly line” comics. They divided up the labor to construct the book. One guy did the calligraphy, another did the drawings, another did the “inking”, another the color and yet still others bound the book itself. Thinking about this also got me thinking more specifically about how I find it interesting that many of the leading alt/art cartoonists of yesterday and today come from interesting and varied religious backgrounds. Like maybe we’re all re-incarnated monks who used to sit for hours laboring over some miniscule drawing back in the 15th century or something. I’m kidding of course. But when I started thinking about my friends who are cartoonists who “had religion” I was surprised – or maybe I wasn’t – by the list I compiled. I dunno if there is a connection between “religion” – or “faith” – and comics – but there is something there. (more…)

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