Author Archive

Working 100% with John P


Saturday, January 15, 2011

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Hello and welcome to Comic Comics weekend edition. This week I asked the great John Porcellino to talk a little bit about drawing his comics at print size – or as John likes to say working “100%.” Please enjoy.
Hey all,

Mr. Frank asked me to write about making comics at 100%, or the same size as the published form.

I started making lots of drawings as a kid, using scrap paper I found in my Dad’s office. So I grew up drawing on 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper. I also began making little booklets… paper of various sizes folded in half and glued along the “spine” which I’d then fill with stories and drawings. When I was a freshman in high school, I realized that if I folded letter-sized paper in half, and drew my comics on them that way, my Dad could photocopy them at his office and I could hand them out (without staples or binding of any kind) to my friends. Thus was created my very first zine: a D&D/Cerebus inspired comic called Tales of Hogarth the Barbarian Pig. At the time I was almost wholly unaware of the comic book world. I played D&D, and the hobby shop in my area carried copies of Dragon magazine, which featured a satiric comic in the back called Phineas Fingers. Somehow I saw a copy of Cerebus too, and lifted the animal idea without ever reading the comic itself.

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The Mark You Make Is The Mark You See


Saturday, January 8, 2011

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When I was in high school (10th grade?) I saw Masters of Comic Book Art. It was a videotape collection of interviews with Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, Steve Ditko, Neal Adams, Berni Wrightson, Frank Miller, Moebius, Dave Sim, and Art Spiegelman. Somehow, I was able to dub my own copy and used to watch it when I would draw. It was really inspiring back in 1988. Still is, I think.

The one interview that kind of baffled me as a teen was the Art Spiegelman interview. He was the only artist represented who wasn’t on my radar at the time. He didn’t draw costumed heroes or genre comics. He was drawing something from his own experience but using comics to flip the script. Spiegelman was talking about how he wanted to feel like he was writing. He said he was using office supplies to draw with like typing paper and white out.

Then he talked about how most comics are drawn larger than they are actually printed. He explained how the lines become smaller and how there is a refinement process that occurs with the artwork. And then he said that’s what he didn’t want to happen with Maus – that the refinement process created a distance between the reader and the maker. He said that he wanted it to feel like a diary – that he wanted the mark he made to be the mark you see. (more…)

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Dizzy Atmosphere


Saturday, January 1, 2011

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Hello and welcome, True Believers, to 2011. For my first post of the new year, I wanted to do something a little more personal, and well, positive. I thought about writing something on the comics I got for Christmas – but the only one I really liked was King City #12. And if I write about the end of that series I’ll just spoil it for those among us who haven’t been able to track down the back issues. Should I list the comics I got for Xmas that I didn’t care for? Nah. I’m gonna try and write only about things I like this year. I’m getting tired of reading “oh I hated it” reviews. So I figure I’ll just do one of my typically rambling posts about the only book I really did enjoy reading over the Xmas break. Please enjoy this riff.

The book is Dizzy Gillespie’s memoir To Be or Not To Bop. I’m a big jazz fan and this book really set the record straight that Dizzy was truly the founder of the modern style in jazz. It’s basically an oral history with lots of interviews with his contemporaries in the 1940s. Time and time again each interview reveals that it was Dizzy who taught the modern style to everyone else. There were plenty of guys playing the modern style – or trying to – but Dizzy would literally show his bandmates and friends how to phrase things on the trumpet, on the piano, on the bass, on the drums. Apparently he could play just about every instrument in the band and birthed this modern style that would eventually become known as bebop. (more…)

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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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PIX 2010 audio interviews


Saturday, December 18, 2010

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Hello and welcome to ComicsComics weekend edition. This week I am presenting a slew of interviews I conducted with a plethora of cartoonists who exhibited at this year’s Pittsburgh Indy Comics Expo. Some of the names may be well known to you while others may be appearing on your radar for the first time. I had a lot of fun doing these interviews. It felt very old world fandom or something. Thanks to everyone who participated for putting up with my antics. And if I missed you this year, look for me next year.

The marquee interview of the show – Kevin Huizenga and Jim Rugg – is archived here at Inkstuds. All other interviews are presented after the jump. Check it out! (more…)

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Kevin H and Jim Rugg interview


Sunday, December 12, 2010

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Hello and welcome to Comics Comics weekend edition. I am your host, Frankie The Wop. In an effort to promote more crossover blog warfare, I have asked Mr. Robin McConnell over at the beloved Inkstuds to host the audio portion this week’s program.

I spoke to Mr. Kevin Huizenga and Mr. Jim Rugg at the Pittsburgh Independent Comics Expo (PIX) back in October of this year. Organized by Copacetic Comics and the Toonseum of Pittsburgh, PA, this event may be the beginning of something special. Very laid back, very beautiful location and all the indy comics you could hope for in western PA, it was a successful show. I think it may pan out to be an important show for midwesterners as there aren’t too many indy shows for regional creators. (Pittsburgh is basically halfway between Chicago and New York for those who can’t imagine it on a map)

I also spoke with many of the exhibitors and attendees at PIX. I will be posting those interviews hopefully in the coming weeks. Truth is, I’ve had some difficulty with the audio files and am trying desperately to preserve them. So, if I did interview you or your friends at the show, please forgive the delay in making them available. Thanks.

Click on the link below and head on over to Inkstuds. Make sure to open another tab while listening to the audio and check out Robin’s tour diary where he visits Al Columbia, Steve Bissette and others. Sounds like a fun trip (I’m jealous!).

Kevin Huizenga and Jim Rugg in conversation. Annoyingly moderated by Frank Santoro.

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Tastes Change


Saturday, December 4, 2010

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Evan Dorkin made an interesting comment about how when the Love and Rockets Sketchbook came out in the late ‘80s it was a minor bombshell. And it was. He also goes on to talk about major releases by some big name cartoonists which were basically noticed in passing by folks within comics. He said that he feels as if Wilson and The Book of Genesis garnered more mainstream press than discussion within comics circles. Let’s go to the videotape! (more…)

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A Fan’s Notes


Saturday, November 27, 2010

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Hello and welcome to CC weekend edition. I’m your host – Frankie The Wop. In an effort to understand what it takes to achieve Tom Spurgeon level of comics bloggerdom – I have moved to New Mexico. Spurge is at 6200 feet above sea level and I think that it’s the air up here that makes looking out beyond the frontier of comics possible. Wait, what? I dunno what the fuck I’m talking about. I’m high as shit and it ain’t from the altitude. The holiday season has begun. I got nuthin’ this week. (more…)

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Brecht Evens


Saturday, November 20, 2010

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When I was in Angoulême last year, the best looking book I found at the festival was Brecht Evens’ The Wrong Place. It was in French, but that was okay; it was just so beautiful, I didn’t care that I couldn’t fully understand the story. I read it backwards and somehow I got it. I think. Something about friendship. Painted in watercolor, this book really grabbed my attention. It was soft, but very powerful. Charming, but without too much fancy. Very direct drawing, painting, and proportions. Very skilled.

So, it was with great pleasure I read the new translation of the book in English and loved it. I was hoping the story would match the execution of the art.

Thankfully, there is a match. Art and story content are both on equal footing.

The story concerns a group of friends and their attachments to each other. Specifically everyone’s attachment to Robbie – who seems to be a heroic dancing fool who can charm the pants off anyone. There’s a party at a boring apartment owned by Gary, the boring party host. Everyone, including lots of cute girls, wanna know where Robbie is. So after sitting around we switch scenes to the Disco Harem where Robbie hangs out. Robbie is indeed there and the story takes off. (more…)

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Frank’s Favorites of 2010


Sunday, November 14, 2010

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I wanted to do a “best of ” list that was personal favorites of this past year. The way I gauge the alt/art/fusion comics calendar is from SPX to SPX. So, a book that comes out post-SPX 2010 is on the 2011 list. Get it? Good. So, for example, The Whale, If ‘n Oof, and Powr Mastrs 3 were not out at SPX 2010 so they are on next year’s list.

I think my favorite of this last year was CF’s City Hunter. To me, it summed up the feeling in art comics over the last few years. Again, I mean this “for me” – what I see is Christopher riffing on the genre comics I know and love: the ’80s black and white explosion comics. Their dead serious sincerity and folk art determination is very real – and Christopher, I believe, has channeled this very eloquently. It’s a mash up of scenes that may possibly look like scribbles to you but to me they speak a clear language. Lots of backgrounds with “Main Dice” the main character swinging down the street. Lots of “straight talk” from the editor of the Fantasy Empire Magazine company. It’s like Christopher made his own black & white action comic and worried more about how the indicia and logo would look than the how the story unfolded – which is exactly what most ’80s black and white explosion action comics are about – so it’s kind of perfect. Christopher summed up this approach so well that it really shut the door on this kind of thing. I think the window has possibly closed on my own nostalgia for these genre comics – CF’s re-bop re-phrasing of the whole scene just makes me want to read his incarnation of it over and over again. (more…)

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