Decoding Steranko


Friday, November 6, 2009

I had the good fortune of meeting James Romberger at this year’s MoCCA festival. James is, like me, obsessed with color in comics. So, we’re becoming fast friends.

He also has conducted a remarkable interview with Steranko. The magician/escape artist/cartoonist is in rare form. My favorite part: “When the men who created the rules and rhetoric of the comics form got together to decide on the architectural details, they failed to invite me. Consequently I found no reason to subscribe to their tenets. When I joined their ranks in 1967, the narrative devices that had been adopted and sanctioned for about half a century were considered untouchable commandments that were permanently etched in stone. Pages, panels, captions, and balloons were the essence of the comics format, all artifices considered unalterable by my peers.”

I asked Mr. Romberger if he would mind me putting up a link. He said OK but wanted me to mention that it is only an excerpt from a much longer, fairly comprehensive interview that has yet to find a home in print. If we ever print another issue of Comics Comics maybe I’ll beg him to let us publish it.

Check it out here.

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3 Responses to “Decoding Steranko”
  1. T. Hodler says:

    I liked this quote, too: "I learned to DRAW from the comics, but learned storytelling by watching movies. This single point has NEVER been detailed by fan critics in dozens of interviews, features, and analyses of my work, although it was hailed as 'cinematic' from the beginning. I believe they perceived there was SOMETHING essentially different about the work, but couldn't articulate it. My early books reveal the crude learning process I was undergoing. The interesting aspect is that you can see it develop page by page."

    It's interesting because while I can definitely see the influence of cinema on Steranko, what he came up with seems drastically different from anything you'd see on a movie screen (except maybe in a Brian De Palma movie or something).

  2. Jeet Heer says:

    I really hope there is another issue of Comics Comics, just for that interview. But in the meantime, more discussion of Steranko please. Maybe the Inkstuds show should do an episode with Frank talking about Steranko. That would be really great and interesting.

  3. Jason Overby says:

    He's so comics, too, though. In the way that comics can use words and imagery to present a map of information or a scene or something. To not just work like film and have a rhythmic motion.

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