Posts Tagged ‘CCCBC’

CCCBC: Neonomicon #3


Friday, January 28, 2011

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Did you find this spider anywhere inside Neonomicon 3? I didn't.

Let’s start this meeting of the CCCBC by pointing newcomers to previous entries so as to get up to speed, and then leap right in to a SPOILER-filled synopsis: (more…)

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A Neonomicon Christmas


Thursday, December 23, 2010

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Stranded as I am for the holidays this week, I’m not even going to be able to read the new issue of Neonomicon, much less host a meeting of the CCCBC, until after Christmas is over. But if you just can’t wait for Yoggoth-related speculation, and need something to use as yuletime fuel, why not indulge yourself in a little holiday-time deep-research into Lovecraft and “chaos magick,” via an essay by Erik “Techgnosis” Davis.

Be warned, this is for extreme cases only. Merry Christmas!


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CCCBC: Neonomicon Nos. 1 & 2


Monday, October 18, 2010

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Welcome to the first official meeting of the Comics Comics Comic-Book Club. Our topic is Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’s Neonomicon. Originally the idea was to discuss each issue as it was released, but we’ve got some catching up to do, so this time we’ll tackle the first two issues together.

Have you finished the assigned reading?

First, of course, you need to read the comics themselves.

Neonomicon is the sequel to Alan Moore’s The Courtyard, which I covered previously here and here. (Writer Antony Johnston wrote in with an interesting comment regarding some of the fundamental language & layout choices.)

Jog has already written an excellent post about issue 2…

…in which he linked to a flawed but fascinating two-part video on issue 1.

And I didn’t mention it, but the re-reading I am assigning for myself before we get to issue 3 is H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, which seems to be the main inspiration for Neonomicon so far, just as “The Horror of Red Hook” served for “The Courtyard”.

Okay, so let’s see if this works at all or if the whole idea is a misfire. Here we go: (more…)

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CCCBC: Alan Moore’s The Courtyard (Part 2)


Friday, October 15, 2010

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For the first part of this discussion, see here.

In his opening essay, “The Comic of Cthulhu: Being a Letter of Reminiscence and Recollection Concerning The Courtyard”, scripter Antony Johnston discusses the problems he faced when retelling Alan Moore’s original prose story in comic-book form:

One of the main challenges is adapting prose to a visual medium such as comics is that in prose, it’s perfectly acceptable to engage the reader with an inner monologue, and often for some length. These are necessary for exposition, feeding the information vital to understand the story, because in prose you can’t simply show something as you would in a film or comic. You must describe it.

There’s just one problem; during such passages it’s also perfectly acceptable for nothing to happen.

Even more so than the task of condensing a narrative, or deliberating over dialogue, this is the biggest challenge in any such adaptation. In a comic, something must always happen. It can be mundane, it can be remarkable, it can be somewhere between the extremes. But something must happen, visually, in order to justify the form’s usage and make the story feel like it belongs in the medium.

With a few exceptions, this wasn’t too hard a task with “The Courtyard.” Where Moore makes leaps to new locations in a single carriage return, the comic can make the same journey at a more leisurely pace, using space and sequence to pace out a relevant monologue over something so ordinary as Sax lighting a cigarette, or donning an overcoat.

This sounds like a somewhat plausible solution in theory, but turns out to be a mostly deadening misstep in practice. Sax’s Harrison Ford-in-Blade Runner voice-over generally doesn’t interact with the visuals (which, as Johnston admits, mostly involve uninteresting stage business, not important narrative information), it simply dominates them. For much of the comic, you could cover up the panels and understand everything that is happening without even looking at the drawings. (Incidentally, setting this comic next to Crumb’s Genesis shows just how wrong-headed those critics who found Crumb’s illustrations too literal really were—any panel of that book puts this entire comic to shame.)

It’s no accident that the four pages Avatar has chosen to offer as an online preview illustrate one of the very few sequences in Moore’s story where something actually happens. Let’s compare. (more…)

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Placeholder a/k/a The Face of Shame


Thursday, October 14, 2010

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Okay, now that Jog has thoroughly exposed me as a lazy fool (by the way, Joe: you’re fired)—and now that I’ve read the second issue of Neonomicon myself (which I liked, but hooboy), I really have to get this CCCBC thing moving. In my defense I got sidetracked by various super-important historical issues, and only Joe’s post derailed me from my planned 50,000-word essay contemplating the aesthetic and political influence of R.F. Outcault on 1980s phenomenon Shirt Tales. So you’ve been spared that at least.

For now, I’ll finish up The Courtyard tonight, and then on Monday we can discuss the first two issues of Neonomicon. If you want to participate, your required reading includes the aforementioned comics, Jog’s post, and the videos Jog linked to within his post (which I found unconvincing, but feature a lot of good ideas all the same). Future posts will be closer to a discussion than a lecture, I hope, though it’s possible I have already irrevocably ruined the whole thing. Anyway, until tonight.

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CCCBC: Alan Moore’s The Courtyard (Part 1)


Thursday, August 26, 2010

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Welcome to the preseason for 2010’s Comics Comics Comic-Book Club, which will feature a discussion of Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’s new series Neonomicon. Before getting to that, though, it probably makes sense to start with Alan Moore’s The Courtyard, the 2003 two-issue miniseries to which Neonomicon is a sequel.

Garth Ennis, of Preacher and Punisher fame, introduces the comic with some effusive praise:

Here he is now with his latest effort, ably assisted by Antony Johnston and drawn by the always excellent Jacen Burrows: Alan Moore’s The Courtyard. And yes, it’s brilliant, and yes- sob– he’s as good as he ever was, but what The Courtyard really does is confirm the effortless quality of the man’s talent. A story bursting with ideas and characters and nice lines and spooky twists, enough to keep most writers occupied for a couple of years—but where just about anyone else would stripmine a concept like this to death, what does Alan devote to it? Forty-eight pages, no more.

Actually, Moore actually didn’t even devote that many pages to the concept, because Moore is not in fact the author of this comic (more…)

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The Week in Ink Buzz™


Thursday, August 12, 2010

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A series of announcements.

First, if you’re going to be in the Montreal area next week, our very own Jeet Heer will be dispensing wisdom during a can’t miss evening at the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly on August 19.

Second, in the under-appreciated cartoonists department (nineties-wave division): Since April (how did I miss this?), the great Jon Lewis has been posting regular new pages of his classic True Swamp series. The first installment can be found here. This is welcome news.

Another alumnus of that same era of comics, Jay Stephens, has begun collaborating with Bob “Slylock Fox” Weber Jr. on a strip for King Features, Oh Brother! According to the publicity e-mail I received, this is the “first webcomic” built and launched by a newspaper syndicate. I am not qualified to judge the veracity of that statement. In any case, Stephens was one of a whole slew of interesting cartoonists published by the late, lamented Black Eye, a company whose output seems to have somewhat slipped from collective memory lately, but deserves more critical attention.

Oh, and finally, in regard to the CC Comic-Book Club discussed last week: thank you all for your suggestions. For various reasons, I don’t think that most of them will work for this particular purpose, BUT I still plan to review some of them as individual issues in the near future, particularly Smoke Signal and Glamourpuss. The Neal Adams Batman book is just too long—I can’t imagine writing twelve full posts about it. Maybe I’ll just do one of those issues too, but we’ll see how things go. In the end, it seems like the Alan Moore series will work best. Regardless of the book’s quality, which I don’t want to pre-judge, there are a lot of interesting angles to tackle—adaptation, prose vs. comics, sequels, Lovecraftian fiction, comics scripting vs comics art, how it fits into Moore’s larger body of work, etc.—that should lead to solid post and comment fodder.

In any case, next Thursday, I’ll put up the first post. If it goes well, we can follow Neonomicon up with something else, and if a new obvious series hasn’t shown up on stands by then (please feel free to keep suggesting nominees), maybe we can pick an already completed series or run from the past. Until then, next Thursday, I’ll write about The Courtyard, a rather lackluster comic book not written by Alan Moore, but adapted by Antony Johnston from one of Moore’s throwaway prose stories. The book is relevant mostly because Neonomicon is a direct sequel to it. The Thursday after that, I will cover Neonomicon issue 1, and so on.

Okay, now go look at that Jim Rugg cartoon again and forget all about this.

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