Posts Tagged ‘Todd Hignite’

Hignite on Jaime Hernandez


Thursday, December 2, 2010

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Moebius clouds in Jaime Hernandez's first Locas story.

I recently read some fairly depressing essays about the Hernandez Brothers, pieces that were so ill-informed that I despaired of “comics criticism” as a valid activity. To cheer myself up I went back to Todd Hignite’s The Art of Jaime Henandez: The Secrets of Life and Death. Beautifully designed by Jordon Crane, filled to the gill with original art and photographs, this has been justly celebrated as an art book. But I’m not sure that Hignite’s writing has received the praise it deserves.

Taken just by itself, Hignite’s text is a wonderfully compact monograph which manages to compress many insights into a small package. The book covers, among other things, Jaime’s family background, the influence of classic commercial comics on his art, his interactions with punk music and lowrider culture, the context of the direct market, and the evolution of Jaime’s art and storytelling.


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Interviews and Autodidacts Notebook


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

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Gil Kane, an artist whose interviews are always worth reading.

A notebook on comics interviews and autodidacts:

Autodidacts. I often think William Blake is the prototype for many modern cartoonists. Blake was a working class visionary who taught himself Greek and Hebrew, an autodidact who created his own cosmology which went against the grain of the dominant Newtonian/Lockean worldview of his epoch. The world of comics has had many such ad hoc theorists and degree-less philosophers: Burne Hogarth, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Gil Kane, Neal Adams, Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Gary Panter, Lynda Barry, Howard Chaykin, Chester Brown, Dave Sim, Alan Moore. These are all freelance scholars who are willing to challenge expert opinion with elaborately developed alternative ideas. The results of their theorizing are mixed. On the plus side: you can learn more about art history by listening to Gary Panter and Art Spiegelman talk than from reading a shelf-full of academic books; Robert Crumb’s Genesis deserves to be seen not just as an important work of art but also a significant commentary on the Bible; Lynda Barry’s ideas about creativity strike me as not just true but also profound and life-enhancing. On the negative side: Dave Sim’s forays into gender analysis have not, um, ah, been, um, very fruitful; and while Neal Adams drew a wicked cool Batman, I’m not willing to give credence to his theories of an expanding earth if it means rejecting the mainstream physics of the last few centuries. Sorry Neal!


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Bridges Aflame


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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