Saturday, July 31, 2010
ACTION THWUP! Howdy and welcome, True Believers, to Comics Comics’ weekend edition, I’m your host, Frankie the Wop. No review of a comic or a soapbox rant from me this week cuz I spent most of the week swimming. And also preparing for a radio interview over at Inkstuds. Mr. Robin McConnell was kind enough to ask me to participate on a show about “fusion comics” where we could talk to two of our favorite fusion guys, Brandon Graham and Michael DeForge. What is fusion? We’re not really sure, but if you listen to the show, you might get an idea of where Robin and I are coming from. What follows are my notes that I looked at while on the air. There were a lot of riffs that I didn’t get to, so I thought I’d share them here. For ideal readers only.
All funny – unlike heavy metal artists – not so serious. Real humor, kinda big foot – Kinda BODE/MOEBIUS. Horny Goof vibe at times – goes back to undergrounds. I’m not saying all this is so new, it’s just a fresh combination. Feels fun -timely – not a throw back but a real evolution. A fusion. Being able to have such access to the likes of Bode/Moebius. (In the late eighties, early nineties it was hard to find these books. Fusion is anyone, yes, but there is a hyper-text crack-addict version of assembling one’s influences these days so it’s more of a recent last 10 years development -
DeForge is exposition like an old Sunday comic. Slow, deliberate pacing, unfolding narrative. Classic foil for grotesque imagery, grid works perfect in this regard.
Brandon bends his drawings and page layouts. Compresses time and action beautifully. It reads without the dialogue. But then the dialogue kills.
James is like a movie screen. Even though he does these incredible detailed spreads and jumps scale – it’s like watching animation with slow pans and fast cuts. Like I just hold on – trying to follow along very British feeling. Hewlett-esque for the layman – Stronium Dog-like for the initiate.
2000 Jimmy Corrigan Ground Zero
2003 Literary Comics
2006 Art Comics (Kramers POV takes hold)
2009 Boys Comics boom (Charles Brownstein term)
It flips every three years – mutates…
“Fusion” is a miracle grow version of the tree of influence… less apprenticeship to a school for extended periods
1. Process. Ask them both about tools. Get them talking about hanging out and drawing with people. Back to tools. Computers. Old looks trying to achieve, etc – PROCESS
2. Ask Brandon about the blog posts he made for inkstuds and how that MIRRORS his process this FUSION of styles that is vast, encyclopedic or whatever. Just the constant looking and frame that looking since early 2000s when he was in NYC. – Talk about Dash seeing him sitting at Virgin Records cafe drawing comics for NBM – just the excitement of early 2000′s – how his work hasn’t changed all that much and how world has caught up to him a bit–
3. Follow up; Has world caught up because of the Image series – is it cuz it’s a series that it has gained such a following? Was the manga just lost on the shelves?
4. DeForge and Graham and Stokoe have meandering narratives that are classic writer/artist - do they find that is a weakness? Cuz honestly I’ve heard a criticism of King City is that “nothing happens” in some issues – regardless if that is a byproduct of the manga switching to the issues or not – it’s a fair charge. DeForge especially is a meanderer – but those are STRENGTHS the writer doesn’t have –
5. Do they think that humor works better with the slow pacing - ? Gag delivery really works in KC – entire spreads for one little ‘meaningless’ joke (cervix entrance)
6. DETAIL oriented vs MARK making
7. FUSION riff by me then some questions I haven’t figured out yet -
FUSION – it’s just a vague term. To me, there is a hyper-text velocity to influence these days. Like if you think of Miller’s Ronin as Fusion he is essentially fusing his north american POV and incorporating Moebius and Kojema – a european and japanese influence. Simple. But in 1983 Miller was privy to both those ‘outside” traditions – manga nor BD wasn’t available much here in the states then but he found it cuz he was in new york and around people searching this stuff out. Ten years later in 1993 when Pope appears he’s assembling that fusion of world styles with a bigger library – Catalan was publishing european BD – Epic published Akira – Viz was doing Crying Freeman, etc – but we still didn’t have Tezuka – ten years after that in 2003 we start to see Tezuka and a flood of reprints from everywhere – plus by 2003 everyone is now on the web tracking down more and more obscure creators – so within 20 years I can see this vast difference between the way a young cartoonist assembled a style in 1983 and then in 2003 – and now in 2010 it’s just ridiculous how many comics/manga/bd is available to the general public. It’s awesome. And overwhelming. It’s overwhelming as a reader – I can’t imagine what it’s like for a young cartoonist trying to figure out his or her own style – when I go to SVA and places like that it’s so interesting to see how everyone in the class has a different style. That wasn’t what it was like in the late ’80s and early ’90s – There were like a handful of approaches one might take – all mostly american styles – almost never would you see a full on manga or bd style – you’d see borrowings but rarely would you see a total manga style by an american -
Throwback stylings and fusion creates new forms that take on a new currency – “sampling” and the like – ask them about “sampling” and the comics tree of influence
RICK MAYS story about getting shit for drawing “manga mouths” on characters in 1993 from art director John Romita – who was quality control at Marvel – keeping artists on model.
Get Brandon and Michael talking about what inspired then a few years ago – what formed them.
8. I think the series of KC has brought it attention – but what about DeForge? I know him through the circuit. He has a series but it’s hard to find in stores – DeForge is in the boat a lot of young cartoonists are in; shut out of Direct Market and instead working the circuit and the blogs… but I think it’s interesting he is putting out short works instead of a graphic novel – which he may be doing – but DeForge has sidestepped the instant thumbs up thumbs down that greets most graphic novels – a series or a slew of short works creates a different kind of momentum…
9. How do they feel about webcomics?