Good Times


by

Thursday, November 27, 2008



Mr. Robin McConnell is such a fan of comics, he makes it easy and fun to talk shop. Please listen in on our nerdfest over at Inkstuds. It was awesomely enjoyable, I hope it comes across.

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24 Responses to “Good Times”
  1. Ryan Cecil says:

    Great interview! Also, way to provide a mysterious picture with no spoilers! Jerk! What am I supposed to do, buy the book?
    -edit-woops!
    I posted in the middle of listening to your interview, and then you mentioned our conversation. Hey Frank, I’ll trade you cool old American comics for cool old Japanese comics.

  2. Jason Overby says:

    good talk, man. It was nice to hear you question the conventional wisdom that the drawings in comics work best as symbols. Chris Ware is a bad ass, but his comics are just his way of making comics. People need to open their minds to how infinite the possibilities are.

  3. Josh Simmons says:

    Ah ha ha— Great interview, Frank– I love how worked up you get— I think it’s good for comics to have more thoughtful shit-disturbing like this– One thing you talked about here which I’m interested in a lot is the Ware influence, and how it’s pretty blatant in some young cartoonists– I definitely see your point, but it does seem kind of inescapable to a certain degree, too– Just in the sort of “slowing down of the action” sense of things– You see this in cartoonists you’ve spoken favorably about, like Dash Shaw and CF, even though both those guys very much have their own thing, look to their comics, and approach to pacing and storytelling, I can’t help but wonder if their comics would be very different if Ware had never become the King Dong of comics that he is today, in taking the extra panels to play things out….I dunno, maybe that’s just one of the things I like best about Ware and that I’ve taken from him a bit too….

  4. Inkstuds says:

    Previous post deleted for spelling mistakes, i am DUMB.

    Hey Josh, I think that Chester Brown has a had a role in that as well, especially in teaching people how to re-examine their own work. His one issue of Yummy, where he critiques his own comic is incredibly valuable.

  5. Frank Santoro says:

    Josh, I hear what your saying. I’m talking really about the “architecture” that Chris uses. That is his own way of “slowing things down” – and that structure is appropriated often. Dash and CF might “slow things down” but they, yes, do have their own thing for sure and I can see that their works slog on in places but they are not appropriating Chris’s architecture like many young cartoonists. Chester Brown in his post-Ed the Happy Clown work like “Reading Helder” really slowed things down. I remember those famous “pause” panels being such a big deal back then. Anyone else remember that? And lastly, I’m talking about “detail’ slowing one down also. Not just structure. I’m riffing, forgive me, someone will refute everything I just wrote but whatev-

  6. Josh Simmons says:

    Ah, yeah yeah, I see, I was really sort of looking for you to elaborate on it a bit more….But, by “architecture”, what do you mean? Is this the layout of the pages, the relationships between panels…..
    I forget sometimes about C. Brown maybe because he doesn’t put out work as often, but yes, I think “I Never Liked You” has to be up there with Ware’s work for being one of the most influential books of the ’90’s….I remember reading it in my late teens and thinking how easy he made comics look….

  7. looka says:

    Hello Frank and picturebox guys!

    I’m pretty excited to hear that your artwork will be coming to europe as part of the picturebox gang package next year at the Fumetto Festival! Wowie, Awesome!

    Will you be with your drawings?

    Also: I have been to Brooklyn recently and the Picturebox store and had to contain myself not to crash the bank – it rocks raw power!
    So it’s great to see you guys jump here. It will help people catch up on what’s going on, on a bit of a wider basis, as the “avant comics” are on the small toe here when it comes to being recognized.

    Phew… long comment, I know.

    I work on a drawn Report of the Brooklyn/NY time and will put that out soon enough.

    And: It might sound crass to a lot of people to hear an opinon on comics they don’t like, but even if I don’t share the points you make, it’s good to get insight and perspective on things from your side. If there is something better to say come up with it! It’s better to discuss things wildly as to keep sitting on your points.

    So much for the excitement…

  8. Frank Santoro says:

    thanks looka, see you in switzerland!

    oh, and Josh, I will elaborate on the rampant appropriation of Ware’s “architecture” soon enough. And yes, I mean his layouts in the general sense, but also in the rhythm of his pacing and the framing, meaning the “phrasing” style he uses. I think a lot of people lift his phrasing style and insert it into their poorly constructed pages without comprehending at all how it alters the “pitch” of what their comic page is –there’s a dissonance there. Like a bad song that has a good passage. Simply “lifting” or imitating Ware’s sequencing style, his phrasing is not enough to save their structurally unsound pages.

  9. looka says:

    Oh good! Picturebox in Person.

    That’s nice!

  10. Jason Overby says:

    I guess I was commenting on the notion that comics work best as a form of picture-writing. I mean, this is an aspect of the form, but there’re lots of counter examples (Gary Panter, Ben Jones, Dan Clowes, David Mazzucchelli, Jason Miles, etc.) to show it’s not the only way to be making stuff. As for Chester Brown, he’s such a big influence on me. As is John P (and probably Seth, too.). Chester and Seth seemed so reactionary in the mid-nineties, like an antidote to the smart-ass cartooning zeitgeist of that era.

  11. Jason Overby says:

    And way to be fired up, Frank – most inkstuds interviews are much more subdued – it’s nice to see some passion.

  12. ULAND says:

    Yeah, I listened to the Matt Thurber interview after yours and his sounded like a long sigh in comparison.

    ” I think a lot of people lift his phrasing style and insert it into their poorly constructed pages without comprehending at all how it alters the “pitch” of what their comic page is –there’s a dissonance there.”

    -I totally agree.

    Robin started a thread on TCj about this and I wrote:

    “His criticisms of the top-tier alternative creators for not being sufficiently engaged with the “community” rang sort of false to me. He basically said that these top tier guys believe that they should have a place at the forefront in determining where comics should go but aren’t willing to get in the trenches at the cons and festivals and deal directly with young creators. That sounds good, but I’m not sure if those guys do believe that they should be in that position. I think it’s more a matter of how the press treat them, or certain professional opportunities that they take advantage of that gives that impression ( like editing high profile anthologies, speaking engagements, etc.). And it could be argued that, even if they did believe that and did get in the trenches, it might not have the kind of impact Santoro seems to think it would;
    I think, for the most part, most younger cartoonists are not in a place where they can execute comics beyond that basic aping strategy. I think no matter how you slice it, the “community”, on that level, is always going to be about aping, wether Clowes talks to them about lettering or not. I’d even go as far as suggesting that the conception of “community” is the real problem; You can’t help but think about creating for that community ( especially early on) , where it might yield a lot more interesting results if that choir wasn’t there to preach to. I think it’d certainly make for a lot more diversity and quality/skill would stay roughly the same. “

    http://tcj.com/messboard/viewtopic.php?t=5523

  13. Frank Santoro says:

    Uland, well said. Indeed, your point “And it could be argued that, even if they did believe that and did get in the trenches, it might not have the kind of impact Santoro seems to think it would” is a salient one.
    I live in a dream world. Ask Dan and Tim.

  14. Alex Holden says:

    Playing “Hot For Teacher” after the whole thirst for knowledge bit was pretty fucking funny.

  15. Austin Kleon says:

    One of the best Inkstuds I’ve listened to…excellent!

  16. LOST CAT says:

    Do you think that good comic artists give bad interviews or bad comics artists give better interviews? Has anyone noticed that kind of correlation listening to Ink Studs?

  17. Frank Santoro says:

    oh lost cat you so funny

  18. LOST CAT says:

    I’m not trying to be funny or anything else. I like interviews in this way because so often people I dont like (for instance Johnny Ryan) are great on Ink Studs. And others (like Kolchalka) are great artists but uninteresting. But I know that my comment was a little off topic.

  19. Frank Santoro says:

    got it

  20. LOST CAT says:

    Would you rather be an interesting guest or a uninteresting artist?

  21. Frank Santoro says:

    I think we’re done here

  22. Ray says:

    “Would you rather be an interesting guest or a uninteresting artist?

    12/03/2008 4:36 PM

    Frank Santoro said…
    I think we’re done here”

    Haha, ah. Good god, I am so in love with this blog that I am just running around in circles trying to figure out what I am gonna wear and which deodorant will make sense.

  23. Anonymous says:

    so, what happens when things come full circle again and people are copping on Brian Chippendale and C.F.? Then there’s just going to be another Frank Santoro who makes a similar statement about the lack of Chris Wareian pacing…I mean, how well does a Tomine style story work with the more intense fluidity of a Kirby or old style superhero comic? People who make certain types of comics are going to draw from those influences for a reason, too. Now, if you got someone doing a superhero story pacing it like Clowes or Ware then maybe it’s a bad thing…and I guess the ignorance behind understanding what a page is and how it breathes is dangerous too, but to say that somone who has similar “architecture” as those type of people is a bad thing may not be the case if what they’re doing suits it. I think I’m just stating the obvious though, but I wish there were more interviews like this, about “big picture” issues.. so good job.
    -v

  24. Frank Santoro says:

    “but to say that somone who has similar “architecture” as those type of people is a bad thing may not be the case if what they’re doing suits it.”

    well said, yes, agreed.