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Brain Trust

Today Aug Stone interviews Brecht Evans about his new book, Panther.

AUG STONE: Tell me about Panther. It’s disturbing, niggling at the brain in a way I can’t put my finger on yet.

BRECHT EVENS: Yeah. I can’t totally put my finger on it and I’m not sure I’d want to. I never really plan any message in my books but I felt like I was toying, that there was something sardonic about doingPanther. I had a lot of fun making it, though I’m not sure that’s the vibe that comes across to people. It’s possible that the book might seem darker than the way I felt about it when I was doing it.

STONE: I saw it as both. Fun, that headed to a very dark place, as fun does sometimes.

EVENS: Yeah, yeah. (laughs) Exactly.

STONE: Was there a particular inspiration for it?

EVENS: There’s two things. It seemed that the basic idea for the story already existed. Years ago I did a book called Night Animals that was translated and published by Top Shelf in 2011. There’s a story in it called ‘Bad Friends’ about a girl being swooped up by a satyr and taken out into the forest. It’s a very short story but there’s already this idea of fun mixed with evil. A very sinister, uncanny vibe. But the Panther character came later. It was actually a character I incarnated for a game with my girlfriend at the time. She was a really fun girl to scare. If I would change my face to something more evil she would right away go ‘oh there’s a very unpleasant game about to start’. I developed many different characters, the cast got bigger and bigger, and the Panther was one of these characters I played, improvising to spook her. Every time she got too frightened, the character might become more humane and get some backstory. Out of all these characters Panther seemed to have a lot of potential and started ending up in my sketchbooks. A lot of the scenes that are in the book were already on paper in 2009. But then I put it away when I started doing The Making Of. Panther might’ve seemed like too simple a story or something.

Elsewhere:

More on the late Mell Lazarus over at The Washington Post.

Here's a pretty good piece about Philip Guston's transition period from abstraction to cartoon figuration. The exhibition of this work is up now in NYC.

Here's a cute work up on the the fate of an online comic strip.

Finally, here's an edited transcript of a panel discussion in which I participated a few weeks back.


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